Jun 15, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Engineering and Society

Return to: School of Engineering and Applied Science: Departments/Programs   

University of Virginia
Thornton Hall
PO Box 400744
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Programs/Course: Minors in the Department of Engineering and Society   

The Department of Engineering and Society brings together a set of innovative programs that touch engineering students in all fields and majors. The Department engages in activities that contribute to the SEAS’ mission to produce engineers who have excellent technical skills as well as the breadth of understanding that will make them leaders and innovators with entrepreneurial mindsets.  The Department undertakes research that advances understanding of the social consequences of technology and the ways in which individuals, groups, and societies create and use technology.

The Department of Engineering and Society is responsible for core courses that all undergraduate engineering students are required to take: Applied Math (APMA); Science, Technology and Society (STS); and general engineering (ENGR).  These core courses ensure that UVa engineering graduates have an in depth understanding of mathematics and science, and a broad appreciation of social, ethical, and global issues.

The Department is a locus for interactions across engineering fields, across the Schools of the University of Virginia, and outside the University.

Applied Mathematics

The Applied Mathematics Program coordinates and administers mathematics instruction through its APMA courses to students in all departments of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The mathematical tools and expertise developed are essential to the professional development of the future engineer and applied scientist. This instruction forms the core of the analytical-mathematical component of an engineering education and lays the foundation for ongoing professional development.

All SEAS students are required to take the following courses:

  • APMA 1110 - Single Variable Calculus II  
  • APMA 2120 - Multivariable Calculus  

Other required APMA courses vary with the major, with all majors requiring either APMA 2130 - Ordinary Differential Equations    or APMA 3080 - Linear Algebra  .

Placement credit for APMA course requirements:
A score of 5 on the AP BC calculus exam will be accepted as credit for APMA 1110.


ENGR courses educate students about critical elements of engineering practice, most especially how design interfaces with broader elements of society to determine the success or failure of a new product or process. ENGR courses are taught by faculty with significant engineering education and/or professional engineering work experience.

Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning activities bring together students, faculty, and technologists from across the University to provide experiences that are not available in traditional classrooms. Experiential activities allow students to express their passion in engineering, and to give them a head-start on their careers by developing hands-on skills of tremendous value to employers. SEAS supports these activities by maintaining a world-class fabrication facility for student use (Lacy Hall), as well as a number of other “Makerspaces” (http://makergrounds.virginia.edu). We also provide financial support to student teams for national and international competitions, like the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Mini Baja event, the Department of Energy’s Solar Car racing, and the Virginia Genetically Engineered Machine team’s creations in synthetic biology (iGEM). For more detailed information on these exciting opportunities, please see https://engineering.virginia.edu/about/our-approach-education.

Science and Technology Policy Internship

This program selects about 10 second and third year SEAS undergraduates each year to intern in Washington DC Congressional offices, executive agencies, non-government organizations (such as think tanks), professional engineering societies and recently start-up companies that are providing services that involve both knowledge of and negotiations with parts of the government in Washington, D.C. The goal is to place each student at a an internship where they can do meaningful work that adds value.  The program takes 10 weeks. Admission is competitive. Those selected take a supporting course – STS 3020 - which, together with the internship, provide academic credit. The program provides housing and a small stipend. Students live in a dormitory at GWU that is shared with MIT students in a similar program. The program functions with a similar endeavor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students from the two schools attend a speaker series, carry out service projects, and socialize together.

For more information contact
Michael E. Gorman, Director
Science, Technology, and Society Program
Department of Science Technology & Society
School of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Virginia
PO Box 400744
Charlottesville, Virginia, 22904-4744

Science, Technology and Society

The Science, Technology, and Society Program (STS) advances understanding of the social and ethical dimensions of science and technology. STS provides instruction in subjects that are essential to the education of professional engineers. This instruction forms the core of a liberal education and lays the foundation for ongoing professional development. It ensures that students have seriously considered the moral and social aspects of their future life’s work.

All STS courses emphasize the relationships among science, technology, and society; ethics; and oral and written communication. STS courses are supplemented with course work in the College of Arts and Sciences through the Humanities and Social Science (H & SS) requirements.

STS Requirements
All SEAS students are required to take the following four courses:

  • STS 1500 - Science, Technology, and Contemporary Issues  
  • One STS 2000 or 3000-level course
  • STS 4500 - STS and Engineering Practice  
  • STS 4600 - The Engineer, Ethics, and Professional Responsibility  

Placing Out of STS Course Requirements:

  • STS 1500: All SEAS students are required to take this course. Students who have had an equivalent STS course at another university may petition the STS Program for transfer credit.
  • STS 2000/3000 level requirement: Transfer credit is occasionally given for an STS 2000 level course. Transfer courses must include STS content and involve substantial oral and written communication. The decision to accept a transfer course for STS 2000 credit is made on a case by case basis when the student submits a petition to the Department Chair.
  • STS 4500-4600: No transfer credit or substitutions can be made for STS 4500-4600, nor is there any possibility of placing out. Students must be in residence to take these courses. Students are not permitted to take STS 4500 and STS 4600 simultaneously.

Senior Thesis: In their senior year, all engineering undergraduates undertake a senior thesis project. Students work with a faculty member in their major and with an STS faculty member teaching STS 4500-4600; students produce a thesis portfolio that includes a technical report and an STS research paper.

SEAS International Programs

More than any other profession engineers work internationally. Engineering International Programs (EIP) facilitates international study, work and service experience for all engineering students, undergraduate and graduate. EIP can help you find out which program and location is best for you, whether it be a semester abroad at one of our many partner universities worldwide, a research internship, a summer engineering program, a January term course, or an engineering project in community. The key to successful integration of education abroad is to start your planning early. Visit the Engineering International Programs website https://engineering.virginia.edu/about/offices/international-programs, and the University International Studies Office (ISO) website http://educationabroad.virginia.edu/ for more information. Contact Prof. Dana M. Elzey (dme2j@virginia.edu), EIP Director, or Maya Drake (mel2j@virginia.edu) International Programs Coordinator with any questions or to set up an advising appointment.