The undergraduate program in Systems Engineering prepares graduates to engage in development, implementation, and optimization of systems that include humans, data and information, hardware, software, and natural and technology resources; embark on sustainable, productive careers in systems engineering, applied science, and technology management; excel in the practices of analytical modeling and integrative systems engineering; seek and succeed in lifelong professional education that includes advanced schooling and mentoring; and contribute to the profession of systems engineering and to human welfare through professional societies, public service, and civic activities.
The program in Systems Engineering is designed for students interested in bringing people and technologies together to improve the productivity and effectiveness of organizations and address complex, multidimensional problems in society and industry. Students receive exposure to a wide range of topics, including the economic, political, managerial, environmental, and technical aspects of large scale systems design and implementation. Students are provided with diverse opportunities for hands-on experience with real-world situations and problems.
The Systems Engineering curriculum is more flexible than many traditional engineering programs. In addition to the courses specifically required in the curriculum, students are able to take nine credits of unrestricted electives, nine credits of electives tailored to an application area, and six credits of technical electives.
The curriculum allows students to pursue a specific area of interest within the broad framework of systems engineering. The following areas are available as application sequences: biomedical systems, communication systems, computer and information systems, control systems, economic systems, energy and environmental systems, financial systems, human factors, intelligent transportation systems, management systems, and mathematical systems. Appropriate ROTC courses may be counted as an application sequence in military systems. Additionally, there are opportunities for students with special interests and abilities to design their own unique application sequences.
The program culminates in a capstone design project, spanning both the fall and spring semesters of the fourth year. Students working in small teams under the direction of a faculty advisor are matched with a client from the public or private sector. Each team is assigned an open-ended design problem, and they apply the perspectives, methods, and tools of systems engineering that they learn in the classroom to the resolution of a problem for a client.
A degree in Systems Engineering from UVa confers employability in a wide range of industries, governmental agencies, and non-profits. It offers students a variety of career choices in engineering and management, and also provides excellent pre-med, pre-business, and pre-law preparation. The award-winning program is one of the largest systems engineering programs in the Unites States, and the graduates of the program consistently receive higher salary offers than the national average for other systems programs and other engineering disciplines. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and received the first award of the Board for Curricular Innovation. The program also received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Boeing Company, which recognized the Department of Systems and Information Engineering for its potential to “develop leaders prepared to shape the future.” An award from the U.S. Department of State enables a select group of fourth year Systems Engineering students to study in Brazil with their capstone team for a semester.
Admission to the program is based on space availability, academic performance, and extracurricular activities. Application forms and further information are available in the department office in Olsson 114.