Jun 14, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Systems Engineering

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The undergraduate 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 primary objectives of the Systems Engineering program are to graduate students who will:

  1. Engage in development, implementation, and optimization of systems that include humans, data and information, hardware, software, and natural and technology resources.
  2. Embark on sustainable, productive careers in systems engineering, applied science, and technology management.
  3. Excel in the practices of analytical modeling and integrative systems engineering.
  4. Seek and succeed in lifelong professional education that includes advanced schooling and mentoring.
  5. Contribute to the profession of systems engineering and to human welfare through professional societies, public service, and civic activities.

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: chemical and biomedical systems; electrical and computer engineering systems; software and information systems; control and mechanical systems; economic systems; civil, environmental, and infrastructure systems; human factors; and mathematical systems. Appropriate ROTC courses may be counted as an application sequence in military systems.

Student-Designed Application Sequence. Students wishing to design their own application sequence must apply to the Systems Undergraduate Studies Committee (UGSC) by December 15th of their third year. Students are encouraged to consult with their faculty advisors prior to submitting their application to the UGSC.

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 U.Va. Systems Engineering Program 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 on the Engineering Systems & Environment Department website: https://www.engineering.virginia.edu/ese.

“D” Policy:  Students minoring and majoring in Systems Engineering must receive a grade of “C-” or better in all required SYS courses and all required 3000 or higher level APMA courses, and CS 2110 in order to earn the major in Systems Engineering. Furthermore, students must earn a grade of C- or better in all courses required as prerequisites for all SYS courses.

4th Year Standing Policy: Students must have 4th year standing in order to enroll in SYS 4053 and 4054. 4th year standing is defined as follows: Regular policy: must have successfully completed 6 or more courses in the standard SYS curriculum (2001, 2202, and 4 of the following: 3021, 3023, 3034, 3060, and 3062). Policy for students in the U.S. - Brazil program: must have successfully completed 4 or more courses in the standard SYS curriculum (including 2001, 2202, 3021, and 3023). Successful completion of a course means that the student received a grade of C- or above for the course. (See ‘“D” Policy’ above.).

Transferring From A Major Within The School Of Engineering And Applied Science To Systems Engineering: SEAS students in other majors can apply to change majors to Systems Engineering. Interested students should submit a letter stating their reasons for desiring admission into Systems Engineering to Erika Evans. Letters can be submitted prior to December 15 for review mid-year or prior to May 1 for review between academic years. Criteria used to evaluate applications will include space availability, academic performance, and extracurricular activities.
 If you are admitted to the major, you must complete a Change of Major Form which can be obtained from Thornton A-122. A GPA of 2.0 or higher must be maintained for at least one year to remain in the Systems Engineering program. SYS 2004 can satisfy the SYS 2202 requirement for transfer students.

Transferring From Outside Of The School Of Engineering And Applied Science To Systems Engineering: University of Virginia students not in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) must submit an application for admittance into SEAS to the Undergraduate Dean’s office (Thornton A-122). Materials are available at 

http://www.seas.virginia.edu/advising/transferseas.php. For applications submitted from first-year students that are accepted into SEAS, your admittance to Systems Engineering will be reviewed alongside major applications from first-year SEAS students. All other applications will be reviewed individually by the Undergraduate Chair of the Systems Engineering Program.
 If you are admitted to the major, you must complete a Change of Major Form which can be obtained from Thornton A-122. A GPA of 2.0 or higher must be maintained for at least one year to remain in the Systems Engineering program. SYS 2004 can satisfy the SYS 2202 requirement for transfer students.


18 Credits. Students who wish to minor in Systems Engineering must complete APMA 3100 and either APMA 3110 or APMA 3120. Additionally, systems minors must complete both SYS 3021 and SYS 3060. After completing SYS 3021 and SYS 3060, they must take SYS 2001. Finally, systems minors must complete one systems elective; the systems elective can be any 3+ credit SYS course. It should be noted that many SYS courses required for students majoring in systems are restricted to majors only. Students who wish to pursue a minor in systems should complete the necessary courses and then fill out a Minor Declaration Form. The forms may be obtained in the SEAS Undergraduate Office, A122 Thornton.

Systems Engineering Curriculum (128 credits)

Second Semester Credits: 17

  • Math and Science elective I Credits: 3 (See footnote 1 below)
  • HSS elective Credits: 3 

Fourth Semester Credits: 15

  • STS 2xxx/3xxx elective Credits: 3
  • Science elective II Credits: 3 (See footnote 2 below)

Fifth Semester Credits: 16

  • Technical elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 5 below)
  • HSS elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 3 below)

Sixth Semester Credits: 16

  • Application elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 4 below)
  • Unrestricted elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 6 below)

Seventh Semester Credits: 17

  • Application elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 4 below)
  • Unrestricted elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 6 below)

Eighth Semester Credits: 15

  • Technical elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 5 below)
  • Application elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 4 below)
  • Unrestricted elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 6 below)


(1) Chosen from: BIOL 2100, 2200; CHEM 1420; approved APMA course; MSE 2090 and PHYS 2620.
(2) Chosen from the list of SIE approved science elective II courses, as well as from any 2000 to 4000-level science or mathematics course approved for science majors.
(3) Chosen from the approved list available in the Undergraduate Office, A122 Thornton Hall.
(4) Please see the Systems Department website for details on the application sequences.
(5) Please see the System Department website for details on the technical electives.
(6) Unrestricted electives may be chosen from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310, including STAT 1100 and STAT 1120, and courses that substantially duplicate any others offered for the degree, including PHYS 2010, 2020; CS 1010, 1020; or any introductory programming course.  APMA 1090 counts as a three-credit unrestricted elective.  Students in doubt as to what is acceptable to satisfy a degree requirement should discuss their options with their advisor, and request provision for exceptions with their advisor and with the dean’s office (located in A122 Thornton Hall).

Public Professional Licensure Disclosure

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering at the UVA School of Engineering, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).