Dec 11, 2023  
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024 
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024

Systems Engineering

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Return to: School of Engineering and Applied Science: Degree Programs  

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; data analytics; design integration; 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 submit their proposal to the Systems Undergraduate Studies Committee (UGSC) by December 15th of their third year. Students are highly 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 mentor 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 United 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 (ABET) 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 UVA’s 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.

Application forms and further information are available on the Systems & Information Engineering Department website:

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

Transferring From A Major Within The School Of Engineering And Applied Science To Systems Engineering:  UVA Engineering students in other majors can apply to change majors to Systems Engineering by completing the UVA Engineering Change in Major Form and emailing it along with a copy of their current, unofficial transcript to the Systems Engineering Undergraduate Program Director, Professor Robert Riggs.


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 SYS 2001, SYS 3021, and SYS 3060. 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.

Systems Engineering Curriculum (129 credits)

Second Semester Credits: 17

Third Semester Credits: 18

Fourth Semester Credits: 15

Fifth Semester Credits: 16

Sixth Semester Credits: 16

Seventh Semester Credits: 17

Eighth Semester Credits: 15


(1) Math and Science elective I - chosen from BIOL 2100, 2200; CHEM 1420; approved APMA course; MSE 2090; PHYS 2620; EVSC 2800, 3200, 3300.
(2) Math and Science elective II - chosen from the list of SE approved science elective II courses, as well as from any 2000 to 4000-level science or mathematics course approved for science majors.
(3) Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) elective - chosen from the approved list available on SEAS Office of Undergraduate Programs website.

(4) Application elective - please see the Systems and Information Engineering Department website for details on the application sequences.
(5) Technical elective - please see the Systems and Information Engineering Department website for details on the technical electives.
(6) Unrestricted electives - 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 get the approval of the undergraduate dean’s office, located in A122 Thornton Hall.
(7) Physics 2 requirement - students can satisfy their Physics 2 requirement by taking ECE 2200: Applied Physics (4 credit hours).

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).

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