Teaching Activities
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
University of Virginia

ENGR 1520 - Explorations in Engineering
A course for high school students!

Course Goal
Great engineering is sometimes referred to as ‘art that works’. This is because engineering, like art, requires creativity. But engineering creations, unlike art, must solve real problems and help our society meet new challenges.

This course introduces students to the world of engineering, including the role of engineers in modern society, an overview of the various fields of engineering, and modern methods used by engineers to solve problems and meet new challenges. A key component of the course is a hands-on design-build project in which students work together in small teams to design and develop a solution to a case study problem. This activity will culminate in the construction and demonstration of a working prototype of the design solution. Students will explore the sources of inspiration, the methods engineers use to solve problems and the impact of engineering solutions through consideration of the lives and achievements of great engineers of the past and present. Reverse engineering exercises and case studies will be used to introduce students to the design process and the considerations engineers must make when designing new products. The course will also seek to make clear the distinction between science and engineering, and to demonstrate how engineers apply mathematics and science in design, so that students can make clearer choices when deciding on a career path.

Recent syllabus

ENGR 1620 - Introduction to Engineering

Course Goal
To introduce students to both the fun and challenge of real world engineering practice through multidisciplinary design experiences and realistic, open-ended problem solving. Further, the course seeks to develop an appreciation for the importance of the context (social, cultural, economic, environmental, organizational, regulatory…) in which the technical work of engineers is accomplished and for the role and need for oral and written communications skills, multidisciplinary teamwork, and creativity. The role and importance of analytical skills, which are the core of the undergraduate engineering student’s curriculum, is also demonstrated. Emphasis however, is on a balanced perspective incorporating contextual (non-technical) factors, which are sometimes more critical than analytical skills in determining the success of the modern engineer.


Fall 2004, Final student report (19 Mb)

MSE 2090 - Introduction to the Science and Engineering of Materials

Course Goal
To introduce the basic principles underlying the behavior and properties of materials. This course will provide the scientific foundations for an understanding of the relationships among material properties, structure, and performance for the classes of engineering solids (metals, ceramics, polymers, semiconductors and composites). Concepts will be developed and applied which allow for correlation between performance and aspects of structure, from atomic up to the macroscopic level. Ideas relating to atomic and larger size defects and their influence on material behavior are included.

Recent syllabus

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