Systems Engineering


The Department of Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia administers the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program leading to the degree of Master of Engineering with a major in Systems Engineering. Systems Engineering is concerned primarily with improving the processes of problem-solving and decision-making within the functions of forecasting, planning, design, development, testing, evaluation, control, operation, and management. Emphasis in the curriculum is placed on preparing individuals for careers concerned with the solution of significant large-scale interdisciplinary problems.

The student is expected to gain an understanding of the theoretical and methodological foundations for problem-solving and decision-making systems. This is accomplished through a judicious selection of coursework that draws from disciplines such as mathematical systems theory, decision theory, control theory, economics, operations research, management science, computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and human factors. In addition, each student's program is tailored to the particular needs and interests of the student through the selection of elective courses and the completion of a supervised project.

Degree Requirements - The Master of Engineering degree requires thirty semester-hours of coursework and a two semester-hour supervised project. A minimum of fifteen semester-hours of coursework must be taken in courses taught by University of Virginia faculty of the Systems Engineering Department. The remaining fifteen hours of coursework can be taken in courses taught by University of Virginia faculty or may be transferred from other institutions. The two semester-hour project research must be under the supervision of University of Virginia faculty. Each student's plan of study must be approved by the University of Virginia extended classroom advisor for Systems Engineering.

Plan of Study - A faculty advisor is available to provide assistance in the selection of courses which will constitute an approved plan of study. It is recommended that a plan of study be submitted as early as possible--preferably after two courses have been completed. The following is a general framework for designing a plan of study leading to the Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering:

Course SYS 695 "Supervised Research Project" is offered every semester. The project must be performed under the supervision of a faculty member of the Systems Engineering Department at the University of Virginia. The project should culminate in a technical report or a research paper, and may involve an oral defense before a committee of the Systems Engineering faculty. It is recommended that students enroll in this course during the final semester of their degree program. Students who can spend a summer session in residence at the University of Virginia may enroll in course SYS 702 "Case Studies in Systems Engineering" in lieu of SYS 695.

Admissions - General requirements for admission into the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program leading to a ME degree in Systems Engineering from UVA are those of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition, prospective candidates should meet the following prerequisites:

  1. Calculus: One year of undergraduate calculus, including real analysis and ordinary differential equations. Equivalent UVA courses are: APMA 111, APMA 212 and APMA 213.

  2. Computer Programming. Working knowledge of at least one high level programming language such as Fortran, Pascal, or C. Equivalent UVA courses are CS 210 and CS 360.

  3. Probability and statistics. At least two undergraduate courses in calculus-based probability and statistics. Equivalent UVA courses are APMA 310 and APMA 312.

  4. Mathematical Programming or Linear Algebra. At least one undergraduate course in optimization techniques, including linear programming. An equivalent UVA course is SYS 321


Systems Engineering Course Descriptions

Five-Year Schedule of Courses

Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program.


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Last modified: March 14, 2003