Curriculum

Picture of UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan
“… UVA’s intellectual climate of academic rigor and collaboration will inspire you for a lifetime.”

Teresa A. Sullivan
President of the University of Virginia 

Studying with top-notch faculty and extraordinary classmates, students in UVa’s Accelerated Master’s Program in Systems Engineering complete a full-fledged master’s degree in one year. Practical analytical skills are built on a foundation of systems concepts through case-based instruction. The environment is highly collaborative. Challenging courses are carefully sequenced and coordinated. Students finish the Program with a coherent body of knowledge, and they apply the skills they gain in their workplaces throughout the year.

The AMP curriculum includes 33 credit-hours: ten three-credit courses plus a year-long, three-credit seminar series.

There are four core courses that are required to earn the Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering degree:

  • An overview of systems engineering as a professional and intellectual discipline, and its relation to other disciplines, such as operations research, management science, and economics. Extensive use of case studies to introduce systems methodology and systems thinking.
  • Foundations of mathematical modeling and optimization, with emphasis on problem formulation and solution techniques. Includes applications of linear programs, nonlinear programs, and combinatorial models, as well as a practical introduction to algorithms for solving these types of problems.
  • Develops an operational understanding of the basic tools of probabilistic modeling, including (i) a review of undergraduate probability, (ii) introduction to Bernoulli and Poisson processes with applications, (iii) Markov chains and applications, and (iv) limit theorems.
  • Uses a capstone project to develop skills in addressing problems encountered when integrating large systems. The capstone project is used to provide students with the opportunity to apply techniques for dealing with systems integration.

Additional courses that are a standard part of the AMP curriculum include the following:

  • A study of technological systems, where decisions are made under conditions of risk and uncertainty. Topics include the nature, perception, and epistemology of risk, and the process of risk assessment and management; systems engineering tools for risk analysis; and methodologies for risk analysis.
  • Analyzes the role of statistics in science; hypothesis tests of significance; confidence intervals; design of experiments; regression; correlation analysis; analysis of variance; and introduction to statistical computing with statistical software libraries.
  • Covers principles of human factors engineering, understanding and designing systems that take into account human capabilities and limitations from cognitive, physical, and social perspectives.

Three elective courses are tailored to the needs and interests of the students in each year’s cohort:

AMP students learn from leading practitioners and academic specialists in the Friday evening seminar series.

  • Regular meeting of graduate students and faculty for presentation and discussion of contemporary systems problems and research. The colloquium for students in the Accelerated Master’s Program comprises a year-long series of seminars by industry experts and academic specialists.

A survey is done each year to determine the topics to be included in the elective track courses. Depending on the number of students and their interests, more than one elective track may be offered.

Click here for a list and brief descriptions of the courses in pdf. Academic requirements and official course descriptions can be found in the University of Virginia Graduate Record using the Catalog Search.

Several faculty members describe their courses and approach to teaching in the AMP in a series of short (one- to two-minute) interviews on the AMP Videos page.