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Applying For Admission


How can I apply?

To complete an application, first go to the interest page and create a user name and password.  

Interest page:

This will allow you to then complete online application at the application site, using the user name and password you created on the interest page. 

Application site: 

Complete the graduate student pre-application if you would like to be contacted about your interest in our graduate programs.

Frequently Asked Application Questions:


When should I apply?

Applications are accepted throughout the year.  However, financial aid decisions for fall admissions, when we accept most new students, are made in early February.  We encourage you to submit all application materials by January 15th to be considered for admission and financial aid.  Financial aid is available to PhD and MS students.


What are the tuition and fee requirements for your program?

You can find these figures on the University of Virginia Student Accounts website.


What does the department look for in an applicant?

A typical applicant to the department has a balanced application. We look at all aspects of an application and we do not put more weight on one part of the application over others. A good applicant to the department has commendable recommendations, an impressive educational background, strong standardized test scores, and a well-written essay. 


Are there any admission requirements?

General requirements for admission into the Graduate Program in Systems Engineering at UVA are those of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition, prospective candidates should meet the following prerequisites:

  • Calculus: One year of undergraduate calculus, including real analysis and ordinary differential equations. Equivalent UVA courses are: APMA 1110, APMA 2120 and APMA 2130.
  • Computer Programming. Working knowledge of at least one high level programming language such as Fortran, Pascal, or C. Equivalent UVA course is CS 2110.
  • Probability and statistics. At least two undergraduate courses in calculus-based probability and statistics. Equivalent UVA courses are APMA 3100 and APMA 3120.
  • Linear Algebra. At least one undergraduate course in linear algebra. An equivalent UVA course is APMA 3080.


How important are my recommendations?

Recommendations provide the admissions committee with a view of how your supervisors and advisors view you. Recommendations from academic advisors provide information on your research interests, as well as your academic skill and motivation. Recommendations from employers provide us with important information regarding your interests, skills, and motivation in the work environment. Generally supervisors who have worked with you for extended periods of time on a daily basis provide the best information regarding your skills and interests. These are valued much more than recommendations provided by distant advisors or supervisors. Recommendations from advisors outside your employment or academic institution are not as helpful in the admissions review process.


How important is my academic background or previous work experience?

Strong previous academic performance is valued in the decision process. Most students have an undergraduate degree in engineering, however applicants with non-engineering degrees can apply if they show evidence of background coursework and/or work experience that together provide a basic understanding of engineering and/or mathematical processes. This is important because we want all students in the department to excel and to not fall behind due to a poor understanding of basic engineering or mathematical concepts. Previous work experience is not required but relevant work experience should be discussed in the essay.


What is the average GRE score and do I have to take the TOEFL?

Standardized test scores provide a standard measure from which we can compare applicants against one another. GRE General Test scores are required by all applicants. All three tests (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical) are viewed in the application process and all tests are important. The average applicant has a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 1300 (old scoring system). TOEFL exam scores are required by all applicants to the program whose first learned language was not English.


What do you look for in the essay?

The essay is a crucial part of the application. A well-structured, comprehensive, and concise essay should clearly reflect an applicant's experiences, accomplishments, research interests, and professional goals. The essay is the applicant's opportunity to convince the admissions committee that he or she will be a successful addition to the graduate program. The essay provides the admissions committee with an opportunity to determine what an applicant wants in a graduate program and if the Department of Systems and Information Engineering can provide what the applicant is looking for. The graduate program values diverse research interests in diverse areas. Therefore, it is important to be honest in the essay regarding your research interests. The essay also provides the committee with a writing sample from the applicant. The formulation of arguments and the ability to present them clearly and concisely on paper is an important skill in graduate school.


How many students will get into the program during a typical year?

The admissions committee is looking for a diverse class every year with varying skills and interests. Poor performances in parts of the application are often compensated by outstanding performances in other parts of the application. The admission committee aims to set the target class size to 20 or 30 students. This will change year-to-year based on the research opportunities and financial aid available. The department strives to provide all qualified students with funding in the form of research assistantships and teaching assistantships to eligible students (MS and PhD degree programs only). Once accepted into the program, students may wish to defer their enrollment. The Department of Systems and Information Engineering will allow admissions deferments for one year, but any funding decisions will be re-evaluated.

If I have more questions about the application process, who should I contact?

Contact the department's main office (434.924.6473) and ask to speak with a degree coordinator for Systems Engineering graduate students.  The staff in our office are happy to help.