UVA Engineering Elective Policies


Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) serve not only to meet the objectives of a broad education, but also to meet the objectives of the engineering profession. Such course work must meet the generally accepted definitions that the humanities are the branches of knowledge concerned with people and culture, while the social sciences are the studies of society. Examples of traditional subjects in these areas are philosophy, religion, history, literature, fine arts, sociology, psychology, political science, anthropology, economics, and foreign languages other than a student's native language(s). Non-traditional subjects are exemplified by courses such as technology and human affairs, history of technology, and professional ethics and social responsibility.

Approved HSS Electives:

You should select your HSS electives in consultation with your advisor.Courses that instill cultural values are acceptable while skills development courses are not. Consequently, courses that involve performance must be accompanied by theory or history of the subject. Courses on communication in the student’s native language, regardless of their level, may not be used to satisfy any HSS requirement.

Please see the UVA Engineering Undergraduate Handbook for HSS elective options.

Unrestricted Electives:

Unrestricted electives may be chosen from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310; courses that substantially duplicate any others offered for the degree, including PHYS 2010, PHYS 2020, CS 1010, CS 1020; any introductory programming course; or SCPS courses (see below). APMA 1090 counts as a three credit unrestricted elective.


Students may petition the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs for approval as an HSS elective or other courses not on the approved list. Petition forms are available in A-122 Thornton Hall. Each petition should include the official catalog description for the course and a syllabus for the course. The justification should clearly state how the course meets the definition of an HSS elective.

STS Courses:

In general, STS courses are acceptable as HSS electives. The four required STS courses (1500, 2xxx or 3xxx, 4500, 4600) cannot also be counted as HSS courses. But any STS courses taken beyond the four course requirements can be used as HSS electives, except STS 1800 and STS 4810.

COMM Courses:

In general, courses taken for credit in the McIntire School of Commerce (COMM) are not acceptable for HSS credit. COMM courses (such as those used to satisfy the requirements of the Engineering Business Minor) will be counted as unrestricted electives.

SCPS Courses:

Courses in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) cannot be used to satisfy any degree requirement in SEAS.