Demand is soaring for systems engineers, as organizations across many industries are recognizing that complex engineering initiatives must be holistically designed and managed. From developing and directing logistics, schedules, risks, and opportunities, to leading teams and coordinating operations, systems engineers bring clarity and structure to these processes. WPI’s Online MS in Systems Engineering program draws on our strengths in engineering, science, and management to prepare leaders who can integrate the technical and human-centered processes of this multifaceted discipline.

Our part-time program will give you the knowledge, skills, and decision-making abilities to design, manage, and lead complex systems engineering projects.  After completing the MS program, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Work with customers and other stakeholders to determine what they want their systems to accomplish in their operational environments.

  • Analyze requirements for systems, explore alternatives for implementations and design and engineer systems in a way that minimizes technical risks.

  • Develop integration, verification and validation strategies for systems to determine they were built correctly and they meet users’ needs.

  • Describe, design and develop complex hardware and/or software architectures that enable the functionality of complex systems and systems-of-systems.

  • Work with program managers to plan, document and control the design and development of systems in a way that minimizes budget and schedule risks.

Systems engineering helped me understand how the complexity of a major engineering effort can be controlled and guided so that what the customer wants the customer gets.
Mike Bonin
Senior Engineer
General Dynamics Electric Boat
Each of the classes gave me a better perspective on what I did at work. They gave me new or improved methods to approach a problem & tools apply on projects. There was hardly a week where I didn't get something that I could take back and use at my job.
Anne Glavan
Supervisor D355
ORP Engineering Planning & Contract Change Eval, GDEB

Online Course Demo

Have you wondered what it’s like to take an online course at WPI? You can now explore our Canvas platform. 
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Other online graduate program in Systems Engineering: 



30 credit hours required, and specific courses are determined in conjunction with an academic advisor. All courses are three credits each unless otherwise specified. A thesis is not required but all students must complete a capstone experience.  

Core Requirement (12 credits)

Each student must complete the core of the Systems Engineering degree program, which consists of the following four 3-credit graduate courses:

  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering*
  • SYS 510. Systems Architecture and Design
  • SYS 511. Systems Integration, Verification and Validation
  • OIE 542. Risk Management and Decision Making

Leadership/Management Requirement (3 credits)

System engineers need to be aware of, and trained in, leadership/management methods and practices. Accordingly, each student must also complete one of the following 3-credit graduate courses:

  • MIS 576. Project Management
  • MIS 582.  Information Security Systems and Management
  • OBC 506. The Heart of Leadership: Power, Reflection, and Interpersonal Skills
  • OIE 554.  Global Operations Strategy
  • SD 550.  System Dynamics Foundation: Managing Complexity
  • BUS 546.  Managing Technological Innovation

Depth Requirement (6 credits)

To ensure sufficient breadth of knowledge in Systems Engineering, each student must complete a minimum of 18 Systems Engineering graduate credits. In addition to the courses noted in the Core Requirement section, each student must complete two additional 3-credit Systems Engineering graduate courses from those listed below.

Elective Courses (6 credits)

Six credit hours of elective graduate courses can be selected to meet the specific needs of students and organizations. All elective courses must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and can be selected from courses offered by the following departments and programs: Computer Science (CS), Systems Dynamics (SD), any WPI engineering department or program (such as ECE, BME, ME, ChE, EnvE and RBE), the School of Business, and Mathematics (MA).

Capstone Experience (3 credits)

The capstone experience requirement may be satisfied by an instructor-led systems engineering project (SYS 585 Systems Engineering Capstone Experience), an individual directed research project (SYS 598 Directed Research), or a Master’s Thesis (SYS 599 Thesis). Courses taken to satisfy the capstone experience requirement must not exceed a total of 9 credits. Students may not transfer credits to satisfy the required capstone experience.  The capstone cannot be taken until the student has successfully completed at least 24 credits, including all Core Requirements.

Learn more about the Capstone Experience here.

Thesis option: Currently, WPI’s online graduate programs do not offer a thesis option, as theses cannot be completed online. If you wish to pursue a thesis on campus, it is the student’s responsibility to find an advisor. Please note that depending on the project’s subject and timeframe, there might not be a faculty member willing or able to advise.


Subject to change based on availability.


  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering
  • SYS 511. Systems Integration, Verification and Validation
  • SYS 502. Business Practices for Systems Engineers
  • SYS 585. Systems Engineering Capstone
  • BUS 546. Managing Technological Innovation
  • OIE 542. Risk Management and Decision Making


(January start)

  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering
  • SYS 510. Systems Architecture and Design
  • SYS 512. Requirements Engineering or 
    SYS 521. Model-Based Systems Engineering
  • SYS 540. Intro to Systems Thinking
  • SYS 579. Complex Decision Making (note course is 14 weeks)
  • SYS 585. Systems Engineering Capstone
  • MA 501. Engineering Mathematics
  • MIS 576. Project Management
  • OBC 505. Teaming and Organizing for Innovation


(April start)

  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering
  • SYS 511. Systems Integration, Verification and Validation
  • SYS 520. System Optimization​
  • SYS 579D. Engineering Dependable and Secure Systems
    (every other year, starting in AY 2019)
  • OIE 542. Risk Management and Decision Making
  • OIE 598. Engineering Economics
  • SD 550. System Dynamics Foundation:  Managing Complexity


  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering
  • MA 501. Engineering Mathematics
  • MA 511. Applied Statistics for Engineers and Scientists
  • MIS 576. Project Management

Course offerings are subject to change. If you are interested in enrolling, please contact us for the most up-to-date information.

For the rotation schedule of additional management and math courses, please click here​.

Software used in this program: Adobe Connect, SysML Modeling Tool: Magic Draw Cameo Systems Modeler (full evaluation license available) or equivalent SysML tool, Magic Draw Cameo Systems Modeler (full evaluation license available) or equivalent SysML tool, Optimization Modeling With Spreadsheets, 2nd Ed., by Kenneth R. Baker, 2011, Wiley, ISBN 978-0-470-92863-9, Windows-based computer to work software problems in class, Microsoft Office 2007 or later, Oracle Crystal Ball software package (free license), Microsoft Excel Risk Solver Platform for Education (RSPE v 12.5)


During the 2019 International Symposium, the Certification Advisory Group for the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) approved Academic Equivalency for WPI's newly updated online graduate course, SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering. Academic Equivalency allows any student who receives a final score of 85% or better to waive the Knowledge Exam for INCOSE’s SE Professional certification program, both at the Associate (ASEP) and Certified (CSEP) levels. To learn more about this course and the benefits available to you, visit the links below.

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Our students work closely with WPI’s renowned Systems Engineering faculty: real-world experts who enrich the curriculum with decades of professional experience in all aspects of the field. Many continue to be active members of industry as employees and consultants in a variety of leading companies, including Verizon, MITRE Corporation, and the United States Air Force.


The online MS in systems engineering requires a BS in engineering from an ABET-accredited university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

After Graduation

Many of our graduates advance in their current organizations or apply their enhanced skills to new opportunities. Organizations employing WPI systems engineering alumni include BAE Systems, General Dynamics Electric Boat, Raytheon, Textron, U.S Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center, and many more.

Webinar: Open House

View our on-demand webinar to be introduced to our Systems Engineering online graduate program. Get an overview of program logistics, what online learning looks like, the application process, and more!