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

Other online graduate program in Systems Engineering: 

Courses

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

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
  • SYS 511.  System 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.

  • SYS 502.  Business Practices
  • SYS 512.  Requirements Engineering
  • SYS 520.   System Optimization
  • SYS 521.  Model-Based Systems Engineering
  • SYS 540.  Introduction to Systems Thinking
  • SYS 579C.  Complex Decision Making
  • SYS 579D.  Engineering Dependable and Secure Systems
  • SYS 579R.  System Reliability Engineering
  • SYS 579S.  System of Systems Engineering

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.

COURSE SCHEDULE

FALL TERM

  • 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
  • Business Depth TBD
  • MA 501. Engineering Mathematics

EARLY SPRING TERM

(January start)

  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering
  • SYS 520. System Optimization
  • SYS 510. Systems Architecture and Design
  • SYS 540. Intro to Systems Thinking
  • Business Depth TBD
  • OBC 505. Teaming and Organizing for Innovation

LATE SPRING TERM

(April start)

  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering
  • SYS 511. Systems Integration, Verification and Validation
  • Elective TBD
  • SYS 585. Systems Engineering Capstone
  • Business Depth TBD
  • MA 501. Engineering Mathematics

SUMMER TERM

  • SYS 501. Concepts of Systems Engineering
    or SYS 510. Systems Architecture and Design
  • MIS 576. Project Management
    or OIE 542. Risk Management and Decision Making

ADDITIONAL ELECTIVES

BUSINESS DEPTH ELECTIVES

  • MIS 576. Project Management
  • OIE 542. Risk Management and Decision Making
  • SD 550. System Dynamics Foundation: Managing Complexity
  • OBC 505. Teaming and Organizing for Innovation

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Faculty

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.

Prerequisites

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!