A more general definition of systems engineering by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is: “Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem: Operations, Performance, Test, Manufacturing, Cost & Schedule, Training & Support and Disposal. Systems engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs.”
In alignment with the above definition, the goal of systems engineering is the development and management of systems (products and services) that satisfy customer requirements considering engineering, technology, environmental, management, risk and economic factors by viewing the system as a whole during its life cycle. Systems engineering is also the practice of “good engineering.” Through systems engineering and related courses, the student gains a foundation in systems engineering plus exposure to a variety of topics such as reliability, quality, logistics/supply networks, operations research, engineering management, software engineering, telecommunications and environmental engineering. “Systems thinking” skills are developed, and these skills foster more effective practice for the engineer or engineering manager within the business enterprise. The systems engineering program’s objective is to make the student a better engineer and manager by imparting an enhanced understanding of the impact of engineering decisions.
The program has been developed in response to the growing need by industry and government for engineers who are not only specialists in a particular area, but who also have a systems perspective in order to more effectively practice engineering and manage within the business enterprise. The program offers flexibility for 1) systems engineers who are entering the field, updating skills or acquiring new skills, 2) engineers who need to acquire a broadening of their technical and management education from a systems perspective, 3) engineers with upper-level management aspirations and 4) engineering students seeking to increase their market value by acquiring knowledge and skills necessary for the engineering of products and services from a systems perspective.
The systems engineering program is designed to build on engineering/technical education and experience while developing problem definition and problem-solving skills.
In addition to meeting the Lyle School of Engineering admission requirements for an M.S. degree, applicants are required to satisfy the following additional requirements:
- A B.S. in engineering, mathematics or one of the quantitative sciences. (A B.S. in an appropriate engineering discipline is required for the systems engineering and design track.)
- A minimum of two years of college-level mathematics, including at least one year of calculus.