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Master’s Degree Programs in Systems Engineering Overview

Majors Overview September 12, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in systems engineering and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Systems Engineering

Postsecondary schools offer master’s degree programs in systems engineering through on-campus, online, and accelerated formats. Diversification in engineering is normally pursued by systems engineers through analysis of a whole system, as opposed to merely its individual components.

Completion of approximately 30 credit hours of engineering core courses is a requirement for the majority of Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Systems Engineering degree programs to augment a team-based project and optional elective courses. Working professionals enrolled in some master’s degree programs in systems engineering are offered a practical approach to develop problem-solving skills. They can engage in the analysis of resources and identification of opportunities within their organizations.

A student project rather than a more traditional master’s thesis is usually required to be completed by enrollees in master’s degree programs in systems engineering. The design of these projects usually provides a hands-on experience within a teamwork setting. Students will facilitate the application through classroom knowledge, resolution of problems as they arise and exploration of the technology integration, systems design, and project management aspects of being a systems engineer.

It takes about one year to complete accelerated master’s degree programs in systems engineering, in contrast with most on-campus and online programs that usually span two years. Students can also avail continuing education workshops and doctoral degree programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically include substantial prerequisites including the successful completion of two semesters of calculus-based probability and statistics and undergraduate-level calculus. They also must have a minimum of one undergraduate class in linear algebra or linear programming, and working knowledge of C, FORTRAN, or C++ or another programming language.


The computer industry is capricious; to keep pace with it, the evolution of core coursework in systems engineering programs offered at universities and colleges proceeds continually. In the process, the interdisciplinary essence inherent in the majority of these programs is maintained. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Systems engineering theories and applications
•Systems optimization and linear programming
•Principles of software architecture
•Risk analysis in engineering
•Deterministic models and simulation

Job and Wage Outlook

In May 2012, about 722,400 individuals were employed as computer user support specialists, in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Candidates with strong technical skills are likely to enjoy better career prospects. In May 2013, a computer and information systems manager brought in an average hourly wage of $59.59 while computer applications software developers and systems software developers earned respective average hourly wages of $44.55 and $48.75.

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continuing education and pursue a doctorate in numerous engineering-related fields, including computer science, aerospace engineering and theoretical and applied mechanics. They may also choose to attend workshops, online software-specific classes, and professional development conferences.

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