Explore the Degree
Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering Management Curriculum Approach
The Master of Professional Studies in Systems Engineering Management curriculum provides students with a careful balance of technical engineering and applied management leadership theory and practice.
The degree requires 10 courses (30 credits total) to complete, including:
- Two core courses (6 credits): Ethics and Capstone
- Four foundation courses (12 credits): Fundamentals of Systems Engineering, System Architecture and Design, Systems Integration, and System Architecture and Design
- Four elective courses (12 credits): Electives empower you to customize your educational experiences to fit your personal, professional and academic goals. These include a mix of elective courses focused on engineering research and innovation as well as electives focused on management, strategy and communication.
Classes are held during the evenings to minimize career interruptions. Typically, students finish the program in about two calendar years; students who participate in the program full-time can finish in four semesters (16 months).
*Note: Courses and course names are subject to change.
MPSE 500: Ethics
The core course in Applied Ethics provides a firm foundation of essential concepts, skills, and strategies to allow for informed decision-making and effective leadership in systems engineering. Students will discuss the ethical decision-making process and the moral reasoning behind coming to conclusions. Looking at theory and discussing its application in the modern complex engineering situations will give students the base needed to succeed moving forward with complex professional situation. Topics will include the effects of technology, regulations, security and financial concerns on systems engineering. Students will work in teams on an applied project. Students must earn a grade of “B” or better in this course to graduate from the SEM program.
MPSE 900: Capstone
The Capstone course is the culmination of the student’s academic and professional experience in the Master of Professional Studies in Systems Engineering Management program. Over the course of the semester, students will apply the knowledge gained during the program, integrating the skills necessary for analyzing issues, thinking creatively, working collaboratively, and presenting impactful ideas to create a Capstone Project. The Capstone Project will draw from systems engineering and management disciplines and should be one of the most comprehensive and applied works a student completes in his or her academic career. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this degree, students in this course will co-taught by faculty from both from Georgetown and one from Stevens. The intent of the project is for students to apply concepts principles and practices they have learned to:
- A “real” problem within an application domain of interest to them, their sponsor and their assigned academic advisors;
- An investigative study of some aspect of systems engineering (e.g., the utility and relevance of an ontology to project success); or
- The development of a systems engineering application case study.
Students must earn a grade of “B” or better in this course to graduate from the SEM program.
MPSE 505: Fundamentals of Systems Engineering
Required (Prerequisite for MPSE 510: System Architecture and Design)
Principles of Systems Engineering course introduces students to the principles and processes of systems engineering. The course enables them to more effectively design solutions that meet customer needs. The course centers on a group project that students pursue in small teams. Principles of Systems Engineering provides students with a disciplined approach for identifying a customer or stakeholder need and translating that need into a complete set of requirements or specifications for a system that meets the need. The focus is on developing an outside-in view that treats the system as a black box, without regard to the components from which it will be built. The course emphasizes the distinction between an operational need and a system solution, and stresses the importance of understanding the customer need before jumping to a solution. The intent is not just to describe the systems engineering and architecting process. Rather, the course helps students understand how to think through the choices at each step of the process. What decisions have to be made? What factors should be considered in making them? It is the answers to these questions that make for good systems engineering, not just adherence to a standard process. The primary objective of this course is to achieve a strong foundation in systems engineering principles and processes. Students will work in teams on an applied project. This course is a prerequisite for MPSY 700.
MPSE 510: System Architecture and Design
Required (Prerequisite for MPSE 515: Systems Integration)
System Architecture and Design describes the fundamentals of system architectures and the architecting process, including practical heuristics for developing good architectures. This course shifts inside the system boundary to develop a specification for a set of logical and physical elements that comprise the logical and physical architectures, defined to meet the system requirements reviewed during SRR. The course culminates with a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) in which the system design is reviewed before detailed design can begin. The course has a strong “how-to” orientation – both a team project and a final individual project is used to give students an opportunity to apply the architectural concepts and lessons learned. The course highlights linkages between early architectural decisions driven by customer requirements and concept of operations, and system operational and support costs. Students will work in teams on an applied project. This course is a prerequisite for MPSY 800.
MPSE 515: Systems Integration
Systems Integration introduces students to the principles and processes of early validation, integration, test, verification, transition, and validation within the systems engineering discipline. The course enables students to more effectively integrate and prove-in solutions that meet system requirements and customer needs. The course centers on a group project that students pursue in small teams of 3 to 4. Systems Integration provides students with disciplined approaches for 1) performing early validation of a solution to meet a customer or stakeholder need, 2) factoring integration and test issues into the system requirements and architecture, 3) identifying and selecting among alternative means to integrate and test, 4) identifying comprehensive test cases, 5) performing fault diagnosis, 6) verifying systems, 7) transitioning systems, and 8) validating systems. The focus is on extending the model-based approaches that are introduced in the courses on Fundamentals of Systems Engineering and Systems Architecture and Design for integration, verification, transition, and validation. The course also emphasizes the importance of systems engineering the integration and test environment used to build and prove-in the system being developed. The intent is not just to describe the systems integration, testing, verification and validation process. Rather, the course helps students understand how to think through the choices at each step of the process. What decisions have to be made? What factors should be considered in making them? It is the answers to these questions that make for good systems integration, not just adherence to a standard process. The primary objective of this course is for the student to leave with a strong foundation in systems integration principles and processes. Students will work in teams on an applied project. MPSY 700 must be taken before taking this course.
MPSE 520: Project Management of Complex Systems
This core course will expose students to tools and approaches useful for the effective management of systems engineering projects. Students will build a foundation in project management by mastering areas based on PMBOK Ver. 5.0. Through analyzing scope, time, cost, resources, critical path development, communications, cultural factors and risk assessment, students will improve their management skills and the ability to evaluate multifaceted issues. Students will follow the project life cycle from planning to monitoring to control and learn how to meet the most common challenges encountered in systems management. Knowledge of project planning is the cornerstone of using systems engineering concepts in the field. Students will work in teams on an applied project.
MPSE 700: Financial Management in Systems Engineering
In this course, students will explore managing projects from a financial perspective including estimating, allocating and reporting on an organization’s financial assets. Students examine the basic business problems that managers face as they make systems decisions for their organizations. The topics include: return on investment, financial statement analysis, discounted cash flow analysis, capital budgeting methodologies, concepts of risk and return, and other areas of interest in both public and private sector financial decision making. Students will be expected to analyze real-world situations by reviewing case studies and will work in teams on an applied project related to financial management in systems engineering. Students will work in teams on an applied project.
MPSE 701: Decision and Risk Analysis
This course addresses the analytic techniques for rational decision-making for complex systems. Included are the topics of uncertainty, conflicting objectives, and risk attitudes. Students learn how to structure and solve decision problems associated with systems engineering tradeoffs, uncertainty of outcomes, and risk aversion. Various modeling approaches and software tools are presented and then applied to a group project.
MPSE 702: Advances in System of Systems Engineering
This course presents a systems architecting process to achieve enterprise integration both within and between corporate boundaries. The process leverages systems thinking - the antithesis of scientific reductionism, which fails to appreciate the interrelationships between components that make-up a system. Systems thinking has proven to be successful in the delivery of integrated technology products, and is now being applied to understanding the structure and dynamics of organizations for which communications and co-stuff in general is a key to business success; in other words interrelationships are prime in managing an enterprise. The systems approach further emphasizes emergence, wider systems and the environment. These concepts are crucial to architecting an enterprise in consideration of issues of decentralization, alliance advantage, and market phenomena. Students will work in teams on an applied project.
MPSE 703: Simulation and Modeling
This course emphasizes the development of modeling and simulation concepts and analysis skills necessary to design, program, implement, and use computers to solve complex systems/products analysis problems. The key emphasis is on problem formulation, model building, data analysis, solution techniques, and evaluation of alternative designs/ processes in complex systems/products. Overview of modeling techniques and methods used in decision analysis, including Monte Carlo and discrete event simulation is presented. Students will work in teams on an applied project.
MPSE 704: Systems Thinking
It takes something special for the term system to have such ubiquity. The downside is that it is overused, improperly so, detracting from its power. This class builds upon a solid conceptual foundation to ensure that the system/enterprise is properly defined, conceived, and realized. Uniquely, the class shows how it is possible to use systems in order to think more deeply and to act more decisively. This approach is made possible by emphasizing the simultaneity of perspectives, the role of paradox, and the centrality of soft issues in resolving complexity. The SystemitoolTM is used to structure and conduct analysis of decisions. This class is aimed at policy and decision-makers at all levels in an organization. Students will work in teams on an applied project.
MPSE 710: Strategy and Innovation
In this course, students will be introduced to multiple processes for creating strategic plans. Students will analyze how to improve upon systems using a strategic planning process in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Examining the key terms, theories and terminology in strategic plan development will give students a base to evaluate complex systems and their integration throughout an organization. This course develops the skills needed to manage an effective team and evaluate different leadership and work styles, to best maximize the project environment. Students will work in teams on an applied project.
MPSE 711: Public Policy and Systems Engineering
This course focuses on the intersection between systems engineering and public policy. Understanding policy from the perspective of what is on the legislative agenda to what can one do to affect policy is crucial in today’s systems engineering environment. This course will explore policy making as both a problem solving process and an advocacy process from a local, state, and federal government perspective. Students in the course will look at policy-making from varying perspectives such as administrative agencies, legislators, the courts, the mass public, interest groups, and the media. Students will work in teams on an applied project for this course.
MPSE 712: Managing Complex Systems Change
Organizational change projects are complex and difficult to manage. In this course, students learn how organizational change occurs at the individual, group, and organization-wide levels and why even carefully planned change has many unintended consequences. Students analyze organizational change case studies, evaluate causes of failure and factors of success in organizational development projects, and design optimal change interventions. In addition, the course explores the theory that success of organizations depends on employees' abilities to advance business strategies and to enable group and organizational processes that allow organizations to grow and change in healthy ways. In this course, students learn the managerial and organizational behavior skills required to manage people, resources, and situations effectively across organizational contexts, to use organizational processes to enhance organizational performance, and to take the lead as change agents. Students will work in teams on an applied project for this course.
Additional planned electives include:
- Leadership Theory/Transformational Leadership
- Financial Institutions and Markets
- Decision and Risk Analysis
- Financial Information Systems
- Compliance and Regulation
- Compliance and Policy in Healthcare
- Data Integration Across the Healthcare Lifecycle
- Systems Engineering Life Cycle in Healthcare
Sample part-time versus full-time schedule:
The program typically takes students two years of part-time study to complete, although many students will complete the program in a faster or more gradual fashion. Choose the pace that best meets your professional, educational and life goals.