The Systems Engineering (SE) Program at UMBC is designed to accelerate the development of systems engineers by providing practical experience that can be immediately applied on the job. Students learn from industry experts how to develop operable systems that meet customer requirements, while successfully navigating the complexities of system design.
Courses are developed and taught by senior systems engineers and address the entire systems engineering life cycle, including requirements analysis, systems architecture and design, modeling, simulation and analysis, and system implementation and test. Classes are held at convenient late afternoon or early evening times to meet the needs of working professionals.
As an approved INCOSE Academic Equivalency Program, the M.S. in Systems Engineering provides the broad background required for successful systems engineers in the 21st century. Visit the INCOSE SE Professional certification program to find out more.
The core curriculum consists of six System Engineering courses, shown below, that equip students with the processes, techniques, and tools required to practice systems engineering. The elective portion of the program is structured so that students can tailor the courses to meet their specific needs.
- The Master’s of Science in Systems Engineering program is a non-thesis program.
- Students must earn 30 credit hours (approximately 10 courses).
- The program has a CAPSTONE project course: SYST670: Systems Engineering Project. In the project course, students complete an industry-based SE project and write a related technical report.
By the end of this program, the student will be able to:
- Apply the fundamental principles of systems engineering to manage the development of products.
- Develop functional, physical, and operational architectures of a system or enterprise that meets user requirements.
- Construct design specifications from user and system requirements.
- Formulate modeling, simulation, and analysis techniques to solve systems engineering problems.
- Develop and lead the system integration process.
- Develop and lead the system verification process in an operational environment.
- Apply effective leadership skills for multidisciplinary system engineering teams.
Required Core Courses (18 credits)
SYST 660: Systems Engineering Principles
The Systems Engineering Principles course provides an introduction to the discipline of Systems Engineering and its specific process framework required to create man-made systems. The course describes how the SE process is implemented in standard life cycle models and through various standard organizational structures. Specifically, this course provides an overview of the systems engineering processes outlined in the International Standard for Systems and Software Engineering (ISO/IEC 15288:2008), the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Handbook, and the INCOSE Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge. This course will emphasize that Systems Engineering Technical Processes operate within the envelope of the Project as dictated by Contracts as set forth by an Organization. As a part of this course, students will select, research, and report on systems engineering process areas of particular importance to them. Class exercises are designed to provide the opportunity to practice the concepts learned in class.
The coursework from this class has been recognized by INCOSE as having the same content as the INCOSE knowledge exam. Therefore, a student who passes this class (required minimum is 80%) is eligible to bypass the INCOSE knowledge exam on their path to becoming an INCOSE Associate Systems Engineering Professional (ASEP) or Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP).
SYST 661: System Architecture and Design
The System Architecture and Design course focuses on the role of the systems architect in the system development life cycle. In the operational analysis phase, the emphasis is on understanding the context of the system within the larger customer problem area, and the identification of requirements that influence system partitioning. In the functional analysis phase, the emphasis is on the dependencies between processing steps. In the architectural design phase, the emphasis is on partitioning the system into generic components, and ultimately instantiating them into physical components. A precision landing system is used throughout the course as a common case study. Within the classroom sessions, a search and rescue system is used. Three presentations by each group are given to simulate: (1) RFI review, (2) SRR, and (3) SDR. These reviews progressively reveal each group’s proposed solution to the precision landing system for a mythical country with unique complicating characteristics.
Prerequisite: SYST 660. SYST 660 may be taken concurrently with instructor permission.
SYST 662: Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis
The Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis (MS&A) course covers the use of modeling, simulation, and analysis in the development and test of systems. The course covers leading MS&A activities, architecting simulations, and making decisions based on statistical analysis of the simulation results. The techniques discussed in class are motivated through the use of examples. Typical modeling problems discussed include performance, cost, reliability, and maintainability modeling. Students will develop simple models and simulations using MATLAB and complete several course projects.
Prerequisites: SYST 660, SYST 669. The SYST 669 class requirement may be waived by passing the Mathematics and MATLAB Fundamentals Proficiency Exam. See the instructor for details.
SYST 663: System Implementation, Integration, and Test
The System Implementation, Integration, and Test course is a follow-on to SYST 661. The course covers the translation of design specifications into product elements, the integration of these elements into a system, and the verification that the resulting system performs as intended in its operational environment. The course follows the product development life cycle beyond system architecture and design. The system is decomposed into component level elements suitable for software coding and hardware fabrication. These elements are then individually tested and gradually integrated together as the various modules and sub-systems are subjected to unit test, verification and validation. Eventually the full system goes through Operational Test and Evaluation, and finally makes it into production and operation. This course covers the System Engineer role, activities and processes that are needed during this phase of the product development cycle. Areas of study will include technical planning, requirement & interface management, standards, technical performance measures, technical evaluation, technical readiness, implementation, integration, verification, validation, production, transition to operation and complexity.
Prerequisites: SYST 660 and SYST 661 or consent of instructor.
SYST 670: Systems Engineering Project
In this course, the student performs in an industry-based work environment on a SE project. The project spans the essential phases of the System Life Cycle and results in the development of a simulation model of the objective system. During the course of system development, engineering artifacts are created to substantiate system development. A final summary technical report summarizing the artifacts and simulation results are compiled in a form representative of a professional report in partial satisfaction of course requirements. Starting six weeks before the beginning of the semester, students form Integrated Product Teams, usually not exceeding 5 students per team. During the six weeks before the semester begins, the team prepares a proposal for the project that is submitted to the instructor for approval. The advisor may approve the project proposal, subject to adjustment, as needed. To increase the realism of the environment, an industry mentor may collaborate with the advisor during the periodic milestone reviews of the project.
Prerequisites: SYST 660, SYST 661, SYST 662, SYST 663, or consent of instructor.
SYST 672: Decision and Risk Analysis
This course provides an overview of decision and risk analysis techniques. It focuses on how to make rational decisions in the presence of uncertainty and conflicting objectives. This course covers modeling uncertainty; rational decision-making principles; representing decision problems with value trees, decision trees, and influence diagrams; solving value hierarchies, decision trees, and influence diagrams; defining and calculating the value of information; incorporating risk attitudes into the analysis; and conducting sensitivity analysis. Students are expected to have an elementary understanding of probability theory.
The core courses are 3 credit hours each. Students who choose to take SYST 672 as part of our certificate program in Systems Engineering and are applying for a Master’s of Systems Engineering are required to take SYST 662 to meet the requirements for the Master’s degree.
Note: SYST 662 has a prerequisite of either passing SYST 669 or testing out of the class. See the instructor for details. SYST 669 is a one credit course.
SYST 669: Mathematics and MATLAB Fundamentals for Engineers
This 1-credit course provides an introduction to programming in MATLAB and a review of fundamental engineering mathematics, e.g., probability, calculus, linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, difference equations, and some numerical methods). It is designed to refresh students’ basic skills in these areas of mathematics and to establish basic proficiency in MATLAB. Course work focuses on developing MATLAB programs that use these mathematical techniques to solve simple problems of systems engineering interest. Prerequisites: Knowledge of a programming language.
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