Systems Engineering Certificate

The Systems Engineering (SE) post-baccalaureate certificate 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.

Three students focusing intensely on a computer screen with project notes in the background

Getting started

The certificate program can be completed in three semesters (approximately 10 months of classes) and has a simplified admissions process. Credits from the certificate program can be transferred to several Masters of Science programs: MS of Systems Engineering, MS of Electrical Engineering, MS of Computer Science, or MS of Engineering Management.

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Required Courses

SYST 660: Systems Engineering Principles

The Systems Engineering Principles course provides an introduction to the discipline of Systems Engineering and Systems Architecting. Key industry standards for the “The Systems Engineering Process” are taught and used throughout the course. The course describes how the SE process is implemented in standard life cycle models and through various standard organizational structures. This course introduces Model-Based Systems Engineering concepts, e.g., DoDAF, UML, and SysML. System engineering technical process topics range from Requirements Definition through system Verification and Validation. System engineering management process topics include: Decision Analysis, Technical Planning, Risk Management, and Interface Management. The course also covers aspects of project management: Integrated Product Teams, technical performance measurement, earned value measurement, and work breakdown structures. Students will develop a requirements document, and an integrated architecture, and a System Engineering Plan (SEP). Homework and Exams are designed to provide the opportunity to practice the concepts learned in class.

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 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 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.

Choose one of the following 2 courses

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 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.

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