Master's degree programs in systems engineering are highly interdisciplinary, integrating advanced studies in computer science and mathematics. They tend to emphasize systems-level perspectives of engineering problems, rather than minute details. Students can expect to explore systems design, technology integration, and project management through theoretical coursework and hands-on problem-solving experience. Instead of a traditional master's thesis, most of these programs culminate in a final student project.
Most programs take two years to complete, although accelerated one-year programs are available. Some programs are also offered online in order to accommodate the needs of working professionals. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree. As an undergraduate, they need to have completed two semesters of calculus and calculus-based probability and statistics and one semester of linear programming or linear algebra. Applicants must also have a working knowledge of at least one programming language, such as C++, C or FORTRAN.
Master's Degree Programs in Systems Engineering
Most Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering degree programs require students to complete approximately 30 credit hours of engineering core courses, along with a certain number of systems engineering optional elective courses and a team-based project. Common course titles include:
- Risk analysis in engineering
- Principles of software architecture
- Systems engineering theories and applications
- Deterministic models and simulation
- Systems optimization and linear programming
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer user support specialists held 585,060 jobs in the industry in May 2015. The mean annual wage for a computer and information systems manager in May 2015 was $141,000, according to the BLS. Applications software developers and systems software developers earned mean annual wages of $102,160 and $108,760, respectively.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates from a master's degree program in systems engineering can choose to continue their higher education by pursuing a doctoral degree in an engineering-related field, such as aerospace engineering, computer science or theoretical and applied mechanics. Students may also pursue continuing education opportunities, which may take the form of online software-specific classes, workshops and professional development conferences.
With the advanced technical skills gained in a master's degree program in systems engineering, students can advance their careers in the information technology industry, or they can enroll in a doctoral program in a similar subject.