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Earning a Masters degree in System Engineering can help those already in the field better understand various engineering systems and the different processes associated with improving them. If you're looking to become a principal engineer or other associated management positions in the field, a systems engineering degree might help in that endeavor.

What is a Systems Engineering Degree?

Engineering is a diverse and innovated field to be a part of. If you have a knack for schematics and design, this could be a lifelong career field for you. At its core, the systems engineering degree program can prepare you for a career developing, modeling, and analyzing complex technological systems for purposes of communication, health care, manufacturing, and even transportation.

The mission of most systems engineering degree programs is to sharpen individual skills in systems creation and analysis, while providing upgraded knowledge for future advancement. If you decide to obtain a degree in systems engineering, you can become part of one of the most technologically advanced field available.

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Online Systems Engineering Degree Options

If it is convenience you seek, than online systems engineering degree programs may be a potential solution. Online systems engineering degree programs can provide you with a great quality education without having to leave work or spend unnecessary time in a classroom setting.

Acceptance requirements for most online programs vary, so you should take the time to research the requirements of each program prior to enrolling. For most online systems engineering degree programs, you must have completed a high school diploma or GED for undergraduate programs or have an accredited undergraduate degree or equivalent post-secondary certificate for graduate programs.

Grade point average requirements vary depending on the university, but some require 3.0 or above for acceptance. Online undergraduate degree programs can possibly be completed in 4 years at full-time enrollment and most online master’s program claim that their estimated length is 2 years.

Online learning presents itself in a convenient format that it suitable for busy professionals. Independent learning can seem challenging for students that are accustomed to classroom learning, but it opens the opportunity for self-advancement and an increase in self-discipline.

When choosing your degree program, you should always ensure that the program is accredited, so that you are getting the best quality education available. Instructors in online degree programs are required to have the same credentials as traditional in-class professors. Some instructors even split their instructional time between in-person and online courses.

Undergraduate Programs

If you’re still at the stage of trying to decide if an undergraduate degree in systems engineering is right for you, it is better to understand the core concepts within the program. We’ve highlighted what differences you may see as well as common courses to expect too.

Systems-centric Programs vs. Domain-centric Programs

The majority of systems engineering programs have general or specific focuses. Degree programs that are systems-centric in nature tend to identify systems engineering as its own individual discipline. Courses within this degree program tend to focus on the general theory of systems engineering as well as the practice of systems engineering in the field.

Domain-centric systems engineering is another focus that implements the study of system engineering into specific fields of engineering, rather than just a general exploration. Having a broad knowledge of systems engineering can be more beneficial for you if you have not quite chosen a specific path to find a career.

Common Undergraduate Courses

During undergraduate studies, you may be required to take prerequisite courses that focus on mathematics and computer sciences. Engineering requires an extensive use of both subjects during and after your educational experience.

Once you have completed your prerequisite courses, you can take courses that are more focused on systems engineering, providing yourself with a great foundation for a career or even further education. Take a look below at some of the common course found in undergraduate systems engineering programs.

  • Object-Oriented Modeling and Design
  • Vector Calculus
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Engineering Management
  • Intro to Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Program Design and Development

Masters in System Engineering Programs

A masters degree in systems engineering is often of interest for those already in the field. You might be a manager or engineer that is looking to advance their career and often a masters program can be required. It’s a big decision and you should understand the details of most programs to make a well-informed decision. We’ve broken down some of the common masters degrees you see associated with systems engineering.

MS in Systems Engineering

The MS in Systems Engineering is a 2 year program that is designed to assist you with becoming more knowledgeable in complex engineering systems and provide meaningful support to the advancement of future processes. Some of the components of this degree program include modeling, architecture, analysis, and system management. While in this program, you are likely to be tested on your knowledge of systems by researching, developing, and maintaining your own engineering programs.

MS in Engineering in Systems Engineering

The MS in Engineering in Systems Engineering challenges students to break apart from others in creative and innovative ways. If you choose this program, you may dive deep into the inner workings of systems engineering programs from a scientific standpoint. This degree program can potentially be completed in 2 years on average, with more time required for flexible scheduling.

It includes some of the integral parts of engineering in relationship to the creation and operation of engineering systems. Throughout this program, you may take courses that focus on the dynamics of complex engineering systems, decision making, methods and applications, as well as simulation modeling.

Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering

In lieu of choosing a master’s degree program, some bachelor’s level grads choose to pursue a graduate certificate in systems engineering. If you have already completed an undergraduate degree in engineering, this is a great option for expanding your knowledge of the field and having that extra flair on your resume. These graduate certificate programs can possibly be completed in 1 year, with some universities requiring slightly more time.

Post-Master’s Certificate in Systems Engineering

If you have already obtained a master’s degree in engineering, but want to shift your focus to systems engineering or simply expand your knowledge, than a post-master’s certificate may be your best option. This program can be completed in 1-2 years and provides learning into the standard aspects of systems engineering and design.

Systems Engineering Job Roles and Career Outlook

Microsystems Engineer

Job Duties

  • Research, develop, and test microelectromechanical systems devices.
  • Consider cost, performance, and capability of MEMS designs
  • Create schematics of MEMS
  • Maintain formal engineering documents
  • Conduct failure, reliability, and yield analysis

Work Environment

Microsystems engineers are commonly found in office settings or laboratories. If you work in this field, you may work independently or with a team of professionals with the same common goal. Specific specialty fields may vary due to the vast nature of this career field.

Job Growth & Salary

Salary – $95,900 on average per year (BLS; 2015).
Growth – 2-4% from 2014-2024 (BLS; 2015).