Master's Degree Programs in Systems Engineering

Learn how you can earn a master's degree in systems engineering, including on-campus and online options. Find out about careers and average salaries in the field. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Master's Degree Program in Systems Engineering?

The International Council on Systems Engineering defines systems engineering as an interdisciplinary field focused on planning and managing all aspects of a system according to client needs ( As a systems engineering student, you'll learn the entire process of a system from design to testing. You'll learn the required goals for successful completion of the project, while recognizing potential risk situations and implementing support and networking systems. Some programs may emphasize a particular area, such as software engineering or network administration, but your core courses may cover the following topics:

  • Management of complex engineering systems
  • Systems engineering life-cycle
  • System design
  • System testing and assessment
  • Project management
  • Group problem solving & creativity
  • Systems architecture

You may be required to complete a master's project or a thesis, depending on the program and your career goals. A thesis is often recommended if you plan to pursue a doctoral degree.

Key Topics Discussed System design, project management, system testing, engineering life-cycle, systems architecture
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree is required; some institutions may require previous work experience or previously completed coursework
Learning Environments Traditional classroom and distance education degree programs are available
Potential Salary (2016) $44,332 - $135,390


What Are The Prerequisites?

To enroll in a systems engineering master's degree program, you generally must have a bachelor's degree in engineering, math, physics, computer science or a related field. Many programs are aimed at engineering professionals or those who work in similar fields, and you may have to have at least 1-2 years of work experience in order to enroll. Prerequisite courses such as calculus or statistics will prepare you for your engineering coursework.

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

Many colleges and universities offer online master's degrees in systems engineering. You'll have similar courses in online programs as you'd have in on-campus programs. Renowned faculty and engineers often teach the courses. You need a computer with Internet access and an e-mail address. Your courses may be delivered by e-mail, webinar, streaming videos or through an Internet-based course delivery system.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

As a systems engineer, you'll work with consumers, suppliers, management and other engineers to ensure that all elements of a project can be incorporated into a cohesive and functional whole. You can find employment in a variety of areas, including aerospace, biomedicine, energy, information technology and electronics. According to, the salary range for systems engineers in computer networking and information technology was $44,332-$99,235 as of January 2016, while senior systems engineers overall reported a salary range of $74,027-$135,390.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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