Manage and Optimize Complex Systems with a Master’s in Systems Engineering

Purdue’s online Master’s of Systems Engineering helps students become systems engineering experts.

School: Purdue Engineering Online 

Program:  Interdisciplinary Engineering with Systems Concentration

Description:  This concentration is designed to provide students with graduate-level knowledge of systems engineering, from which they will be able to apply state-of-the art methods in designing, analyzing and controlling the next generation of complex systems that respond to rapidly changing environments. The concentration aims to develop professionals who are both well-grounded in interdisciplinary engineering as well as prepared to create and execute trans-disciplinary processes that result in engineered systems that are responsive to stakeholders’ needs.

Where is it: West Lafayette, Indiana

Format: Online

Degree you get:  Master of Science (MS) or Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)

  • Depends on background: Engineering background results in MSE, any other background results in MS

Prerequisites:    Must already hold an undergraduate degree from an ABET accredited engineering program.

Size of the Program:  37

Credit hours:  30 credit hours

Thesis:  Thesis and non-thesis degree options available

How long will the program take?  2.5-3 years, approx.

When to apply: May 1 for Summer; July 1 for Fall; November 1 for Spring

Tuition: $3,416 per course for residents of Indiana; $3,774 per course for non-residents

Minimum Admission Requirements:

  • BS in engineering or related discipline
  • Transcripts
    • Yes
    • Minimum GPA 3.0
    • Yes, for international students
    • Minimum Paper-Based Test (PBT) Score Required: 550
    • Minimum Internet-Based Test (IBT) Overall Score Required: 77, with minimum section requirements Reading 19, Listening 14, Speaking 18, Writing 18
  •   Essay (statement of purpose)
    • Yes
  • Resume
    • Yes
    • Minimum years of experience varies
  • Letters of Reference
    • Yes, 3 letters required
  • GRE
    • Not required

Who should take this course?

  • Professional working engineers interested in system management and optimization who are looking to advance their career in their chosen field.

Claim to Fame:

  • Program and curriculum was developed through the Purdue Systems Collaboratory, and is an approved University partner program for the GM Technical Education Program.

The interdisciplinary field of systems engineering focuses on the design and management of complex technical systems that essential to a wide range of industries—from aerospace to manufacturing to architectural construction.

The applications for systems engineering are wide-ranging, with systems engineers working to develop and improve air traffic management, sustainable infrastructure, intelligent healthcare devices, healthcare delivery systems, flexible manufacturing and design, transportation systems and many other types of intelligent systems.

An online Master’s of Science in Systems Engineering form Purdue will give students the skills they need to succeed in these highly advanced and demanding technical fields. The degree program focuses on providing a strong understanding of systems engineering, teaching students how to apply innovative, state-of-the-art methods to the design, analysis and control of complex systems in rapidly changing environments.

Course topics cover essential knowledge areas including:

  • Analytics
  • Automotive systems
  • Cybersecurity
  • Decision analysis
  • Human factors
  • Introduction to Systems
  • Model-based systems
  • Systems engineering theory and architecting
  • Systems thinking

Studying Systems Engineering Online at Purdue University

Purdue’s online courses are administered through the Purdue Engineering Online department.  The nature of online courses makes them ideal for working professionals, as course work is flexible and can be completed according to the student’s schedule.

Students can attend lectures live over video streaming if convenient; otherwise, all lecture content is recorded and made available for students to download at any time.  Other course content is accessible online, as well, including course readings and assignments.  Students can also interact with their peers and professors during lecture and through email outside of classroom hours.

Students require an undergraduate degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited engineering program, and must apply and be accepted by Purdue Engineering Online.

Tuition is paid as a flat rate per course, which varies depending on whether the student is a resident of the state of Indiana.  Tuition for the full degree amounts to about $34,160 for residents of Indiana, and $37,740 for non-residents.

Tuition Rate

Fall 2017 – Summer 2018
Nonresident of Indiana

Fall 2017 – Summer 2018
Resident of Indiana

3-credit course



1-credit course



*3-credit Project course (by special arrangement only)



Learning to Design and Manage Complex Systems and Processes

The Master’s in System Engineering degree requires students to complete 30 credit hours of coursework through a combination of core courses, systems engineering courses and other graduate level engineering courses related to their discipline or career.  Both thesis and non-thesis options are available, as well.

Purdue students work together with a graduate advisor to craft a Plan of Study (PoS) for their degree that will ensure they will complete all necessary course requirements, and will gain the knowledge they need to succeed in achieving their career goals. Faculty gradate advisors will also assist in course selection and otherwise support students throughout their degree.

Core courses: (2 courses/6 credits)

  • IE 52000 Perspectives on Systems Engineering
  • IE 59000/AAE 59000 Practical Systems Thinking


  • IE 52100/AAE 59000 Tools and Methodologies for Designing Systems

Systems Related courses: (choose 2 courses/6 credits)

  • AAE 55000 Multidisciplinary Design Optimization
  • AAE 56000 Systems of Systems Modeling and Analysis
  • AAE 59000 System Safety & Reliability
  • IE 59000/AAE 59000 Practical Systems Thinking
  • IE 52100/AAE 59000 Tools and Methodologies for Designing Systems
  • IE 59000/AAE 59000 Science Technology & Policy
  • IE 59000/BME 59500 Complex Systems: Theory & Applications
  • CS 57300 Data Mining
  • ECE 58000 Optimization Methods for Systems & Control
  • IE 53000 Quality Control
  • IE 53200 Reliability
  • IE 53600 Stochastic Models in Operations Research
  • IE 54500 Engineering Economic Analysis
  • IE 54600 Economic Decisions in Engineering
  • IE 57700 Human Factors in Engineering
  • IE 58000 Systems Simulation
  • IE 59000 Applied Ergonomics
  • ME 55300 Product & Process Design
  • ME 55700 Design for Manufacturability
  • ME 57100 Reliability Based Design
  • ME 57500 Theory & Design of Control Systems.

Other Graduate Courses: (choose 6 courses/18 credits)

Choose from graduate level engineering courses from any Purdue engineering department, including Aeronautics and Astronautics, Biomedical, Computer, Electrical, Industrial and Mechanical.  Some graduate level non-engineering courses are eligible, such as computer science, mathematics, statistics and biology, subject to approval by your graduate advisor.

Purdue University has sponsored this post.  All opinions are mine. –Meghan Brown