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MSSE overview

Is the MSSE degree right for you?

YES! If you are...

  • A graduate of an accredited program in engineering, science or math
  • Planning a career in creating, designing, analyzing complex systems, services or processes

YES! If you want...

  • To use systems engineering principles to help solve perplexing problems of national concern through cutting-edge, model-based systems engineering (MBSE) techniques and methodologies, modeling and optimization, decision and risk analysis, stochastic analysis, and human factors engineering
  • Familiarity with financial and management issues that affect developing complex systems and services
  • Research opportunities and mentoring from world-renowned, multidisciplinary systems researchers in robotics, cybersecurity, transportation, sustainability, and MBSE methods

YES! If you expect to...

  • Make a major contribution to your profession
  • Apply your creative talents to synthesize and analyze complex, multidisciplinary, real-world cyber-physical systems

The Institute for Systems Research is an internationally recognized leader in systems research. We emphasize advanced strategies for high-level synthesis and analysis of complex, multidisciplinary engineering systems, using model-based systems engineering techniques.

Designed with substantial industry input, our MSSE program covers topics from systems definition, requirements, and specifications; to systems design, implementation, and operation. You may specialize in one or more of the following: robotics, cybersecurity, computer and software, control, manufacturing, transportation or process systems, communications and networking, signal processing, operations research—or in any other area upon which you and your advisor mutually agree.

The program draws on the engineering, computer science, and management experience of University of Maryland faculty, and makes optimum use of the university’s advanced facilities, including commercial and open-source software tools for model-based systems engineering (MBSE). In addition, the University of Maryland’s location close to Washington, D.C., offers advantages and convenience for those seeking employment in, or already employed by the federal government and the many private industries supporting it. The State of Maryland also has companies that serve the commercial and consumer markets (e.g. bioscience, health care, information technology).

An additional benefit of associating with ISR through the MSSE degree program is continual exposure to the latest systems research within ISR and from universities, government, and industry through our many seminars and colloquia.

Interact with world-renowned researchers for an exciting research and thesis experience

When you do research and present your thesis, you invest 6 credits of this 30-credit program. The remainder of the program consists of 18-credits in six core courses:

  • The three-course sequence in systems engineering fundamentals, requirements, design, and trade-offs; verification and validation; and hands-on projects;
  • Three courses that address a systems engineering specialization area or management topic such as human factors, lifecycle costing, or quality management
  • Based on your technical area of interest, elect two courses in a concentration or specialization area.

Your thesis work will be undertaken with world-renowned ISR faculty researchers such as Professor John Baras , Associate Professor David Lovell, Associate Professor Rajeev Barua and Associate Professor Pamela Abshire and demonstrate and practice systems engineering principles. As an example, recent theses have addressed applying SysML to metabolic engineering and ontology-enabled traceability that supports MBSE in emerging domains.

You will be exposed to the latest systems engineering research, including the work of visiting lecturers in the MBSE field. | View past lectures |

Benefits of your thesis experience

  • The opportunity to publish your work in journals or present it at conferences;
  • Preparation to pursue a PhD;
  • Invaluable hands-on experience in applying your systems engineering knowledge to new research that benefits our global society.


Contact the Director of the Systems Engineering Education Program
Dr. John MacCarthy
Director, Systems Engineering Education Program
Institute for Systems Research
2175 A.V. Williams Building
College Park, MD 20742