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MSSE degree requirements

You must comply with the general requirements for the master’s thesis and non-thesis options, which are those of the University of Maryland Graduate School. You must fulfill all requirements within five years.

The thesis option requires a total of 30 credit hours: 24 hours of coursework and six hours for the thesis project. The coursework includes 18 credits for the six core courses (four courses from the systems engineering core and two courses from the management core) and two elective courses. The elective courses must be taken from one specialization area. The thesis project demonstrates the practical implications of systems engineering principles. You may relate the project to a practical industrial system or to an ISR research activity, with supervision by your academic advisor or another ISR faculty member. Because of its research component, we recommend this option for those who want to pursue a Ph.D.

The non-thesis option requires each student to obtain a total of 30 credit hours of coursework to complete the program (four courses from the systems engineering core, two courses from the management core, and four elective courses). The elective courses must be taken from not more than two specialization areas. In addition, students must complete a scholarly paper. Expectations of the scholarly paper: While less detailed and complex than the thesis, the scholarly paper also contributes to systems engineering research. For example, a student might chose to write a literature review, identify and propose a solution to a systems problem encountered on the job, or prepare a systems case study. You prepare the scholarly paper under the supervision of your academic advisor, have it read by at least one additional ISR faculty member, and approved by the MSSE graduate director.


John MacCarthy
Director, Systems Engineering Education Program
The Institute for Systems Research
2175 A.V. Williams Building
Phone: 301.405.4419

Information about the Director of the Systems Engineering Education Program