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MSSE degree requirements and core curriculum

Degree requirements

First, 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.

Core curriculum

The following courses are required of all MSSE students:

ENSE 621 Systems Concepts, Issues and Processes (3)
ENSE 622 Systems Requirements, Design and Trade-Off Analysis (3)
ENSE 623 Systems Projects, Validation and Verification (3)
ENSE 624 Human Factors in Systems Engineering (3)

ENSE 621, ENSE 622, and ENSE 623 may not be taken out of sequence.

The following management core courses are required of all MSSE students:

ENSE 626 System Life Cycle Analysis and Risk Management (3)
ENSE 627 System Quality and Robustness Analysis (3)

Core course descriptions

ENSE 621 Systems Concepts, Issues and Processes (3)
Prerequisite: permission of department.
This course is an introduction to the professional and academic aspects of systems engineering. Topics include: systems engineering activities, opportunities and drivers; case studies of systems failures; models of system lifecycle development; introduction to model-based systems engineering; representations for system structure, system behavior, system interfaces and systems integration; reactive (event-driven) systems, systems-of-systems, measures of system complexity; visual modeling of engineering systems with UML and SySML; simplified procedures for engineering optimization and tradeoff analysis. Software tools for visual modeling of systems with UML and SySML. Students will complete a project for the frontend development of an engineering system using UML/SysML.

ENSE 622 Systems Requirements, Design and Trade-Off Analysis (3)
Prerequisite: ENSE 621 and permission of department.
This course builds on material covered in ENSE 621/ENPM 641, emphasizing the topics of requirements engineering, system-level design and trade-off analysis. Topics include: requirements engineering processes; representation and organization of requirements; implementation and applications of traceability; capabilities of commercial requirements engineering software; system-level design; design structure matrices; principles of modular design; component- and interface-based design methods; multi-objective optimization-based design and tradeoff; approaches to system redesign in response to changes in requirements, reliability, trade-off analysis, and optimization-based design. Students will complete a project focussing on the development of requirements and their traceability to the system-level design of an engineering system.

ENSE 623 Systems Projects, Validation and Verification (3)
Prerequisite: ENSE 622 and permission of department.
This course builds on material covered in ENSE 621/ENPM 641 and ENSE 622/ENPM 642. Topics will cover established and emerging approaches to system validation and verification including: inspection, testing, and traceability; writing validation and verification plans; formal approaches to system validation and verification; specification-based testing; role of logic in system validation and verification; automaton models of computation, timed automaton; model-based design and model checking for reactive systems. Students will be introduced to software tools for specification-based testing, model-based design and model checking. Students will work in teams on semester-long projects in systems engineering design and formal approaches to system validation and verification.

ENSE 624 Human Factors in Systems Engineering (3)
Prerequisite: permission of department.
This course covers the general principles of human factors, or ergonomics as it is sometimes called. Human Factors (HF) is an interdisciplinary approach toward dealing with issues related to people in systems. It focuses on consideration of the characteristics of human beings in the design of systems and devices of all kinds. It concerns itself with the assignment of appropriate functions for humans and machines – whether the people serve as operators, maintainers, or users of the system or device. The goal of HFs is to achieve compatibility in the design of interactive systems of people, machines, and environments to ensure their effectiveness, safety and ease of use.

ENSE 626 System Life Cycle Analysis and Risk Management (3)
Prerequisite: permission of department.
This course covers topics related to estimating the costs and risks incurred through the lifetimes of projects, products and systems. In addition, treatment is given to methods that determine the drivers of costs and risks and then propose the most effective alternatives to reducing them. The course covers relevant analytic tools from probability and statistics and also important managerial and organizational concepts. Extensive use will be made of case studies and examples from industry and government.

ENSE 627 System Quality and Robustness Analysis (3)
Prerequisite: permission of department.
This course covers systems engineering approaches for creating optimal and robust engineering systems and for quality assurance. It provides an overview of the important tools for quality analysis and quality management of engineering systems. These tools are commonly used in companies and organizations. Focus will be placed on the Baldrige National Quality Program, ISO 9000 certification, 6-sigma systems, and Deming total quality management to examine how high quality standards are sustained and customer requirements and satisfactions are ensured. The Taguchi method for robust analysis and design is covered and applied to case studies. Issues of flexible design over the system life cycle are addressed. Statistical process control, international standards of sampling, and design experimentation are also studied.

ENSE 698 Special Topics in Systems Engineering (1-3)
Prerequisite: ENSE 621
Courses intended for a high degree of specialization in systems engineering are offered by visiting or regular systems engineering faculty. Example: Case Studies in Systems Engineering.

ENSE 799 Master’s Thesis Research (6)
Prerequisite: 9 credit hours of required core courses.
Each student who chooses the thesis degree option is required to complete a systems design project which involves the application of systems engineering concepts, principles and theories. The systems thesis project can be related to systems applications with joint supervision from industry (when applicable).


Questions?

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
301-405-4419
jmaccart@umd.edu