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CybersecurityHuman SystemsModeling and SimulationProject ManagementSoftware SystemsSystems


The Master of Science in Engineering in Systems Engineering program at Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. It provides in-depth knowledge and technical skills in the field of systems engineering and systems of systems, and prepares students for careers within industry and government. This systems-centric program addresses the needs of engineers and scientists engaged in all aspects of analysis, design, integration, production, and operation of modern systems.

The systems engineering process coordinates and leads the translation of an operational need into a system designed to meet that need. It integrates the inputs of all the required technical disciplines into a coordinated effort that meets established performance, cost, and schedule goals. Systems engineers provide the leadership and coordination of the planning, development, and engineering of technical systems, including hardware and software components.

Instructors are practicing systems engineers who incorporate real-world problem solving activities and case studies into discussion topics. Whether they study online or in top-notch facilities like the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, students learn how to develop complex systems.

Student Outcomes

Upon completing the program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply technical knowledge in mathematics, science, and engineering to lead the realization and evaluation of complex systems and systems of systems.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to conceive of, gather user needs and requirements for, design, develop, integrate, and test complex systems by employing systems engineering thinking and processes, within required operational and acquisition system environments.
  3. Understand and utilize the life cycle stages of systems development from concept development through manufacturing and operational maintenance.
  4. Lead and participate in interdisciplinary teams to manage the cost-effective systems.
  5. Communicate complex concepts and methods in spoken and written format.
  6. Demonstrate awareness and capability in employing tools and techniques in the systems engineering process.

Program Educational Objectives

Within two to five years after graduation, Master of Science in Engineering in System Engineering graduates will:

  1. Attain programmatic or technical leadership roles in systems engineering or the management of complex systems.
  2. Employ systems engineering methods and tools throughout the life cycle of complex systems.

Enrollment and Graduation Data

MSE Enrollments (Headcount)
Fall 2018 322
Fall 2017 317
Fall 2016 307
Fall 2015 324
Fall 2014 367
Fall 2013 370
Fall 2012* 0
MSE Degrees Awarded
Academic Year 2017–2018 105
Academic Year 2016–2017 95
Academic Year 2015–2016 170
Academic Year 2014–2015 118
Academic Year 2013–2014 166
Academic Year 2012–2013* 73

*The Master of Science in Engineering in Systems Engineering (EAC-accredited program) was created during the 2012–2013 academic year, after the fall 2012 enrollment snapshot was taken, but before degrees were conferred in the spring. This explains the absence of enrollments in the fall, but the presence of degree recipients in the spring.


Chair: Andrew Merkle

Vice Chair: David Flanigan

Program Coordinator: Ian Nolan (410-516-2262,


Master's Degree

Admission Requirements

  • You must meet the general admission requirements that pertain to all master's degree candidates.
  • Your prior education must include a degree in a science or engineering field.
  • A minimum of one year of relevant full-time work experience in that field is required, and a detailed work résumé must be submitted.
  • One professional letter of recommendation must also be submitted.
  • The Systems Engineering program offers two degree distinctions—a master of science in engineering (MSE) and a master of science (MS). In order to be admitted into the MSE program, applicants need to hold a degree issued by a program accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET. Students admitted without a bachelor of science degree from an EAC of ABET-accredited program (or who did not complete the prerequisites that meet all of the EAC of ABET-accreditation requirements for attainment of student outcomes and for sufficient math, science, and engineering design at the bachelor of science level) will receive a regionally accredited master of science degree. There is no difference in the curriculum for the M.S.E. and M.S. programs.
  • When reviewing an application, the candidate's academic and professional background will be considered.
  • If you are an international student, you may have additional admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

  • Ten courses must be completed within five years.
  • The curriculum consists of seven or eight core courses and two or three electives, depending on whether the master’s project or the master's thesis is selected.
  • Only one C-range grade (C+, C, or C−) can count toward the master’s degree.
  • Course substitutions may be allowed subject to advisor approval.

Graduate Certificate

Admission Requirements

  • You must meet the general admission requirements that pertain to all graduate certificate candidates.
  • If you decide to pursue the full master's degree, all courses will apply to the master's degree provided they meet program requirements and fall within a five-year time limit. You must declare your intention prior to completing the certificate.
  • If you are an international student, you may have additional admission requirements.

Certificate Requirements

  • Five courses must be completed within three years.
  • The curriculum consists of the first five core courses.
  • Only grades of B− or above can count toward the graduate certificate.

Post-Master's Certificate

Admission Requirements

Certificate Requirements

  • Five courses must be completed within three years.
  • The curriculum consists of four advanced courses (645.742, 645.753, 645.761, 645.771) and one elective.
  • The one elective can be one 700-level course in a program approved by the student’s advisor.
  • Only grades of B− or above can count toward the post-master's certificate.


Please refer to the Schedule Planning Information page for a general idea when these courses are offered. For exact dates, times, locations, fees, and instructors, please refer to the course schedule published each term.


Students earning a master’s degree must take three electives (or two if students take the two-semester thesis option) from the list of courses by track below. Other JHU/WSE courses may be accepted as electives with the approval of the student’s advisor. The tracks below represent related groups of courses that are relevant for students with interests in the selected areas.


Please visit the Systems Engineering Advising Corner for more information.

Program News

Systems Engineering Seminar: ARD Lets Astronomers Image Night Sky Regardless of Location, Weather, and More
June 1, 2020

The way Andrew Serio saw it, the recent explosion in the popularity and availability of drones for commercial and hobby use and the advances in lightweight optical and hardware materials created a perfect storm of opportunity that he wanted to take advantage of.

Systems Engineering Seminar: Getting Marine Pilots Safely On Board
April 17, 2020

Amir Bijandi watched in horror as a marine pilot tumbled from a 20-foot ladder and down into a churning sea, where he was almost sucked into a ship's swirling propeller before being rescued. The pilot had been attempting to transfer from a small boat onto the 1-million-ton vessel, so that he could help the captain navigate it into the port of Baltimore. Regulations require that large ships entering local waterways take these expert marine pilots aboard to help avoid navigational hazards.

April 2020 Program News
March 30, 2020

Applied Biomedical Engineering

Beginning this summer, the Applied Biomedical Engineering program will offer the following course online:

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