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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.


Program Chair: Ronald Luman

Program Vice Chair: David Flanigan

Program Coordinator: Arti Kennedy (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 post-master's 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. The student must declare their intention prior to the completing the certificate.
  • If you are an international student, you may have additional admission requirements.

Certificate Requirements

  • Six courses must be completed within three years.
  • The curriculum consists of the first six core courses.
  • 645.800 may be substituted for 645.764.
  • Only grades of B− or above can count toward the graduate certificate.

Post-Master's Certificate

Admission Requirements

Certificate Requirements

  • Six courses must be completed within three years.
  • The curriculum consists of four advanced courses (645.742, 645.753, 645.761, 645.771) and two electives.
  • The two electives can be two semesters of an independent systems engineering research project leading to a paper suitable for submission for publication in a refereed journal, or two 700-level courses 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

System Engineering Seminar: Using Drone Technology to Locate and Rescue Avalanche Victims
October 7, 2019

A skier and sports enthusiast, Doug Smith has enjoyed winter activities in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, and Utah, where he lives. Though he has never personally experienced an avalanche, Smith is aware that nearly 500 people have perished in the United States because of such natural disasters over the last two decades.

September 5, 2019

The statistics are sobering: Each year, about 85 American workers die in forklift-related accidents, and more than 96,000 are injured—at least 35,000 of them seriously. Many of these injuries result from pedestrians struck by forklift trucks operating in manufacturing facilities, where they often share the same space on the factory floor.

Systems Engineering Seminar: New System Enables Coordinated Communications for Autonomous Vehicles
August 1, 2019

Like most Americans, Peter Richards is fascinated by autonomous vehicles. He views the advent of these driverless cars, trucks, and buses as a paradigm shift that promises to bring enormous benefits to individuals and to society.

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