Online Master of Science in Systems Engineering

We are now accepting applications for our summer and fall semester start dates. For more details on application deadlines and start dates, refer to the academic calendar.

Program Description

The online Master of Science in Systems Engineering focuses on the design, integration, and management of complex systems over their life cycles. This interdisciplinary field blends systems management, systems thinking, and leadership principles to address the challenges of designing and fielding complex systems. The curriculum covers topics such as systems design and modeling, systems analysis, project management, systems architecture, and requirements engineering. 

The program is designed for professionals who seek to develop expertise in efficiently coordinating the various components of a system, ensuring that they work together to achieve the desired outcome. Students learn to balance technical, economic, and socio-political factors while managing the development process. This equips them for careers in diverse sectors like aerospace, defense, healthcare, and information technology. Graduates of the program have the opportunity to become an INCOSE Certified Systems Engineer by taking the CSEP exam.


Learn more about the courses

EMSE 6001 The Management of Technical Organizations: The practice of management as applied within technical organizations. Includes history of the tradition and current effective practices, research findings, and case studies, with objectives of enhanced understanding of external and internal factors influencing organizational performance and leadership requirements. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6020 Decision Making with Uncertainty: Problem formulation. Concepts and techniques used in analyzing complex decision problems. Modeling decision problems using decision trees, probability models, multi-objective models and utility theory. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6099 Problems in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Capstone: Capstone project providing the opportunity to apply concepts and tools previously studied to the solution of a real-world problem. Students work in small groups, on a problem proposed by students and approved by the instructor. Open only to master’s candidates in the department, preferably during the last semester of their program. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6410 Survey of Finance and Engineering Economics: Survey of material relevant to financial decision making for engineering activity. Includes traditional engineering economy topics; fundamentals of accounting; and financial planning, budgeting, and estimating applicable to the management of technical organizations. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6801 Systems Engineering I: Systems approach to the architecting and engineering of large-scale systems; elements of systems engineering; methods and standards; computer tools that support systems and software engineering; trends and directions; the integrative nature of systems engineering. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6805 Systems Engineering II: Application of systems engineering tools to provide hands-on experience with essential elements of practice. Processes of requirements engineering, functional analysis and allocation, risk management, architecting; architectural heuristics, axiomatic design, analytical assessment of alternative architectures. Prerequisite: EMSE 6801. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6810 Systems Analysis and Management: The systems or holistic approach as a methodology for making decisions and allocating resources. Analysis by means of objectives, alternatives, models, criteria, and feedback. Prerequisite: EMSE 6801. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6815 Requirements Engineering: Requirements in systems engineering, including requirement types, quality factors, elicitation methods, analysis, derivation of implicit requirements, management, traceability, verification, cross-requirement assessments, and validation. Focus on writing and managing quality requirements in complex systems. Prerequisite: EMSE 6801. (3 credit hours) 

EMSE 6817 Model-Based Systems Engineering: Model-based systems engineering and its derivative, evidence-based systems engineering, as techniques with potential for improving the technical integrity of complex systems. The foundation to these model- and research-based techniques for system definition and analysis as applied to life-cycle systems engineering. Prerequisites: EMSE 6805 or permission of the instructor. (Fall, spring, and summer, Every Year). (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6820 Program and Project Management: Problems in managing projects; project management as planning, organizing, directing, and monitoring; project and corporate organizations; duties and responsibilities; the project plan; schedule, cost, earned-value and situation analysis; leadership; team building; conflict management; meetings, presentations, and proposals.  (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6825 Project Cost and Quality Management: Developing project cost and resource estimates during the planning stages. Monitoring, forecasting, and controlling cost throughout the project life cycle. Project quality planning, assurance, and control. Relationships among project scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, procurement, and risk. Preparation for the Project Management Professional examination. Prerequisite: EMSE 6820. (3 credit hours)

EMSE 6840 Applied Enterprise Systems Engineering: Applications of systems engineering in the DoD, other parts of the federal government, and commercial sectors. Architectural frameworks and enterprise architecting concepts and practices, including JCIDS/DODAF, Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework, and Zachman™ Framework. Enterprise architecting and advanced modeling tools. Prerequisite: EMSE 6801. (3 credit hours)

Academic Calendar

Our classes meet one night a week (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays) for nine weeks from 6:30 to 9:50 PM Eastern time. Students enroll in four 9-week sessions. There is also an optional fifth summer session (classes meet twice a week for five weeks). Students may begin their studies in any of the five sessions. Please see below for the dates of our upcoming sessions.

Session Dates Application Deadlines
Summer 2024 week of 5/20/24 – week of 6/17/24 5/1/2024
Fall 1 2024 week of 8/12/24 – week of 10/7/24 7/31/2024
Fall 2 2024 week of 10/14/24 – week of 12/9/24 9/30/2024
Spring 1 2025 week of 1/6/25 – week of 3/3/25 12/13/2024
Spring 2 2025 week of 3/10/25 – week of 5/5/25 2/20/2025


The course order is determined by advisors based on student progress toward completion of the curriculum. Course details will be provided to students via Blackboard approximately one month prior to the start of classes.


Tuition is $1,200  per credit hour for the 2024-2025 academic year. Tuition is billed at the beginning of each semester for the courses registered during that semester. A non-refundable tuition deposit of $495 is required when the applicant accepts admission. This deposit is applied to tuition and due the first semester. Our online graduate degree programs in engineering require no additional fees. We provide eBooks and software at no additional cost.


Admissions Process

Review the Admissions Requirements 

Ideal candidates for the programs will meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, or a closely related field from an accredited institution.
  • Minimum grade point average of B- (2.7 on a 4.0 scale) or higher.
    • Applicants with less than a 2.7 GPA may also apply and may be accepted conditionally based on a holistic review of application materials
  • Grade of C or better in one course in college-level calculus and one course in college-level statistics. Applicants who do not meet this requirement in full but are otherwise qualified may be conditionally admitted and required to take an additional 3-credit hour course, EMSE 4197 — Special Topics: Quantitative Methods in Engineering Management, during the first year of graduate study.
  • If you’re applying from outside the U.S., please see international student admissions information for additional requirements.

Note: GW considers a candidate’s entire background when reaching an admissions decision. Applicants who do not meet all the requirements may still be eligible for admission. Their records will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Apply for Admission and Submit Supporting Documents

Apply for Admission
 There is no application fee for any GW online engineering program. 

Complete application packets include:

  • Resume or C.V.: Upload your up-to-date resume or C.V.
  • Statement of Purpose: In an essay of 250 words or less, describe your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also, discuss any other related qualifications not already mentioned, such as collegiate, professional, or community activities.
  • Official Transcripts: Official transcripts are required from all institutions where a degree was earned. Transcripts should be sent to [email protected] (if sent electronically), or via mail to:
    Online Engineering Programs
    The George Washington University
    170 Newport Center Drive
    Suite 260
    Newport Beach, CA 92660
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two (2) letters of recommendation are required, and one must be from a professional reference. Begin this process by filling out this letter of recommendation form. Within this form you will share the email address of the individual providing your recommendation. Once you complete your required section, Docusign will send that individual a link to the letter of recommendation form. A letter of recommendation is only considered official when it is sent directly from the individual providing the recommendation through DocuSign. Submissions directly from applicants will not be accepted.
  • GRE Scores: GRE scores are not required but if available, should be submitted to enhance your application.
Remain Engaged in the Admissions Process

You will receive emails from us updating you as your application goes through the admissions process.


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