Credits and costs
Earn Your Master’s in Systems Engineering — 100% Online
Penn State’s online Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering program helps engineering professionals from diverse fields better understand how to manage complex engineering systems and improve future processes. The two-year schedule offers a convenient way for you to add a master’s degree to your résumé while you work.
Upgrading your knowledge and abilities is key to advancement, and the Penn State World Campus systems engineering master’s degree program lets you do that on your time. Graduates have become lead engineers, principal engineers, engineering managers, and project managers in fields such as aerospace and aviation, government and defense, and manufacturing.
Why an Online Systems Engineering Degree from Penn State?
Several features set Penn State’s online Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering program apart:
- The systems engineering program will show you how to implement key systems engineering concepts to help you increase your effectiveness in your current job and open opportunities to advance in your career.
- Our courses are taught by the same Penn State faculty who teach on campus. They bring real-world experience to the classroom and have been trained to teach in the online environment.
Your Online Systems Engineering Courses
This program consists of 12 courses (36 credits) taken over six continuous semesters, with each semester containing two 7-week terms. The courses cover identification, modeling, analysis, architecture, integration, and management of complex systems and processes. You will also gain experience with project and program management, quality improvement initiatives, and creativity and problem solving. This interactive and collaborative cohort program helps students build strong ties with others and gain perspectives from other disciplines and industries.
Information for Military and Veterans
Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
The systems engineering program is an interdisciplinary degree and involves the identification, modeling, analysis, architecture, integration, and management of complex systems and processes.
Systems engineering applies to many types of systems — large systems such as power plants, small systems such as circuit components, or computer hardware and software systems.
Become a Systems Engineering Leader
The primary goal of the systems engineering program is to prepare systems engineers to develop the next generation of engineering products, systems, and services for industry and government.
You will learn to use and implement key systems engineering concepts in order to help increase your effectiveness in your current job and open opportunities to advance your career.
The course of study offers experience in:
- system analysis and modeling
- project and program management
- quality improvement initiatives
- creativity and problem solving
Build Your Professional Network
Your fellow students in the systems engineering program will have undergraduate degrees in engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics, and information technology. Most of the students will be professional engineers and come from the various disciplines of the field.
The online courses are highly interactive and collaborative, allowing you to build strong ties with others and gain perspectives from other disciplines and industries.
Complete Your Degree in 2 Years
The systems engineering master's degree consists of 12 courses, which you will complete in continuous seven-week terms over two years. Your course work is designed so that you can continue to work full-time while earning your master’s degree.
Maximum flexibility is maintained by the program in an effort to meet both the professional needs of individual students and academic quality standards.
The online systems engineering program spans six continuous semesters with each semester containing two seven-week terms. The program is completed in 2 years by taking courses fall, spring, and summer semesters.
An example of the sequence of courses is below. The sequence in which you take your courses will vary depending on the cohort/class to which you are assigned. You will be notified of your cohort and sequence after acceptance to the program. The sequence in which you will complete the 12 required courses (36 credits) satisfies all the prerequisites for the degree program.
Required Courses (36 credits)
Year 1, Semester 1
Year 1, Semester 2
Year 1, Semester 3
Year 2, Semester 4
Year 2, Semester 5
Year 2, Semester 6
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,017 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,203 per semester|
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,027 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,325 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
To be considered for admission, you must submit your completed application portfolio by the deadlines below. Space is limited and you are encouraged to apply early. Applications will be reviewed until all seats are filled.
- Spring Deadline: Apply by November 15 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by April 15 to start May 13
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 15, 2024, to start August 26, 2024
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
The program contains a number of courses requiring a solid background in mathematics, typically found in an undergraduate program in engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, or computer science, with at least two semesters of calculus. Students with other undergraduate majors with a strong background in mathematics may apply. The admissions committee will consider the academic background, as evidenced by the transcript, as part of the overall application.
All applicants are expected to have earned a junior/senior grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
Official GRE test scores will be considered if submitted, but are not required. GRE scores can be submitted using Penn State's code — 2660.
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
References (2) — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering the names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of the two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to the recommender requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform the recommender they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
Résumé — Upload a one- to two-page résumé highlighting your full-time employment and/or military experience to the online application.
One-page statement of intent should outline personal career goals and reasons for wanting to enroll in the program. This statement should be specific and include information about short- and long-term goals and how enrolling in the program may help achieve them. The statement of intent also offers applicants the opportunity to demonstrate writing and communication skills, specify examples of leadership, and provide pertinent information that will assist the committee in selecting candidates who can benefit from and contribute to the systems engineering program.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this program.
Note about additional hardware: it is a requirement for this online program that students have ready access to a document scanner that allows for the creation of PDF files, which will enable students to submit handwritten homework and exams in several of the mathematics-based courses.
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering, offered in partnership with the Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, please contact:
For general questions about the program, contact:
Dr. Amanda Neill
Email: [email protected]
For general questions about Penn State World Campus, please contact
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
DegreePh.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Oklahoma
DegreeM.S., Industrial Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University
DegreeB.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Tabriz
Dr. Mohamad Darayi, assistant professor of systems engineering, focuses his principal research and key publications on infrastructure network resilience and simulation modeling applications in health care, manufacturing, and supply chain management. He teaches courses in system simulation, risk analysis, network modeling, and data analytics.
Joanna F. DeFranco
DegreePh.D., Computer and Information Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology
DegreeM.S., Computer Engineering, Villanova University
DegreeB.S., Electrical Engineering and Math, Penn State
Dr. Joanna F. DeFranco is an assistant professor of software engineering. She has worked as an electronics engineer for the Navy and as a software engineer at Motorola. Her research interests include software engineering teams, effective teamwork, Internet of Things, and software-intensive critical systems.
DegreePh.D., Systems Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
DegreeM.S., Engineering Management, Missouri University of Science and Technology
DegreeB.S., Environmental Engineering, Istanbul Technical University
Dr. Nil Ergin, associate professor of systems engineering, researches system of systems engineering, complex adaptive systems, model-based systems engineering, and multi-agent systems. Dr. Ergin is also affiliated with the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), a DoD–funded University Affiliated Research Center, where she works on collaborative research efforts among multiple universities. She is a member of IEEE and INCOSE.
DegreePh.D., Electrical Engineering, Ohio State University
DegreeM.S., Electrical Engineering, Ohio State University
DegreeB.S., Electrical Engineering, Ohio State University
Dr. Kathryn Jablokow is a professor of engineering design and mechanical engineering. She is an experienced researcher, with special expertise in design cognition, engineering creativity, and high-performance design teams. She is also an award-winning educator who has developed multiple engineering courses related to problem solving, creativity, and invention, including a massive open online course that has attracted more than 250,000 learners since 2013. She investigates the human side of engineering and the effects that individual cognitive differences have on the processes and products of design.
DegreePh.D., Computer Science, Concordia University
DegreeM.S., Computer Science, Concordia University
DegreeB.S., Computer Science, University of Windsor
DegreeB. Eng., Computer Engineering, Lebanese American University
Dr. Mohamad Kassab is an assistant professor of software engineering. His research includes requirements engineering, software architecture, software quality, software measurements, and the Internet of Things. He has published extensively in software engineering books and journals. With more than 17 years of industrial experiences, he also worked in different industrial roles. Dr. Kassab teaches courses in requirements engineering, software testing, and software architecture and design.
Phillip A. Laplante
DegreePh.D., Computer Science, Stevens Institute of Technology
DegreeM.B.A., University of Colorado
DegreeM.Eng., Electrical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology
DegreeB.S., Systems Planning and Management, Stevens Institute of Technology
Dr. Phillip A. Laplante is a professor of software and systems engineering. He has an extensive list of publications and deep practical experience in requirements engineering, development, testing, and project management for a variety of complex systems, including safety critical and embedded ones. He is widely recognized for work in real-time systems, real-time imaging, and applications in the Internet of Things. He is also a pioneer in licensing of software engineers, having led the development and acceptance of the first licensure exam for software engineers in the United States.
DegreePh.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering, Auburn University
DegreeM.E., Industrial and Systems Engineering, Auburn University
DegreeB.S., Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Tehran
Dr. Ashkan Negahban is an associate professor of engineering management. Prior to joining Penn State, he was an instructor at Auburn University, where he taught courses in simulation, probability theory, and statistics. His research interests include the application of different types of simulation (discrete event, agent-based, and Monte Carlo) in design and operation of complex systems. He has developed several e-learning modules that have received worldwide publicity and are used by faculty from leading institutions around the world.
DegreePh.D., Software and Systems Engineering, University of Wales Swansea
DegreeM.Sc., Communications Systems, University of Wales Swansea
DegreeB.Eng., Electrical Engineering, University of Wales Swansea
Dr. Colin Neill is a professor of software engineering and systems engineering. He teaches many courses in software and systems engineering and project management. He is the author of more than 80 articles on the development and evolution of complex software and systems and their management and governance. Dr. Neill is a senior member of the IEEE and a member of INCOSE, and he serves as associate editor-in-chief of Innovations in Systems and Software Engineering.
Raghvinder S. Sangwan
DegreePh.D., Computer and Information Sciences, Temple University
DegreeM.S., Computer Science, West Chester University
DegreeB.S., Genetics and Plant Breeding, Haryana Agricultural University
Dr. Raghvinder S. Sangwan is a professor of software engineering. His teaching and research involve analysis, design, and development of software-intensive systems and their architecture, and automatic/semi-automatic approaches to assessment of their design and code complexity. He actively consults for Siemens Corporate Technology in Princeton, New Jersey, and holds a visiting scientist appointment at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a senior member of the IEEE and ACM.
DegreePh.D., Engineering Mechanics, Clemson University
DegreeM.S., Civil Engineering, Clemson University
DegreeMBA, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Civil Engineering, University of Madras
Dr. Kailasam Satyamurthy, assistant professor of engineering, teaches decision and risk analysis, finance and economics for engineers, statistics, optimization, and continuous improvement courses. He held managerial positions at Vanguard and at GenCorp and conducted extensive research in the finite element modeling of nonlinear mechanical and thermal systems. He has vast experience in Six Sigma quality and continuous improvement, and has trained numerous professionals in manufacturing, transactional, and health care industries.
DegreePh.D., Electrical Systems and Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
DegreeM.S., Measurement and Control, Carnegie Mellon University
DegreeB.S., Physics, Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Doug Schumer is assistant professor of engineering design and faculty director of the REV-UP Center for Entrepreneurship. Following 20 years in industry leading medical device R&D, Dr. Schumer held the position of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's professor of practice in biomedical engineering and served as Georgia Tech's first director of design innovation and education. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society.