Course Descriptions

Core Courses:
(16 credits required for masters degree)

SYSE 591: Systems Engineering Approach
EMGT 540: Operations Research in Engineering and Technology Management 
SYSE 573: Requirements Engineering
And, one of three modeling courses:  
SYSC 514:  System Dynamics 
SYSC 527:   Discrete System Simulation
SYSC 529:  Business Process Modeling & Simulation
One of the above SYSC modeling courses is used for core
and the other two may be used as electives. See details below. 

Required Courses:

SYSE 506: Masters Project  
SYSE 590: Integrative Workshop 

Elective Courses:
(16 credits required for masters degree)

SYSC Modeling course listed under core courses
SYSE 567:  Systems Engineering Management 
EMGT/SYSC 553:  Manufacturing System Simulation 
EAS 561: Reliability Engineering   
SYSE 575: Reducing Risk in Decision Making
SYSE 595: Hardware-Software Integration
SYSE 505: Reading and Conference
SYSE 561: Logistics Engineering

Core Courses (16 credits required for masters degree):

ETM (EMGT) 540: Operations Research in Engineering and Technology Management (4 credits)
      Professor: Tim Anderson

Resource optimization is studied through mathematical programming. Emphasis is placed on applying linear programming, and goal programming to engineering management decisions. Problem formulation, mathematical model building, basic principles behind the Simplex algorithm, and multiple objective linear optimization via goal programming are included in the course. Post-optimality analysis is studied from the viewpoint of technology management. The course includes a term project involving a real-life problem.

During winter term, remote SYSE students participate in this course. Typically lectures are recorded fall term for online viewing winter term, In previous O.R. classes, Dr. Anderson allowed remote students to view guest speaker videos from previous terms and then do reports on them. If not, Dr. Anderson makes other arrangements for remote students to meet this class requirement. HW assignments done on paper, may be faxed to the ETM department, attention of T.A. In the past, remote students formed project groups within themselves or joined groups that included non-remote students. Please email Dr.Tim Anderson near the beginning of winter term for details on textbook, email address of T.A., URL for videos, etc.

SYSE 573: Requirements Engineering (4 credits)
      Professor: Dorothy McKinney

This course provides the knowledge and skills necessary to translate needs and priorities into system requirements, and develop derived requirements, which together form the starting point for engineering of complex hardware/software systems. The student will develop an understanding of the larger context in which requirements for a system are developed, and learn about trade-offs between developing mission needs or market opportunities first versus assessing available technology first. Techniques for translating needs and priorities into an operational concept and then into specific functional and performance requirements will be presented. The student will assess and improve the usefulness of requirements, including such aspects as correctness, completeness, consistency, measurability, testability, and clarity of documentation. Case studies, many involving software-intensive systems, will be used. Prerequisite: SYSE 591 Systems Engineering Approach or SYSC 513 Systems Approach or Consent of Instructor. See Syllabus for more details.

SYSE 591: Systems Engineering Approach (4 credits)
      Professor: Ike Eisenhauer

Engineering of complex hardware, software systems encompasses quantitative methods to understand vague problem statements, determine what a proposed product/system must do (functionality), generate measurable requirements, decide how to select the most appropriate solution design, integrate the hardware and software subsystems and test the finished product to verify it satisfies the documented requirements. Additional topics that span the entire product life cycle include interface management and control, risk management, tailing of process to meet organizational and project environments, configuration management, test strategies and trade-off studies. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor. See Syllabus.

A note regarding SYSC modeling courses

As part of the core for the systems engineering (SYSE) masters degree, at least one system science (SYSC) modeling courses must be taken from this menu:

SYSC 514, System Dynamics
SYSC 527, Discrete System Simulation
SYSC 529, 'Business Modeling' (not offered every year)

Wayne Wakeland, SYSC faculty, offers these three modeling courses, as well as:
SYSC 525 Agent Based Simulation
SYSC 553 Manufacturing Systems Simulation (not offered every year)

One of first three courses must be used as part of SYSE core.  Any of remaining four courses may be used as electives in the SYSE masters. Wayne teaches these courses both on-campus and to remote students.  His style is as follows.  The 'lecture material' is contained in PSU's online course management system, D2L.  Wayne attends on-campus lab sessions, where he reviews lecture material and helps students with Lab Assignments.  You may attend the lab on-campus, or may participate remotely, either synchronously or asynchronously.  The lab sessions employ Elluminate which allows synchronous viewing and questions and records sessions for later viewing.  If an asynchronous, remote student has questions, they contact Wayne by email.

Systems science methods focus on understanding the general properties and behavior of complex systems by creating models and finding patterns in data.  Specific methods include :  1) system dynamics which focuses on modeling the underlying feedback structures with differential equations which are solved to simulate behavior over time, 2) discrete system simulation which uses a Monte Carlo approach to analyze how the variety/randomness in systems impacts their performance with special emphasis on business processes and manufacturing systems, 3) agent based simulation which is used to study how low-level interactions between individual agents influences overall system behavior/performance, and 4) the use of algorithms to find patterns in large, complex datasets in order to better predict and control the systems which generated the data.  Systems scientists strive to interact effectively with collaborators from other disciplines by using clear and well annotated graphics and diagrams to present models and data analysis results.

SYSC 514:  System Dynamics  (4 credits)
      Professor: Wayne Wakeland

A lab and web-based course that introduces the student to the study of the dynamic behavior of continuous systems that contain feedback. A simulation software is used as part of the course. "Lecture" materials are provided using PSU's online course management systems. Class time is used to assist students in carrying out various labs to reinforce the primary concepts. An introduction to ODE's is helpful. For more information:

SYSC527:   Discrete System Simulation  (4 credits)
      Professor: Wayne Wakeland

Discrete system simulation (DSS) models characterize systems as flows of entities that traverse the system based on logic predicated on sampling from probability functions. The results are used compute statistical measures of performance for the system under study. DSS is used extensively in the fields of operations research, civil engineering, industrial engineering, systems analysis, etc. Students learn how to use DSS to study problems in their respective fields of interest. An introduction to statistics is helpful. For more information:

SYSC 529:  Business Process Modeling & Simulation  (4 credits)
      Professor: Wayne Wakeland

The primary emphasis is on using discrete (and possibly continuous) system simulation models to analyze business processes, including administrative processes, decision-making, product development, manufacturing, and service delivery, etc. Discrete system models characterize the system as (flow charts) a flow of entities that enter and move through various processes, queues, and decision logic according to various probability functions specified by the modeler. Monte Carlo sampling is used to calculate statistical measures of system performance, such as throughput, average queue length, resource utilization, etc. For more information:

 Required Courses:

SYSE 590: Integrative Workshop (1-4 credits per term; 4 in total)
      Professor: Herm Migliore

Systems Engineering is an acquired behavior to be developed throughout the Masters degree program. Students and faculty advisors will engage in creative workshop activities integrating technical specialty skills and project experience invoking systems engineering applications of communication, synthesis and creativity, team building, problem solving, management of time and resources, and system life-cycle thinking. A student portfolio will document the program plan and document that the desired behavioral change is taking place. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor, Total of 4 credits; variable each term.  For More Details

When you get your admit-letter, you are asked to start on SYSE 590 immediately.  For more information on SYSE 590 see e-portfolios and guidelines.

SYSE 590 tracks student maturity in learning and in using systems engineering as applied to an educational system - the individual's study plan. SYSE 590 also serves as another vehicle for the student to assess courses and the program.  As a consequence of the student's assessment of courses and the program, and as a portion of the four credits, the student may wish to explore additional system engineering topics not explicitly covered in scheduled courses.  The final product is an e-portfolio which will be posted on the systems engineering web site.

SYSE 506: Master's Project (1-9 credits per term; 9 in total)

The nine credits of SYSE 506 are a capstone experience that exercises systems engineering concepts in a comprehensive project of interest to student and advisors.  The student may work on a project potentially in their area of domain knowledge and potentially for their current employer, but the project must encompass: a) systems thinking, b) a systematic approach, c) identification of customer and stakeholder needs, d) requirements management, d) validation and verification, e) formal interface management f) assessment of results. The scope of the project is well defined and must satisfy objectives related to technical engineering, student learning, and systems engineering areas.  The project generally starts with a formal proposal, continues with progress reports, and ends with a stand-alone final report. Contact Director.

SYSE 590 versus SYSE 506

SYSE 590, Integrative Workshop and the Masters Project, SYSE 506, both involve specific topics of interest to the student and advisor. Both courses involve multiple terms. Formal registration is at the convenience of the student. Nonetheless, SYSE 590 and 506, each have a unique contribution to the masters learning experience.

SYSE 590 should be started at the beginning of the masters program. The system of interest is the student's study plan, including reflection and assessment, documented in an e-portfolio.

The topic for SYSE 506 may be considered as early as the student and advisor wish, but the actual work is performed later in the masters program. The master's project, SYSE 506, differs in several ways: 1) the system of interest is real and extra-mural; 2) the project is a culminating experience; 3) ample credits are available to formally: a) perform trade-off studies on selecting a topic, b) incorporate all appropriate systems engineering concepts and tools, c) validate and verify all stages of the project. In the SYSE 505, course description is an estimate of the expected amount of work and deliverables (for four credits).

Elective Courses (16 credits required for masters degree):

SYSE 561:  Logistics Engineering   (4 credits)
      Professor: David Carswell

Concentrates on logistics from a systems engineering perspective. Systems will include a mix of
products and processes, materials, equipment, software, people, data, information, and services, within some form of hierarchy. The design for supportability/serviceability, the production and effective
distribution for customer use, and the sustaining maintenance will be addressed on a total system
life-cycle basis, with particular emphasis in the early phases of the development of new systems
and/or reengineering of existing systems. Prerequisite: basic knowledge of systems engineering
concepts and statistics. For more details about course, see Syllabus

EMGT/SYSC 553:  Manufacturing System Simulation  (4 credits)
      Professor: Wayne Wakeland and Tim Anderson

The course focuses on modeling physical reality, using the ProModel discrete event simulation software to model manufacturing systems. Concepts include: a) overview of discrete system simulation and manufacturing simulation, b) data collection and prob. distributions, c) modeling material handling systems, d) job shop and production planning applications, and e) experimental design and output analysis. Relevant aspects of ProModel are also covered: locations, entities, processing logic, arrivals, path networks, resources, etc. For more information:

EAS 561: Reliability Engineering(4 credits)
      Professor: Ike Eisenhauer

Failure is a fact of engineering. No product or system can be assumed to work correctly 100% of the time. The engineering effort to even attempt to design such a system would be both time and cost prohibitive. In light of that, the reliability of systems can not be ignored and must be studied to ensure, at least, we grasp the reality we are dealing with. This course provides an in depth study of the engineering and management of the reliability space. Including describing and quantifying reliability, as well as examining the modeling, test design, trade off analysis required of engineers involved with products and systems that do not perform 100% correct at all times. Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of systems engineering and statistics and probability...Syllabus.

SYSE 575: Reducing Risk in Decision Making (4 credits)
      Professor: Ike Eisenhauer

This course will examine the concepts, techniques and tools for managing risk and making decision as key components of the systems engineering process. In this course, risk connotes a measure of the probability and severity of an undesired event. This course begins with an overview of the risk management (identifying, assessing, monitoring, and mitigating) and decision process. Differences between mission critical and non-mission critical programmatic risk will be emphasized. Other topics include the limits of expected value-based risk analysis, decision making strategies such a max/min, min/max and regrets. Formal methods in risk analysis, elementary decision analysis and decision trees, multi-objective decision making, pareto techniques, optimality, and trade-off analysis will be covered. Risk and decision techniques will be contrasted with the interfacing processes of program management and software engineering, from both the government (DOD) and industrial perspectives. For more details see Syllabus .

SYSE 595: Hardware-Software Integration (4 credits)
      Professor: John Blyler

Systems Engineering is applied to the integration of hardware-software systems, focusing on embedded computer products development and information technology systems. Factors that affect the selection of hardware and software solutions in design will be examined, as well as the use of trade studies to optimize the efficiency of integration issues. Techniques for partitioning of system-level functions and requirements to hardware/software components will be provided, as will practical guidance, through case studies, process templates and design check-lists. Prerequisite: Basic understanding of hardware and software development. For more details, see Syllabus and a presentation that John gave at Embedded Systems Conference.

SYSE 505: Reading and Conference (4 credits)
      Professor: Herman Migliore

This course is By-Arrangement: start by contacting the director, but any faculty advisor may participate. The student and advisor agree on topics of mutual interest and define learning objectives. The advisor guides the student on relevant reading materials. Depending on the topics, the student produces a report that includes some combination of reflection on the reading material, synthesis of topics, connectivity to other courses, developed and worked exercises, a mini-project. Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of systems engineering concepts.

Amount of Work and Deliverables:
In theory, a four credit graduate course involves about 16 hours of effort per week for 10 weeks, including time sitting in the lecture hall, thinking about assignments, and documenting them. Since SYSE 505 is online, project-based, with no lectures, we strive for an equivalent effort.  A final written report might be on order of 25-50 pages, depending on contents: originality, complexity, graphics (flow-charts, Concept Maps). With all project courses, I generally look at a preliminary document prompting questions on my part, which student answers and includes in final version. Final documentation is an iterative process that takes several weeks. Posting a grade of 'I' or 'IP' allows student to continue working on project following term, with instructor's approval. If project contains proprietary information, the instructor will assist the student in composing a public version of report, linked from e-portfolio.

SYSE 567: Systems Engineering Management (4 credits)
      Professor: John Blyler

This course covers the essentials of systems engineering management and its critical interconnection to program/project management. Systems engineering is the integration of several engineering fields into an efficient and effective process for the overall technical management of programs and development of systems and products. Students will gain detailed knowledge in management techniques applicable to activities within Systems Engineering, including trade-off studies, technical performance measurement, cost-effective process tailoring, technical reviews and audits, and others. Several case studies projects will be studied throughout the course to illustrate key concepts and management techniques. Syllabus See video at