Department of Systems Engineering & Management

Department of Systems Engineering & Management
Program Details

Graduate Systems Engineering (GSE) Program
Current as of: 09/17/2014

Degree Type: MS

The Graduate Systems Engineering (GSE) program can be taken in residence or via distance Learning. In residence, it is an 18 month program.

Via Distance Learning, it is generally a 24-36 month program.

Our Department also offers an IDE program for Systems Engineering (ISE). The IDE program is for those students who are matriculating into a Master's degree program at AFIT as a result of being selected by a board to obtain their Intermediate Developmental Education (IDE). This is a non-thesis, academic program which is normally 12-months in length. Our master's degree programs in Systems Engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (

Enrollment and graduation data for ABET-accredited Systems Engineering master's degree program are located on AFIT's Institutional Data <> webpage.

GSE Program Description:

The Graduate Systems Engineering (GSE) program is an ABET accredited program leading to a Master of Science (MS) degree in Systems Engineering. This program is provided to both resident students and part-time students via distance-learning (DL) modality. In residence, it is nominally a six quarter (18 month) program, with students normally entering in September and graduating in March. For distance learning, it is nominally a 24 month to 36 month program, depending on class availability and part-time course load. For more information about distance learning or about this specific program, and to apply, go to AFIT’s Extension Services website.

GSE Program Educational Objectives (PEOs): Program_Guide.pdf


The SE program takes students with traditional engineering backgrounds (mechanical, electrical, aerospace, etc.) and produces graduates who can effectively use the tools and techniques of both systems science and traditional engineering disciplines to approach and analyze complex problems, design feasible solutions, and select an appropriate solution. It is expected that graduates possessing these skills will go on to make substantive contributions to capability development within the DoD. Specific Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) are:

1. Graduates will rise to positions of technical and/or programmatic leadership within capability planning, system acquisition and/or sustainment organizations. Examples of leadership positions include Technical Director, Division Chief, Chief Engineer, and System Program Manager/Director.

2. Graduates will employ SE methods and tools across the DoD acquisition life cycle. Examples of SE methods and tools include decision analysis, trade studies, risk management, requirements management, architecture definition/evaluation and capability assessment.

GSE Student Outcomes (SOs):

2. AFIT SE graduates will demonstrate application of the SE process and methods on contemporary problems of interest to the DoD.

3. AFIT SE graduates will be proficient with many of the tools for implementing the SE process, including development of system architectures, tradeoff and decision analysis, risk management and test planning.

4. SE graduates will be able to identify deficiencies and/or gaps in the current SE body of knowledge, and will be capable of proposing new approaches to bridge these gaps.

5. SE graduates will demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate technically complex ideas and concepts in both spoken and written formats.

6. SE graduates will develop a detailed understanding in at least one technical specialty area such as airborne systems, space systems, human systems, and cyber-warfare, among others.



The Systems Engineering program provides a substantial technical foundation in systems architecture, analysis and design as well as opportunity for specialization within a traditional engineering discipline. The program culminates with an individual thesis or group design project typical of a defense system project. In the design study, the student will apply their individual technical expertise, exercise their system design skills, and experience the group dynamics of a team design effort while solving a realistic defense system problem. Finally, the program provides the necessary education to qualify full-time quota students for the academic degree code assigned to them on entry into the program. Student Outcomes (SOs) are those competencies that students are expected to achieve by the completion of the program.

1. AFIT SE graduates will demonstrate thorough understanding of the SE process from mission area analysis through requirements definition to system development, sustainment, and retirement.