Systems Engineering and Management Systems Engineering and Management

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science & Naveen Jindal School of Management


As a busy professional you may have wondered how you would ever get the time to pursue a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering and Management. What sacrifices would you have to make in your work or personal life to gain this credential? Thankfully The University of Texas at Dallas has created a Systems Engineering and Management Master’s degree that will allow you to keep your present job and personal obligations while you pursue your education. It’s called the Professional Master’s Degree Program. Find out more about it in the FAQs below.

What is the study of MS in Systems Engineering and Management (SEM) about?

The MS SEM program provides a broad-based, formalized education in engineering and management of increasingly complex “macro” systems with a large number of interdependent parts that have a significant organizational or societal impact. These areas are at the intersection of the traditionally separate disciplines of systems engineering and systems management. The current business environment requires that engineers in industry and government be trained to be good managers and leaders, and to be good stewards of corporate or government resources. Conversely, managers in industry need a better appreciation and understanding of technology and how to manage large and complex engineering projects. They are all also expected to be cognizant of the broader impact of their management and engineering activities on their companies and the society at large. The MS SEM program provides this training.

What are the admissions requirements, and how do I apply for the MS SEM program?
For admissions requirements and the application process for the MS SEM program please visit the Apply page.

What undergraduate degree do I need to have to apply to the MS SEM program?
If you have an undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, chemistry, math, economics or finance, you probably have an adquate background in math to enter the program. If your undergraduate degree is in another field, you may need to strengthen your math skills.

Where can I find more details on the tracks and courses?

Please see:

How long does it usually take to complete the MS SEM program?

The MS SEM is a 36-credit-hour program, excluding prerequisites. It usually takes three semesters to complete the program at 12 hours per semester. (Most students who work take two courses per semester and finish in six semesters.) Rarely, a student carrying heavy loads can complete the program in one calendar year if desired courses are available in the summer. Some international students take nine hours in the fall and spring, go home for the summer, and return for nine hours in the fall and nine hours in the spring. Other students enroll on a part-time basis and take longer to complete the program.

Do I need to have work experience to apply to the MS SEM program?

The MS SEM is an academic degree. However, in the Professional Education-based MS SEM program, a minimum of three to five years of relevant work experience is preferred.

I am from a foreign country. Can I be accepted into the MS SEM program?

Yes, as an international student, you may be accepted into the program, and we have many international students from many countries. Our faculty is very international also. However, international students must also have three to five years of work experience, must have student visas, are required to carry a minimum course load of nine credit hours in the fall and in the spring semesters, and must follow international student guidelines, as outlined by UT Dallas International Student Services.

What quantitative skills are required?

Students are expected to have taken calculus, statistics and linear algebra. Many MS SEM engineering courses are quantitatively oriented, and students with less aptitude and education in quantitative methods are at a disadvantage.

Is financial aid available?

Students can find more information at Financial Aid for the SEM Program.

Are there any areas of concentration in the MS SEM program?

Students can concentrate in any of the 10 areas indicated on the SEM Concentrations page.

What is the purpose of having a concentration?

Concentrations are designed to provide the optimal set of courses to prepare for specific careers in SEM, in specific industries or industry sectors.

Do I have to declare a concentration to receive my degree?

No. You must complete a minimum of 12 courses (36 credit hours) to earn an MS SEM degree. All can be core courses, or you can take a minimum of four courses (12 credit hours) in a concentration while still satisfying your core-course requirements. Your concentration will not appear on your diploma.

What are the course requirements for each concentration?

Typical courses appropriate for each concentration are listed at SEM Concentrations. You can discuss alternatives with your adviser.

What kind of careers can I look forward to, and what employers hire MS SEM graduates?

There are many career paths in SEM. See Career Path in SEM for examples.

Are there any online classes for the MS SEM degree?

Not at this time, but we will be looking into that in the future.

I am a transfer student. Can I transfer some of my graduate courses from my previous university?

Transfer credits may be granted for equivalent graduate course work completed at other accredited universities with a grade of B or better within the past six years. Up to 9 credit hours of course work from other universities may be transferred to the degree program, but they must fit into the MS SEM program, and must be approved first by the Advising Office, then by the relevant faculty member for the course for which equivalence is being sought, and then by the director of the MS SEM program. Applications are available in the Advising Office.

Can I receive transfer credit for undergraduate courses that cover the same material as your graduate courses?

No. The 36-hour requirement will not be reduced based on undergraduate coursework. However, you may apply for a waiver of one or more of the core courses.

What is a waiver?

A waiver allows the student to skip a core course and enroll in a more advanced course in its place. Waivers of up to three courses may be granted in recognition of previous coursework completed with a grade of B or better within the past six years. Applications are available in the Advising Office, and they must be approved by the director of the MS SEM program. Waivers are usually discouraged because graduate courses are typically deeper and broader in coverage than their undergraduate counterparts. Further, expectations are higher and competition is much stronger. Typically, the student is expected to have completed two undergraduate courses with similar content to receive a waiver of a graduate course.

Can courses be taken at other institutions after enrolling in the UT Dallas SEM graduate program?

Students officially admitted to the UT Dallas – SEM graduate program must obtain prior approval before taking any courses at another university. The resultant transfer hours may be denied if prior approval is not obtained. See the Advising Office for details on applying for pre-approvals.

Can I get credit for an internship?

There is no formal internship within the MS SEM program. However, the Career Center can help SEM students craft an internship for credit.

Are joint degrees available?

Yes. Students can enroll in the MS SEM and MBA programs concurrently and can complete the dual MS SEM/MBA program with as few as 63 credit hours. Find more information at Joint MS/MBA. Careful planning is required, and we recommend you first consult your MS SEM adviser.

What are the faculty’s credentials?

Most faculty members have doctorates from top-tier graduate schools and have published research in leading academic and practitioner journals. Several faculty members also have had extensive work experience in industry and consulting.

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