Systems Engineering

Admissions | Program Requirements | Graduate Courses

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Certificate and Master of Science

The Systems Engineering Department of the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology offers a Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering. Both offerings allow students to specialize in systems engineering topics such as: Systems Engineering Design, Requirements and Functional Analysis, Systems Architecture Development, Design for Operational Feasibility, System Integration, Decision and Risk Analysis, Engineering Project Management, System Lifecycle Cost Analysis, and Organization for Systems Engineering.

The graduate crtificate in Systems Engineering program can help students bring together knowledge from traditional engineering fields, creating the “big picture” for accomplishing goals and and managing complex structures such as: Computer Networks, Wireless Networks, Power Plants, Airplanes and Spacecraft Systems, Manufacturing Systems, Transportation Systems, and Healthcare Delivery Systems.

Building upon the theme of the Graduate Certificate, the Master of Science in Systems Engineering program provides unique opportunities for the traditional student as well as for the professional engineering community to broaden their knowledge base and acquire state-of-the-art technical skills. The program helps students to integrate multifaceted engineering projects, model complex engineering systems and optimize their performance, and conduct real-life case studies by carrying out electrical, computers, telecommunications, or mechanical engineering projects. The Master of Science in Systems Engineering program prepares engineers for professional practice in today’s complex technical environment, and also, offers cutting-edge knowledge base for innovation and advanced research. To support these goals, both thesis and non-thesis options are available in the program.

Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering

The Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering imparts fundamental knowledge, tools, and techniques that prepare industry professionals and students to work in systems engineering related jobs.

Admission Requirements

The minimum entrance requirement is a bachelor’s degree in engineering, science, technology, or a related discipline. Because of the professional nature of the certificate, the precise entrance requirements are determined on a case-by-case basis by the Systems Engineering Admissions Committee.

Program Requirements

The Graduate Certificate consists of 18 credit hours of course work (which amounts to about half of a typical master’s degree requirement). It is ideal for working professionals who wish to upgrade their knowledge and skills in the intricacies of systems engineering. Certificate holders who have finished the program may further pursue a master’s degree in Systems Engineering, building upon the 18 hours already taken in the certificate Program. For the certificate, students must take six, three-credit-hour courses, consisting of four Systems Engineering core courses and two electives.

Core Courses (12 hours)

The Systems Engineering (SYEN) core courses are intended to provide the fundamental methods relevant to the design, implementation, and management of engineering systems. They include:

    SYEN 7311 Systems Design and Analysis
    SYEN 7312 Systems Architecture and Design
    SYEN 7313 Systems Management and Evaluation
    SYEN 7314 Multicriteria Decision and Risk Analysis

These four courses address methods and practices involved in the translation of need, deficiency, or market opportunity into a feasible system or product architecture.

Electives (6 hours)

Due to the diversity of students’ educational and professional backgrounds, students are encouraged to choose two upper-level elective courses (5000-level or above) that are compatible with their specific interests. These two technical courses need to be approved in advance by the Graduate Coordinator, and can be chosen from university departments such as: Systems Engineering, Computer Science, Information Science, or other graduate science- or engineering-related programs. Sample Upper- and Graduate-Level Electives are listed below after the master’s program description.

Master of Science in Systems Engineering

The master’s program in Systems Engineering requires 31 credit hours of work that includes graduate course work with an option to carry out either a thesis or a graduate project.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the UA Little Rock Graduate School admission requirements, the applicants for the M.S. program in Systems Engineering must also meet the following criteria:

  • Education: Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, technology, science or related discipline. The applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or 3.3 on the last 60 credit hours.
  • Standardized test scores: Applicants must have a minimum score on the GRE test: a score of 140 on the Verbal Reasoning section, a score of 155 on the Quantitative Reasoning section, and a score of 3.5 in the Analytical Writing section. GRE will be waived if the student’s GPA is 3.5 or higher.
  • English language requirement: International students must satisfy the Graduate School TOEFL or IELTS tests requirements.

Applicants who do not meet all the admission requirements may be recommended for conditional admission. The conditionally admitted students must fulfill the requirements of the UA Little Rock Graduate School and those specified in their letter of admission.

Program Requirements

The Master of Science program in Systems Engineering consists of a minimum of 31 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, of which a maximum of six hours can be transferred from a graduate program from another university with the graduate coordinator’s approval. All credit hours earned in the Systems Engineering Graduate Certificate Program are transferable into the master’s program upon admission into the master’s program, provided the GPA from the certificate program is 3.25 or better.

In addition, the students are required to maintain acceptable academic performance; all master’s course work must be completed with a minimum GPA of 3.0. If a student receives one “C” in the course work, the student will be warned that his/her academic performance is unacceptable and that the student will be reviewed by the Systems Engineering faculty, which will suggest corrective action. A student receiving two “C’s” will be dismissed from the program, pending review by the Systems Engineering faculty.

Master of Science in Systems Engineering Curriculum

The student’s plan of study must be developed in conjunction with his/her thesis/project major advisor or Graduate Coordinator and filed with the Systems Engineering Graduate Coordinator.

Program Core

The program core provides students the strong systems engineering preparation needed for either a successful professional career in one of the emerging engineering fields, or for further enhancing their education in high-quality engineering doctoral programs.

Systems Engineering Required Core – 12 credit hours
    SYEN 7311 Systems Design and Analysis
    SYEN 7312 Systems Architecture and Design
    SYEN 7313 Systems Management and Evaluation
    SYEN 7314 Multicriteria Decision and Risk Analysis
Systems Engineering Seminar- 1 credit hour
    SYEN 7190 Systems Engineering Seminar (offered on a credit/no-credit basis).
Thesis Option- 6 credit hours
    SYEN 8100-8600 Systems Engineering Master’s Thesis
Non-Thesis Option- 3 credit hours
    SYEN 7385 Systems Engineering Graduate Project
Program Electives
Thesis Option – 12 credit hours
Non-Thesis Option- 15 credit hours

In consultation with the Graduate Coordinator or thesis/project major advisor, students may take their elective course credits from any of the following sample courses. The courses are listed by categories only for easy reference. Students should take at least two 7000-level elective courses.

Systems Analysis and Applications
    SYEN 5314 Queuing Theory and Systems
    SYEN 5322 Modeling Transportation Systems
    SYEN 5342 Linear Program and Network Flows
    SYEN 7315 Complex Engineered Systems
    SYEN 7316 Advanced Systems Simulation
    SYEN 7342 Networks and Combinatorial Optimization
Electrical and Computer Engineering
    SYEN 5308 Linux Systems Programming
    SYEN 5320 Linear State-Space Control Systems
    SYEN 5325 Fuzzy Logic in Control and Systems Engineering
    SYEN 5329 Robust and Optimal Control Systems
    SYEN 5331 Advanced Computer Architecture
    SYEN 5332 Applied Operating Systems
    SYEN 5334 Software Systems Engineering
    SYEN 5335 Mechatronics I
    SYEN 5362 Neural Networks and Adaptive Systems
    SYEN 5354 Power Systems Analysis
    SYEN 5366 Advanced Digital Systems
    SYEN 7302 Advanced Electronics for Instrumentation
    SYEN 7306 Real-Time Embedded Systems
    SYEN 7320 Linear Systems Theory
    SYEN 7331 Transducers in Real-Time Control
    SYEN 7332 Advanced Operating System Design
Telecommunications, Networking, and Signal Processing
    SYEN 5310 Introduction to Signal Processing
    SYEN 5336 Advances in Communication Networks
    SYEN 5350 Digital Signal Processing
    SYEN 5352 Spatial Time Series
    SYEN 5353 Advanced Digital Communications
    SYEN 5355 Mobile Multimedia Internet
    SYEN 5356 RF Techniques and Systems
    SYEN 5358 Cellular and Wireless Communications
    SYEN 5359 Optical Networking
    SYEN 7355 Statistical Signal Processing
    SYEN 7357 Advanced Antennas for Wireless Systems
Mechanical Engineering
    SYEN 5182 MEMS and Microsystems Laboratory
    SYEN 5282 Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and Microsystems
    SYEN 5315 Advanced Dynamics I
    SYEN 5326 Measurement Techniques
    SYEN 5327 Acoustics I
    SYEN 5335 Mechatronics I
    SYEN 5340 Applied Numerical Methods
    SYEN 5371 Advanced Continuum Mechanics
    SYEN 5372 Mechatronics II
    SYEN 5375 Mechanical Vibrations
    SYEN 5381 Thermal and Fluid Systems
    SYEN 5383 Finite Element Analysis
    SYEN 5384 Computer Methods in Fluid and Heat Transfer
    SYEN 7307 Smart Materials
    SYEN 7317 Nanostructural Materials: Physical and Chemical Properties
    SYEN 7318 Micro- and Nano-Fabrication
    SYEN 7374 Elasticity
    SYEN 7376 Fracture Mechanics
    SYEN 5300, 7300 Independent Study
    SYEN 5389 Professional Engineering Licensure
    SYEN 5399 Special Topics* in Systems Engineering
    SYEN 7101 Research Methodology
    SYEN 7102 Research Tools
    SYEN 7103 Research Applications
    SYEN 7118 Research Ethics in Science and Engineering
    SYEN 7385 Systems Engineering Graduate Project
    SYEN 7399 Special Topics* in Systems Engineering
    SYEN 8100‐8600 Systems Engineering Master’s Thesis

* Based on demand, special topics under SYEN 5399 and SYEN 7399 may include:

    Optimization of Communication Networks
    Design and Analysis of Advanced Manufacturing Systems
    Economic Evaluation of Engineering Projects
    Renewable Energy Smart Grid
    Essentials of Coding Theory
    Human Movement Biomechanics and Motor Control

Master’s Thesis/Project Advisor

A student admitted to the master’s program should declare an advisor before he/she enrolls in master’s thesis or graduate project courses.

Master’s Thesis/Project Committee

The Master’s Thesis Committee or Master’s Project Committee can be constituted once the student has declared his/her Master’s Thesis/Project Advisor. The committee will include a minimum of three members and a maximum of four members. At least two members have to be Systems Engineering faculty.

Thesis/Project Proposal Defense

Students choosing the thesis option must present their research proposal to their Master’s Thesis Committee one semester prior to their final thesis defense. Students choosing the non-thesis option must present their project proposal to their Master’s Project Committee before their final project defense. At the completion of tile examination, the Master’s Thesis or Project Committee will vote to either pass or fail the student. Students who fail the proposal defense will have to repeat the defense. If the student fails the proposal defense for a second time, he/she will be dismissed from the program, pending review by the Systems Engineering Faculty.

Thesis/Project Defense

Students choosing the thesis option will prepare and successfully define a written thesis in accordance with the format and procedures dictated by the Graduate School. Students choosing the non-thesis option will prepare a final project report according to the requirements defined by their Master’s Project Committee. Students must orally defend their completed thesis research or project work to their Master’s Thesis or Project Committee. At the completion of the examination, the Master’s Thesis or Project Committee will vote to either pass or fail the student. If two or more negative votes are cast by the committee members, the student is considered to have failed the exam and will be dismissed from the program, pending review by the Systems Engineering Faculty.

Degree Requirements

  • Pass thesis proposal defense / project proposal defense.
  • Pass thesis final defense / project final defense.

Courses in Systems Engineering

You may find SYEN course descriptions on the graduate courses page.