MSSEM (522)

Master of Science in Systems Engineering Management (MSSEM) Program (522) 

The Systems Engineering Management program is an interdisciplinary program combining systems engineering with acquisition management knowledge and skills. The program is intended to broaden the technical capabilities of officers who may have non-technical backgrounds so they are able to manage and lead acquisition programs for the complex combat systems the DOD needs. Students in this program learn the systems engineering process from establishing system requirements through test and evaluation. Simultaneously students learn how to manage, schedule, and budget programs, as well as work with DOD suppliers through contracts to meet program obligations.

The MSSEM degree is not ABET EAC accredited.

Admission Requirements

A baccalaureate degree with above-average grades is required - the degree does not have to be an engineering degree.  Completion of at least two semesters of college algebra or trigonometry is considered the minimum mathematical preparation. For naval officers, an APC of 345 is required for entry. International students should refer to the Admissions section for current TOEFL and entrance requirements.

International students should refer to the Admissions section for current TOEFL and entrance requirements.

Program Educational Objectives

The overall educational objective of the Systems Engineering Department is to support the NPS mission by producing graduates who have, at an advanced level, knowledge and technical competence in systems engineering and an application domain; and who can use that knowledge and competence to support national security. Specific program educational objectives (i.e., skills and abilities that graduates can bring to their position after having graduated from NPS and having received 3-5 more years of on-the-job training and professional development) are:

  • Technical Leadership: Graduates will be known and respected for applying their engineering management knowledge in leadership roles along diverse career paths in government service.

  • Program Management: Graduates will be known and respected for their research, design, development, procurement, integration, maintenance, and life-cycle management of systems for defense and national security.

  • Operational Utilization: Graduates will be known and respected for their application of systems engineering management in diverse military settings and understand its capabilities and limitations.

Student Outcomes

To achieve the program educational objectives for the Master of Science in Systems Engineering Management (MSSEM) program, graduates must complete at least one year of study, or at least 48 quarter credit hours, beyond a baccalaureate level program, achieve a mastery of systems engineering management, and complete a thesis or capstone project report, where each student attains outcomes demonstrating competency in:

  1. The engineering relationships between the management tasks of planning, organization, leadership, and control, as well as the human element of managing engineering professionals in production, research, and service organizations.
  2. The stochastic nature of management systems.
  3. Systems engineering management to include an understanding of the systems engineering process, and the ability to contribute to the definition of system requirements, evaluation of system architecture, verification and validation activities, system integration, and system design.
  4. Deriving and defining system requirements and specifications. This includes performing system assessment, evaluating system design alternatives, estimating and analyzing the system cost, schedule, and performance risk, and analyzing and planning for system verification and validation.
  5. The planning and management of complex projects and the principles and current approaches to manage systems design, integration, verification and validation in a holistic manner across the system lifecycle.
  6. Communication: Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

Requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Systems Engineering Management:

  • An accredited Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Completion of an approved curriculum that includes:
    1. A minimum of 36 quarter credit hours of 3000 and 4000 level courses, 16 of which must be at the 4000 level.
    2. A series of courses in systems engineering defined by each curriculum and completion of a capstone project course sequence and capstone project report or thesis by exception.

Entry Dates:  January and July

Program Length: Six Quarters

Systems Engineering Management (522)


Academic Associate

Joel Hagan, Professor of Practice

Spanagel Hall, Room 141A

(831) 656-3886, DSN 756-3886


Program Officer

CDR Caleb MacDonald

Watkins Hall, Room 107

(831) 656-2033, DSN 756-2033


Curriculum Sponsors

Director, Acquisition Career Management, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology): ASA/ALT (DACM)