What is Systems Engineering?

Systems engineering enables building, analyzing and managing a system—be it electrical, mechanical, chemical, biological or one involving business processes and logistics. Traditionally, engineering disciplines are defined through physical attributes: electrical engineers work with circuits and transistors, aeronautical engineers with airplanes and rockets. Systems engineering transcends the physical nature of what is designed or managed—if “it” consists of multiple interacting components performing a function that cannot be achieved by any one component alone, then “it” is a system, and systems engineers can work to understand and improve it.

What Do Our Graduates Do?

Our graduates pursue careers in a variety of industries and academic disciplines, where they are highly valued for their flexibility and versatility.

What our graduates are doing:

  • Developing computer simulation packages for software providers
  • Building and evaluating models for communication, computer and sensor networks
  • Developing effective air traffic management systems
  • Analyzing the feasibility of relying on teams of autonomous vehicles for military and civilian applications
  • Developing, enhancing and maintaining quantitative stock selection models that are used to pick high-performing stocks for clients
  • Developing and supporting software that optimizes a company’s global supply chain operations and provides multiple-year production plans based on various supply, demand and capacity scenarios
  • Inventing new scheduling and production control algorithms for manufacturing enterprises
  • Developing a pairing optimizer and crew controller, to provide crew pairing and rostering for more than 30 airline companies all over the world
  • Designing innovative algorithms and software to direct user traffic across the internet, optimizing the end-user experience

Why Study At BU?

The BU College of Engineering has made a major commitment to systems engineering as a discipline. The Division of Systems Engineering has 14 faculty members and 16 additional research affiliates from across the University. The division is closely tied to the Center for Information & Systems Engineering, an interdisciplinary research center that brings together researchers with expertise in engineering, computer science, mathematics and management. The center’s strong industry connections provide opportunities for internships, exposure to “real-world” systems engineering problems and eventual employment opportunities.

Research interests in the Division are:

BU offers research-based Master of Science  and Doctor of Philosophy  programs in Systems Engineering, as well as a professional Master of Engineering degree. Systems Engineering is also available to undergraduates as a minor.