Program Description

This masters degree program is ideal for engineers who strive to attain technical leadership positions in their organizations. Addressing a broad range of issues relevant to the design, implementation, analysis, and management of systems, this program prepares students for a professional career working with large complex systems of the future. Examples of systems include the national air transportation system, computer networks, autonomous vehicles, intelligent robots, the electric power grid, healthcare systems, and financial trading systems. The program balances an education in quantitative models and engineering tools with a proper understanding of the systems perspective.

What it costs

The total cost for this program is $813.25 per credit hour for VA state residents or $1,581.25 per credit hour for Non-VA residents. See the Cost tab below for a breakdown of tuition and fees. All of Mason’s tuition rates and fees can be found on our Student Accounts site.

Application Deadline

This program has an application deadline of March 15 for Fall and October 15 for Spring. The application deadline for non-degree students is August 15 for Fall and January 4 for Spring. For all application information and deadlines, see the Admissions site.

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Program Summary

100 Percent Online

Program: Systems Engineering

Degree: MS

College/School: Volgenau School of Engineering

Credits: 30 total

Who should apply?

This program is designed for engineers striving to attain technical leadership positions in their organizations. It is also ideal for those preparing for a professional career in the design, development, and management of the large complex systems of the future.

Students can earn one of several graduate certificates as part of your degree program to demonstrate an area of specialization to employers, including the fully online Architecture-Based Systems Integration graduate certificate.

Why choose George Mason?

  • Students will gain experience with quantitative models and engineering tools, holistic thinking abilities, and a proper understanding of the systems perspective.
  • Mason is located in the heart of the DC area, the region with the highest concentration of systems engineering professions in the US. Thus, faculty and students bring a wealth of practical experience that enhances the educational experience and helps all students prepare for a successful career.
  • Students in this program benefit from a matured corporate partnership program, developed by the Volgenau School of Engineering.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Mason’s School of Systems Engineering and Operations Research (SEOR) in the top graduate programs nationally.
  • You can complete all of your classes online, from wherever you need to be.

Program requirements may change; please refer to the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements.

Sufficient courses are offered to complete the entire degree online. Most courses are delivered synchronously or asynchronously and offerings vary by semester.

Requirements: 30 credits total

  • 15 credits core courses
  • 9 credits concentration courses
  • 3 credits free engineering elective course. Chosen by student with approval of advisor.
  • 3 credits capstone project course

Students will create a plan of study with their advisor upon acceptance to the program. Some courses have prerequisites.

Core Courses (15 credits)

  • SYST 505 Systems Engineering Principles | 3 credits
  • SYST 510 System Definition and Cost Modeling | 3 credits
  • SYST 520 System Design and Integration | 3 credits
  • SYST 530 System Management and Evaluation | 3 credits
  • SYST 611 System Methodology and Modeling | 3 credits

SYST 505 may be replaced by an approved elective for students who have work experience in systems engineering or who have been enrolled  in the undergraduate BSSE program at Mason. SYST 505, if taken, must be taken in the first semester of enrollment in the MSSE program. 

Concentration Courses (9 credits)

Students must complete three courses (9 credits) in one of the following concentration areas. Consult with your program advisor for additional course options.

Option 1: Architecture-Based Systems Integration (ABSI)

  • SYST 618 Model-based Systems Engineering | 3 credits
  • SYST 621 System Architecture Design | 3 credits

And one of the following:

  • SYST 573 Decision and Risk Analysis | 3 credits (if not already taken for credit)
  • ECE 528 Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering| 3 credits
  • OR 531 Analytics and Decision Analysis| 3 credits
  • OR 541 Operations Research: Deterministic Models| 3 credits
  • OR 542 Operations Research: Stochastic Models| 3 credits
  • OR 568 or SYST 568 Applied Predictive Analytics| 3 credits
  • SYST 563 Evidence-Based Systems Engineering| 3 credits
  • SYST 664 Bayesian Inference and Decision Theory| 3 credits

Option 2: Systems Engineering of Software-Intensive Systems (SESI)

  • SYST 542 Decision Support Systems Engineering | 3 credits
  • SYST 618 Model-based Systems Engineering | 3 credits

And one of the following:

  • SYST 618 Model-based Systems Engineering| 3 credits (if not already taken for credit)
  • SYST 514 Systems Thinking | 3 credits
  • SYST 630 Systems Engineering Management II | 3 credits

Option 3: Systems Management (SMG)

  • SYST 514 Systems Thinking | 3 credits
  • SYST 618 Model-based Systems Engineering | 3 credits
  • SYST 630 Systems Engineering Management II | 3 credits

Free Engineering Elective (3 credits)

  • Chosen by student with approval of advisor

Capstone Project (3 credits)

  • SYST 699 Masters Project | 3 credits

Additional Requirements

Students who do not test out upon entrance to the program may be required to take SYST 500 or other foundation courses.

Tuition (2021-2022)

Virginia Resident$663.00
Non-Virginia Resident$1,431.00
Mandatory Student fee$150.25
Total Cost per Credit for VA Residents $813.25
Total Cost per Credit for Non-VA Residents $1,581.25
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

Please Note: In addition to the tuition and fees described above, various course and lab fees may be assessed depending on the course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department.

Career Opportunities

Many of the leading information and technology based companies, as well as defense contractors, engineering consulting firms, aerospace developers, informatics and communication companies, and software developers need systems engineers (SEs). Some specific companies include:

  • The Aerospace Corporation
  • BAE Systems
  • Boeing
  • CACI
  • General Dynamics
  • Lockheed Martin
  • MITRE Corporation
  • Noblis
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Perspecta
  • Raytheon
  • SRA International

As a Mason student, you may contact Mason Career Services for more career information and counseling.

Program ContactSystems Engineering and Operations Research (SEOR)
Volgenau School of Engineering (VSE)
Phone: (703) 993-1670
Fax: (703) 993-1521
Program Website
School Website
Follow VSE on Twitter@VolgenauSchool
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All applicants should review Office of Graduate Admissions steps for How to Apply. For international applicants, see guidelines for International Graduate Requirements.


  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics, computer science, physical sciences, economics, or a related field from a US institution that is accredited by one of the organizations found here
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 in an undergraduate program and an acceptable GPA in any graduate courses
  • Complete coursework in multivariate calculus, differential equations, matrix algebra, applied probability and statistics, and a computer language
  • Students lacking these foundations may be required to take one or more foundation courses

Application Materials

  • Graduate application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Professional and educational goals statement
  • GRE scores (required for applicants without a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or higher)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact the SEOR Department at or 703-993-1670.