Degree Plan

In the executive format of the systems engineering and management master’s degree, you’ll enjoy the flexibility this degree option affords you as you go to school and still keep up with work and personal commitments. There is an entire staff at UT Dallas dedicated to guiding and advising you through the degree planning process. Speak to Program Director Dr. Rajiv Shah about applying and getting started on your executive master’s degree today.


A student lacking undergraduate prerequisites for graduate courses must complete prerequisites or receive approval from the graduate adviser and the course instructor. Specific admission requirements for the MS-SEM follow.

A student entering the MS-SEM program should meet the following guidelines:

  • A minimum of a BS in engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, economics or finance from an accredited program (specifically, programs that provide adequate fundamental skills in mathematics).
  • A minimum of three years of  work experience.
  • Submission of  three letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to judge the candidate’s probability of success in pursuing a program of study leading to the MS-SEM degree.
  • Submission of an essay outlining the candidate’s background, education and professional goals.

Degree Requirements

The MS-SEM program is designed to be flexible to accommodate different student backgrounds, allowing students to learn in areas in which they are deficient, while still guaranteeing core competency in systems engineering and systems management. This program has both a thesis and a non-thesis option. All part-time MS-SEM students will be assigned initially to the non-thesis option. Those wishing to elect the thesis option may do so by obtaining the approval of a faculty thesis supervisor.

The MS-SEM degree requires a total of 36 credit hours consisting of 12 courses in the non-thesis option or 10 courses plus six hours of thesis credit for the thesis option. All students must have an academic adviser and an approved degree plan. Courses taken without adviser approval will not count toward the 36 semester-hour requirement. Successful completion of the approved course of studies leads to the MS-SEM degree. Please also note that the University’s general degree requirements are discussed in the graduate catalog.

Non-Thesis Option

Completion of a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate-level lecture courses including the required core courses. With adviser approval, these may include some 5000 level courses. Students must average a GPA of 3.0 or better in both the core requisites as well as in the overall coursework (see below).

Thesis Option

An alternative to the 36 credit-hour requirement for the MS-SEM degree is the completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate-level lecture courses, with an average GPA of 3.0 or better in both the core requisites as well as in the overall coursework, (see below), six semester hours of a combination of master’s research (SYSM 6V70) and thesis (SYSM 6V90), submitted to the graduate school, and a formal public defense of the thesis.

Students enrolled in the thesis option should meet with individual faculty members to discuss research opportunities and to choose a research adviser during the first or second semester that the student is enrolled. After the second semester of study, course selection should be made in consultation with the research adviser.

Research and thesis hours cannot be counted in an MS-SEM degree plan unless a thesis is written and successfully defended. A supervising committee, which must be chosen in consultation with the student’s thesis adviser prior to enrolling for thesis credit, administers the defense. With adviser approval, the lecture courses may include some 5000 level courses. Full-time UT Dallas students who receive financial assistance are required to enroll in nine semester credit hours each semester.

Students are required to take four courses (a total of 12 credit hours) from a set of eight courses in the list below. Two of the courses must be from the Engineering Core section and two from the Management Core section. The four required courses contribute a total of 12 credit hours toward the MS degree.


These consist of an additional four courses (a total of 12 credit hours) from the set of eight core courses listed above and/or the set of courses listed below. Two of these courses must be chosen from the two Engineering sections (core and elective), and two from the two Management sections. Because a program objective is to maintain a high degree of flexibility, students are encouraged to work with a SEM program advisor to discuss possible (limited) exceptions and substitutions for the prescribed courses

SEM Core Curriculum

Section and Course Course Title Credits
Engineering 1 (Core)
SYSM 6301 Systems Engineering, Architecture and Design 3
SYSM 6302 Dynamics of Complex Networks and Systems 3
SYSM 6303 Quantitative Introduction to Risk and Uncertainty in Business 3
SYSM 6305 Optimization Theory and Practice 3
Management 1 (Core)
SYSM 6311 Systems Project Management 3
SYSM 6312 Systems Financial Management 3
SYSM 6318 Marketing Management and Marketing Systems Analysis 3
SYSM 6333 Systems Organizational Behavior 3
Engineering 2 (Prescribed Elective)
SYSM 6304 Risk and Decision Analysis 3
SYSM 6306 Engineering Systems: Modeling and Simulation 3
SYSM 6307 Linear Systems 3
SYSM 6308 Software Maintenance, Evolution and Re-Engineering 3
SYSM 6309 Advanced Requirements Engineering 3
SYSM 6310 Software Testing, Validation and Verification 3
SYSM 6321 Financial Engineering I 3
SYSM 7321 Financial Engineering II 3
Management 2 (Prescribed Elective)
SYSM 6313 Systems Negotiating and Dispute Resolution 3
SYSM 6314 Manufacturing and Service Systems Planning and Analysis 3
SYSM 6315 The Entrepreneurial Experience 3
SYSM 6316 Innovation Within the Corporation 3
SYSM 6317 The Management of High-Technology Products 3
SYSM 6319 Business Economics 3
SYSM 6320 Strategic Leadership 3
SYSM 6332 Technology and New Product Development 3

Free Elective Courses

For the free elective, students will be able to take, with prior approval from the program director, any four additional and distinct courses of the remaining 12 core courses that have not already been taken as required courses or prescribed elective courses. Students will also be able to take additional free elective courses that are already being offered in management or in engineering that will allow “concentration” or “specialization” in specific industry sectors, including the following:

  • Healthcare Services
  • Energy, Resources and Infrastructure
  • Complex Brain, Biological and Behavioral
  • Aerospace, Defense and Space
  • Telecom and IT Networks
  • Information Assurance and Cyber-Security
  • Arts and Technology and Web Media
  • Transportation
  • Macro-economic and Finance
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Enterprise Systems
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Students must take a minimum of five core and prescribed elective courses before taking any free elective courses.


The program is designed to be a master’s-level cross-disciplinary program to teach engineering and management of all aspects of large and complex systems. The typical SEM student is a high performer with at least a BS degree in engineering, math, physics, chemistry, economics or finance (in order to ensure adequate math skills).


Our industry partners tell us there is a large and growing unmet need for formalized engineering and management education in increasingly complex macro systems that have a large number of interdependent parts and a significant organizational and/or societal impact. This need exists at the intersection of engineering and management.

Business now requires that the engineers be trained to be good managers and leaders, and to be good stewards of corporate or government resources. Conversely, business majors need a better appreciation and understanding of technology and how to manage large and complex engineering projects. They are all expected to be cognizant of the broader impact of their management and engineering activities on their future employers and on society at large.

The objective of the UT Dallas MS in SEM program is to produce graduates capable of undertaking challenging projects encompassing wide-ranging scientific, engineering and management disciplines. In other words, the objective of the program will develop an “integrated systems engineering and systems management” skill set among the students who go through this program.

The curriculum will provide students’ knowledge and skills to engineer and manage complex projects that encompass wide-ranging scientific and management disciplines.