On this page

Back to top

Top Schools Offering a Master’s in Systems Engineering Online

If you love solving complex problems with logical, creative, and effective solutions, an online systems engineering masters could be the perfect degree for you.

Find your school in just 60 seconds

Find Your School in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Take our quiz
  2. Match with schools
  3. Connect with favorites
Two professionals in hard hats and industrial uniforms examining a high-tech transparent digital interface in a modern, well-lit factory setting. They appear to be analyzing data or schematics displayed in a holographic format amidst advanced machinery.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architectural and engineering managers earn an average salary of $165,370 per year. Other high-paying engineering careers — including computer systems analysts, automotive engineers, and mechanical engineers — are expected to grow by 10% by 2032. That’s more than twice the national average!

Apart from being engineering-adjacent, one thing these careers have in common is that by earning your system engineering master’s online, you’ll gain the education and skills to qualify for top-paying positions in these fields. On top of this, you’re likely to land a job with significantly higher pay than the national average.

An online systems engineering masters can put you ahead of the pack when it comes to landing leadership or highly competitive positions. Keep reading to learn more about the best schools for getting your system engineering master’s online, how to apply, and what the job market looks like for future graduates.

Spotlighting Three Systems Engineering Master’s Programs

With so many great options for getting your system engineering master’s online, you might have difficulty choosing one. We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find profiles of three top schools offering online systems engineering master’s programs. Each one has the flexibility, affordability, and accreditation you need to earn a quality degree in the field. Read on for details on what you can expect from the best online systems engineering master’s programs.

The University of Texas El Paso

The University of Texas El Paso (UTEP)offers an outstanding online systems engineering master’s program. This 30-credit program is offered entirely online, making it an ideal choice for engineers with a bachelor’s degree or other STEM professionals looking to expand their managerial skills.

Students learn the basics of modeling, creation, and systems analysis, as well as management techniques and strategies. By graduation, students know how to handle an engineering project from start to finish.

Tuition is just $782 per credit regardless of students’ residential status, making this program an affordable option, no matter where you live. UTEP systems engineering master’s online students also have the option to earn the Associate/Certified Systems Engineering Professional certification during their time in the program.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Varies
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Cost: $782/credit

Florida State University

Logo of Florida State University featuring a circular maroon and white emblem with three torches, surrounded by text "Florida State University 1851.

Florida State University (FSU) and Florida A&M University have partnered to provide an affordable and convenient online systems engineering master’s. This 30-credit, no-thesis program was designed to be flexible for both full-time students and working professionals. Full-time students earn a master’s in as little as one year, while those who follow a part-time pace can graduate in as little as two years. FSU doesn’t require applicants to submit GRE scores.

Thanks to a tuition discount, nonresidents pay a greatly reduced tuition rate for the program. Students graduate ready to design and manage complex engineering systems.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: One to two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Cost: $475/credit (resident) | $701/credit (nonresident)

Arizona State University

At Arizona State University, students in the Master of Engineering-Systems Engineering Emphasis program learn to understand the scope of systems, plan projects, identify problems, and craft creative solutions. This fully online program is ideal for those with a current career in engineering, consulting, operations, manufacturing, or transportation.

Students explore the development and enhancement of all kinds of engineered systems, from phone networks and supply chains to business software. Most classes are available in an accelerated, seven-and-a-half-week format. Students can choose a specialization from elective courses, including hardware, innovation and entrepreneurship, quality and reliability, software, or supply chains. They also take a combination of elective classes that qualify them for Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification.

Program Highlights

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Cost: $1,021/credit

What Classes Will I Take in an Online Systems Engineering Master’s Program?

While each school develops a unique curriculum plan for its online systems engineering master’s program, they share some things in common. Most programs provide students with a strong understanding of the principles of systems engineering, project management skills, and systems design before introducing additional classes to build on that foundation. Below, we’ve listed three common classes in online systems engineering master’s programs.

Fundamentals of Systems Engineering

This class focuses on the key concepts, processes, and activities that systems engineers perform in their jobs. Students learn about modern systems engineering principles and development methodologies. After covering the fundamentals of designing and engineering large and complex projects, they go in-depth on architectural analysis and design, functional design alternatives, and architectural attributes of software tools. Often, these classes include hands-on opportunities to gain experience in the field.

Project Management

Students should expect instruction in project management skills to be a cornerstone in any system engineering master’s online program. In this class, students learn the ins and outs of the life cycle processes for choosing and managing large-scale projects. They also learn the skills to plan, implement, and oversee projects to ensure successful completion. Usually, these courses cover topics such as project phases, breakdown of work structure, teamwork, human resource management, technological and economic feasibility, configuration management, budget control, and resource allocation.

System Design & Integration

This course covers the essential aspects of systems engineering. Students learn about the objectives, responsibilities, and activities that are crucial to the demonstration, validation, engineering, and manufacturing phases of system development programs. Students gain hands-on experience with various procedures and tools professionals use to carry out their jobs. Professors cover topics such as the correlation between system specifications and design, management plans for systems engineering, risk management strategies, system development models, integrating customer input, and design best practices.

What are Some Specializations in Systems Engineering?

If you already have an idea of the career you want, a specialization can help you tailor your degree to your ambitions. If you choose a specialization, you’ll take classes focused on building skills and advanced knowledge in a that area. This section contains three common specializations for online systems engineering degrees.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity programs teach students the skills they need to keep data secure. Students learn how to manage and protect computer systems, networks, and programs and how to secure data from attacks and breaches. They also ensure that no one gains unauthorized access or steals information. In this specialization, you’ll learn cutting-edge methods for keeping digital information safe and sound. The University of San Diego offers an online master’s in cybersecurity engineering.

Project Management

A project management degree teaches students everything they need to know to confidently manage engineering projects and lead initiatives. Courses cover accounting, operations, risk and quality management, and strategic planning. After graduating with this specialization, students are ready to apply for jobs as cost systems or engineering analysts, processing engineers, or project managers. Liberty University has an master’s in engineering with a focus on project management, and Oregon State offers project management as an online micro credential.

Software

A software degree equips students with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to design, implement, and manage software systems in various industries. Students learn to apply systems engineering principles to complex software development projects. Coursework focuses on software architecture, design, coding methodologies, and system integration techniques. Johns Hopkins University offers an online master’s in systems engineering with a specialization in software.

How Much Does an Online Systems Engineering Master’s Cost?

Getting an advanced degree is a significant financial commitment. Taking an honest look at the costs ahead of time, then making a plan for financial aid and payment, can help you overcome one of the biggest obstacles to education before you even take your first class. The table below compares tuition rates in three online systems engineering programs.

School Program No. of Credits Est. Tuition
Colorado State University Systems Engineering ME, MS

30

$34,560

Purdue University MS in Engineering- Systems Engineering

30

$34,170

George Washington University MS in Systems Engineering

36

$43,200

Tuition and Financial Aid for Systems Engineering Students

Choosing an affordable computer science program is a great tactic for managing your educational expenses. Of course, checking out scholarships and financial assistance for computer science students or engineering students can offset expenses even more. Graduate students might even be eligible for work-study programs, graduate assistantships, or tuition assistance from their employer.

What Can You do with a Systems Engineering Master’s?

Whether you dream of working in aerospace, tech, or the automotive industry, there’s a career waiting for you after you graduate with your online systems engineering master’s. Computer science careers focus on computing functions, while information technology careers are ideal for those who want to manage computer systems. System engineering master’s online programs offer a unique opportunity to blend a passion for technology with project management. As shown below, salaries in the field are generally high, and the field is expected to grow at above-average rates in the coming years.

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers are senior-level team members. They’re responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing various types of projects and activities in their respective industries. As part of the planning process, they might review project designs, consult with clients or stakeholders, make budgets, or present proposals. Once a project is in motion, they oversee the implementation and progress.

Architectural and Engineering Managers: Career Outlook

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$165,370 $233,590 4% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services; Manufacturing

Median Annual Pay
$165,370
90th Percentile
$233,590
Projected Growth (2022-32)
4%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Manufacturing

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace engineering professionals design, manufacture, and test aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. They might also lead research efforts to develop new technology or evaluate existing equipment and processes and offer insights for improving them. Systems engineering graduates qualify for jobs managing these projects, from setting project budgets and parameters to overseeing implementation. Aerospace engineers typically work with major aerospace manufacturing companies or for government agencies.

Aerospace Engineers: Career Outlook

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$130,720 $188,910 6% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$130,720
90th Percentile
$188,910
Projected Growth (2022-32)
6%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts excel at problem-solving. They break down the steps involved in a project, identify challenges, and suggest and implement effective solutions. This is an ideal career for systems engineers who have a particular interest in software or technology because it will help them blend their skills with technology know-how. Computer systems analysts often work directly with computer systems to improve function and troubleshoot problems related to production, inventory, and cost.

Computer Systems Analysts: Career Outlook

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$103,800 $165,700 10% Professional, Scientific, and
Technical Services; Finance
and Insurance

Median Annual Pay
$103,800
90th Percentile
$165,700
Projected Growth (2022-32)
10%
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Finance and Insurance

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Automotive Engineers

Automotive engineers primarily work to improve the performance of cars. They may work on large-scale aspects of the production process, such as manufacturing, or focus on a particular area of research and development. For example, one automotive engineer might work to improve a car’s suspension, while another might work on ideal aerodynamics for the body. Automotive engineers also explore possible new fuels.

Automotive Engineers: Career Outlook

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$99,510 $157,470 10% Manufacturing; Professional, Scientific,
and Technical Services

Median Annual Pay
$99,510
90th Percentile
$157,470
Projected Growth (2022-32)
10%
Top Industry
Manufacturing; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineering is a broad field, covering technologies and machines ranging from generators to medical devices to air conditioning systems. As such, students can expect to work in various industries. They research, design, develop, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, such as tools, engines, and machines. They also evaluate all kinds of issues to see how these machines could help solve problems. Systems engineering graduates might also oversee the manufacturing process or research projects.

Mechanical Engineers: Career Outlook

Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile Projected Growth
(2022-32)
Top Industry
$99,510 $151,260 10% Manufacturing

Median Annual Pay
$99,510
90th Percentile
$151,260
Projected Growth (2022-32)
10%
Top Industry
Manufacturing

Source: O*Net OnLine, 2023

Systems Engineering Degree FAQs

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in systems engineering?

Admission requirements vary by school, so it’s always important to check directly with a school to verify what you’ll need to apply. Many schools require a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited program. If you have a degree from another field, be prepared to take prerequisite courses in addition to the following requirements:

  • Proof of an ABET-accredited bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience.
  • Proof of completed coursework in advanced math, science, and engineering design.
  • Official transcripts from previous schools.
  • GRE scores.
  • Statement of purpose.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Current resume.
  • Completed application and required fees.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s degree in systems engineering?

That all depends on the program you choose and the school you attend. Most programs take anywhere from 18 months to three years to complete. A full-time workload means you’ll graduate in less time, while part-time coursework means you’ll spend more time in school. Additionally, if you choose to pursue a specialization, you may need to take more classes and earn more credits than a student earning a general system engineering master’s.

Is there a benefit to earning a master’s degree in systems engineering online instead of in person?

Yes, earning your master’s in systems engineering online has many advantages. Earning a degree online is generally less expensive than attending on-campus programs. You’ll have the opportunity to attend schools from anywhere in the country, rather than being limited to schools that are in your area. Plus, earning your degree online gives you a head start at working with remote teams, much like many systems engineering professionals.

Do I need to learn coding or computer programming to study systems engineering?

It depends on where you’d like to work. For example, someone who wants to become a systems engineer in the areas of cybersecurity or software may need to know coding languages to effectively manage projects. However, if you work in other industries, you won’t need to know computer programming. Systems engineers typically focus on solving problems and managing solutions that require technological know-how, but coding isn’t a must.

Will I be accepted into a systems engineering master’s program without a computer science or related undergrad?

That all depends on the program you’re interested in, so you’ll want to check directly with the school you’re considering. There are plenty of computer science programs for students who graduated with a bachelor’s in another discipline. However, if you’re one of these students, you might need to take some additional courses in math, science, or engineering before taking master’s-level courses in systems engineering.