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Graduate Certificate in Mission Engineering

mission engineering text

Description of Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Mission Engineering is designed to teach students engineering methods to design, develop, and assess complex system-of-systems using mission engineering tools and practices in combination with the tactical insights of operational planning. Students will learn how to identify mission-level operational needs to develop clear problem statements and apply mission engineering techniques to translate these needs into specific programmatic guidance for critical programs. The program covers topics related to mission execution (including mission safety, security, integration, and interoperability) and mission development (including cost estimating, mission fragmentation risk analysis, mission thread development, and mission experimentation, modeling, and simulation). Graduates will be prepared to analyze complex problems, evaluate alternative mission concepts, and design and plan mission solutions.

Target Audience

The certificate will have two target audiences: 1) graduate students currently enrolled in a graduate degree program related to systems engineering (e.g., aerospace engineering, ocean engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, etc.), and 2) current systems and mission engineering professionals in organizations. These organizations are focused on technological advances to field new capabilities by developing future investments in science and technology based on the identification of actual gaps in complex system-of-systems across multiple industrial sectors to include Defense, Transportation, Health Care, Education, Space Exploration, and Homeland Security.

Time to Complete

Full-time and part-time students may enroll in the certificate program. Degree-seeking students may take courses in conjunction with their regular course load. Students attending full-time can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year (two semesters) and a maximum of three academic years (six semesters). Degree-seeking students attending part-time can complete the certificate in approximately two academic years (four semesters) and a maximum of four academic years (eight semesters).

Non-degree seeking, full-time students can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year (two semesters). Non-degree seeking, part-time students, taking one course per semester, can complete the certificate in two academic years (four semesters).

Admission

All students will be required to apply to the certificate program. The admission requirements will be based on enrollment status at the institution.

Degree-seeking students will:

  • Submit a Graduate Certificate Application
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in any engineering discipline from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better

Non-degree seeking students will:

  • Submit a Graduate School Application for Admission and pay the fee
  • Submit a Graduate Certificate Application and pay the fee
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in any engineering discipline from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Submit official undergraduate transcripts demonstrating bachelor’s degree conferral
  • Submit a statement describing their experience in systems engineering and/or mission engineering roles

Students who have not earned a degree in the United States must submit:

  • Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum score of 90 on the internet- based test (iBT) (and scores of 20 or greater in Listening, Writing, Speaking, and Reading subsections) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5.

Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum requires coursework to develop students’ knowledge of mission design and development (e.g., mission thread analysis, platform development) and mission planning and management (e.g., distributed governance, capability allocation). Students will learn about designing, developing, and managing engineering missions. Students will gain an understanding of how managerial and governance independence in systems-of-systems demand the application of mission engineering methods to guarantee sustainment of mission capabilities. Students will learn how to use mission engineering methods to identify and capture heterogeneous operational needs, select, and analyze mission threads, and plan the deployment and governance of mission components within a systems-of-systems context.

The curriculum is flexible and is composed of one core (mandatory) course, ISE 5854 Mission Engineering I, and three elective courses (to be selected from the list of eligible courses provided below):

Courses:

ISE 5434 Economic Project Evaluation (3 credits)

ISE 5804 Fundamentals of Systems Engineering (3 Credits)

ISE 5814 System Dynamics Modeling of Socio-Technical Systems (3 credits)

ISE 5834 Decision Analysis for Engineers (3 credits)

ISE 5854 Mission Engineering I (3 credits)

ISE 5874 Digital Engineering (3 credits)

ISE 5884 Systems Architecture (3 credits)

Table 1 summarizes the new structure of the program, along with the offered semesters:

Table 1- The MECP Curriculum

Offered Semester

Fall

Spring

Courses

ISE 5854 Mission Engineering I *

ISE 5834 Decision Analysis for Engineers

ISE 5434 Economic Project Evaluation

ISE 5814 System Dynamics modeling of Socio-technical Systems

ISE 5804 Fundamentals of Systems Engineering

ISE 5874 Digital Engineering

ISE 5884 Systems Architecture

* Indicates the core (mandatory) course, and the rest are electives.

 

Course Descriptions:

ISE 5434 Economic Project Evaluation (3 credits)

Application of economic principles and capital budgeting in the management of engineering projects, including investment in new facilities and technologies for improving production and/or service processes. Deterministic, stochastic, and multi-attribute evaluation approaches in conjunction with the objectives of wealth and utility maximization, as well as cost minimization and risk reduction. Methodologies for the economic evaluation of project alternatives, such as capital budgeting, cost estimating, life cycle costing, and activity-based costing. Defining and implementing an economic analysis framework to provide the capability to make investment decisions within enterprises. Pre: Graduate standing. (3H, 3C)

ISE 5804 Fundamentals of Systems Engineering (3 Credits)

Fundamental aspects of systems engineering. The role of systems engineering in projects. System life cycle. Systems engineering as an engineering discipline, study and application of technical strategies to realize engineered systems. Basic tools and techniques to identify a need, formulate a problem (e.g., through requirements), develop a system architecture, acquire its building components, integrate them to form the system, verify and validate it, deploy it, and sustain it using a systems approach. Human and social aspects of systems engineering. (3H, 3C).

ISE 5814 System Dynamics Modeling of Socio-Technical Systems (3 credits)

Computer-aided approach to systems thinking. Dynamic modeling to make better decisions in complex socio-technical systems. Simulation of dynamic problems arising in complex technological, social, managerial, economic, or ecological systems. Simulation-based policy analysis. Pre: Graduate standing. (3H, 3C).

ISE 5834 Decision Analysis for Engineers (3 credits)

Foundations of decision analysis contextualized for engineering work. Concepts and techniques for framing and modeling engineering problems as decisions that traverse physics by incorporating firm’s objectives and the personal preferences of the engineer. Formal and informal limitations of decision methods traditionally used in engineering, such as rank matrices. Alternative theories and methods that foster good decisions. Risk assessment and management as inherent to engineering decision-making. Sensitivity analysis. Pre. Graduate Standing. (3H, 3C).

ISE 5854 Mission Engineering I* (3 credits)

Concepts and principles of Mission Engineering and Systems-of-Systems (SoS). Formal and informal limitations of analysis and operational planning methods traditionally used in engineering. Mission threads to determine mission operational needs and SoS requirements. Mission architecture and governance structure development. Mission safety, security, integration, interoperability, cost estimation, risk analysis, and experimentation and text. Mission framing, modeling, and simulation. Pre: 5804. (3H, 3C).

ISE 5874 Digital Engineering (3 credits)

Fundamentals of the digital life cycle of modern-day system design practices. Evolving roles of the mission and systems engineering in a digital context. Data-centric authoritatively managed sources of truth. Standardization and open-source interfaces. Detailed exposure to digital engineering methods for systems design, development, implementation, test, production, and sustainment. Exploration of tools, ecosystems, ontology, and other core concepts necessary to implement data centric, integrated, model-based digital engineering. Pre: 5804. (3H, 3C)

ISE 5884 Systems Architecture (3 credits)

Fundamentals of system architectures, the architecting process, and the role of the system architect in complex systems development.  Different architectural frameworks, methodologies to pursue them, and their influence on the resulting architectural representations. Impact of architectural strategies on system lifecycle properties. Practical heuristics for developing good architectures. Resilient architectures. Formal systems engineering constructs. Development of executable architectural models for trade-space exploration. Model-based verification, validation, and technical reviews. Pre: 5804. (3H, 3C)

For More Information:

Dr. Taylan G. Topcu, an Assistant Professor in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Director of the Systems Engineering Program, serves as the Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Mission Engineering.

  • Address: 1145 Perry St., 207 Durham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061
  • Email: ttopcu@vt.edu
  • Phone: (540) 231 04 62

Affiliated Faculty: