The Systems Engineering Major at a Glance...

Systems Engineering is a broad discipline that addresses the engineering of large, complex systems and the integration of the many subsystems that comprise the larger system. All of these various components must function together in an effective and efficient manner in order to carry out the mission. The systems engineer designs, integrates, and helps to ensure smooth functioning of complex systems typical in today's high-tech Air Force. The systems engineer is a "big picture" engineer, always keeping an eye on the design of the overall system to ensure that it will meet the needs of all the system's stakeholders, including operators, maintainers and commanders, and even our ultimate customer -- the American public!

The systems engineer must consider elements of system development, verification, manufacturing, deployment, training, operations, support, and disposal. The entire life cycle of the system is considered in a holistic fashion early in the system's development cycle. To accomplish this difficult job, the SE must have broad interdisciplinary knowledge across many areas of study.

USAFA's system engineering program emphasizes a systems-of-systems approach that integrates a rigorous engineering curriculum augmented with studies in human systems, operations research analysis, program management, and the core curriculum. Cadets will learn that the systems engineering process is an interdisciplinary engineering process that evolves, verifies, and documents an integrated, life-cycle-balanced set of system solutions that satisfy customer needs. Cadets will specialize in one of eight defined option areas which include: Aeronautical Systems, Communication Systems, Computer Systems, Control Systems, Human Systems, Information Systems, Mechanical Systems, and Space Systems.

Cadets who successfully complete the Systems Engineering major are awarded a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering degree.

Systems Engineering Program Operational Goals

Two to three years after graduation, our graduates are expected to be officers who:
  • Possess breadth of integrated, fundamental knowledge in the basic sciences, engineering, humanities, and social sciences; and depth of knowledge in the selected option sequence.
  • Can communicate effectively.
  • Can work effectively with others.
  • Are independent thinkers and learners.
  • Can apply their knowledge and skills to solve Air Force engineering problems, both well and ill-defined.
  • Know and practice their ethical and professional responsibilities as embodied in the United States Air Force core values.

Systems Engineering Program Curricular Outcomes

Each Systems Engineering graduate shall demonstrate satisfactory:
  • Application of the fundamental concepts of systems engineering to solve engineering problems.
  • Laboratory techniques including procedures, recording, and analysis.
  • Design, fabrication, and testing techniques.
  • Use of contemporary systems engineering analysis, design, test, and management tools.
  • Written and oral communication skills.
  • Knowledge of ethical and professional responsibilities.
  • Breadth and depth of knowledge and skills in systems engineering, human systems, information systems, operations research analysis, mathematics, program management, and other disciplines necessary to effectively identify and solve the types of complex, multidisciplinary problems they will face as Air Force engineers.
  • Knowledge of the benefits and the skills needed to engage in life-long learning.
  • Ability to be effective multidisciplinary team members.
  • Skills to be an independent learner while knowing when to seek assistance.
  • Knowledge of the role of Air Force engineering officers in our global society.
  • Knowledge of contemporary social, political, military, and engineering issues.

Course Requirements  147 Semester Hours

A. 96 Semester hours of Dean's academic core courses include the following core alternates:

Required Core Alternate Substitutes for
Ops Rsch 310 Systems Analysis Energy Systems Opt
ECE 231 Differential Equations with Circuit Applications I ECE 315
Math 356 Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists Math 300
Sys Engr 301 Project Management Mgt 400

B. 5 Semester hours of Director of Athletics courses.

C. 3 Semester hours of Academy Option (Comp Sci 211 for accreditation requirements).

D. 6 Semester hours of math courses

  1. Math 344 or 245
  2. Math 359, Math 243 or Math 253

E. 18 Semester hours of major's courses:

  1. Sys Engr 310 Introduction to Systems Engineering
  2. Sys Engr 311 Systems Engineering II: Analytic Techniques for Sys Engr
  3. Ops Rsch 321 Probabilistic Models
  4. Sys Engr 336 Engineering Economics and Financial Management
  5. Beh Sci 373 Introduction to Human Factors Engineering
  6. Sys Engr 405 Systems Engineering Seminar I
  7. Sys Engr 406 Systems Engineering Seminar II*
  8. Sys Engr 477 Operations Engineering and Management

*In addition, Sys Engr 402 Professional Systems Engineering Development (ASEP exam prep) is a recommend course for all Systems Engineering cadets to take concurrently with Sys Engr 406.

F. 12 Semester hours of courses selected from the cadet’s choice of depth option area:

  Engr Mech 320 Dynamics
  Aero Engr 241 Aero-Thermodynamics
  Aero Engr 341 Aeronautical Fluid Dynamics
  Aero Engr 241 Aero-Thermodynamics
  Aero Engr 341 Aeronautical Fluid Dynamics
  Aero Engr 351 Aircraft Performance and Static Stability
  Aero Engr 352 Aircraft Dynamic Stability and Control
  Aero Engr 361 Propulsion

  Engr Mech 320 Dynamics
  Aero Engr 241 Aero-Thermodynamics
  Aero Engr 341 Aeronautical Fluid Dynamics
  Aero Engr 241 Aero-Thermodynamics
  Aero Engr 341 Aeronautical Fluid Dynamics
  Aero Engr 351 Aircraft Performance and Static Stability
  Aero Engr 352 Aircraft Dynamic Stability and Control
  Aero Engr 361 Propulsion

  Comp Sci 210 Introduction to Programming
  Comp Sci 220 Data Abstraction
  Comp Sci 351 Computer Organization and Architecture
  Comp Sci 364 Information Storage and Retrieval
  Comp Sci 467 Networks

  ECE 281 Introductory Digital Systems
  Introductory Digital Systems Electronics I
  ECE 322 Electronics II
  ECE 332 Electric Circuits and Systems II
  ECE 382 Microcomputer Programming
  ECE 383 Microcomputer System Design I
  ECE 387 Robotic Systems
  ECE 434 Discrete-Time Signals & Systems
  ECE 485 Computer Architecture
  Engr 311 Electrical Power

  Human Factors:
  Beh Sci 375 Human Factors in Aviation Systems Engineering
  Beh Sci 470 Human Systems Integration
  Beh Sci 471 Engineering Psychology
  Beh Sci 473 Human Factors in Systems Design
  Engr Mech 330 Aerospace Structures
  Mech Engr 312 Thermodynamics
  Engr Mech 320 Dynamics
  Mech Engr 325 Engineering System Dynamics
  Engr Mech 350 Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  Mech Engr 370 Introduction to Machine Design
  Mech Engr 396 Mechatronics

  Organizational Analytics*:
  Ops Rsch 330 Optimization Theory with Microeconomic Applications
  Ops Rsch 411 Topics in Mathematical Programming
  Ops Rsch 417 Quick Turn Analysis
  Mgt 303 Management Perspectives
  Mgt 341 Financial Accounting
  Mgt 342 Managerial Accounting
  Mgt 345 Human Managerial Systems
  Mgt 375 Market Analysis
  Mgt 478 Supply Chain Management

*Note: Cadets choosing this depth option will take 3 courses with operations research designators or at most 2 courses with management designators. The remaining depth option(s) must be approved engineering courses.

G. 6 Semester hours of Capstone Courses:
  Sys Engr 491 Systems Engineering Capstone Design I
  Sys Engr 492 Systems Engineering Capstone Design II

To satisfy the Systems Engineering Capstone Design sequence requirement, cadets will enroll in Sys Engr 491/92 and be assigned to one of the following two-semester capstone design options based on interest, depth option selection, and capstone needs.

Course Suffix Design Focus Fall Course Spring Course Host Dept
A1 Aircraft Aero Engr 481 Aero Engr 482 DFAN
A2 Jet Engine Aero Engr 481 Aero Engr 482 DFAN
B Spacecraft Astro Engr 436 Astro Engr 437 DFAS
C Software Comp Sci 453 Comp Sci 454 DFCS
E Electonic/Computer ECE 463 ECE 464 DFEC
H Mechanical Mech Engr 491 Mech Engr 492 DFEM
M Technology Innovation Mgt 419 Mgt 420 DFM
O Analytics Ops Rsch 419 Ops Rsch 420 DFM

Capstone course titles:
Aero Engr 48 Intro to Aircraft and Propulsion System Design
Aero Engr 482 Aircraft Design
Aero Engr 483 Aircraft Engine Design
Astro Engr 436 Small Spacecraft Engineering I
Astro Engr 437 Small Spacecraft Engineering II
Comp Sci 453 Software Engineering I
Comp Sci 454 Software Engineering II
ECE 463 Capstone Design Project I
ECE 464 Capstone Design Project II
Mech Engr 491 Capstone Design Project I
Mech Engr 492 Capstone Design Project II
Mgt 419 Technological Innovation Management
Mgt 420 Systems Research and Development Management
Ops Rsch 419 Capstone in Operations Research I
Ops Rsch 420 Capstone in Operations Research II