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 six defined option areas which include: Aeronautical Systems, Astronautical Systems, Computer Systems, Electronics, Human Factors and Mechanical Systems.

The System Engineering enrollment data is as follows:

Class Year # Students
2014 97
2015 80
2016 76
2017 39
Information current as of 3 June 2014

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

Systems Engineering Program Educational Objectives

Recognition as successful Air Force officers through demonstration of their ability to::
  • Rapidly acquire required knowledge.
  • Lead others effectively,.
  • Effectively apply ethical and moral standards,.
  • Make sound decisions based on critical thinking,.
  • Communicate effectively..
  • Selection for career training on, or ahead of, schedule and for a progression of assignments of increasing responsibility.
  • A demonstrated ability to solve Air Force technical problems.
  • Success in continuing education.

Systems Engineering Student Outcomes

Each Systems Engineering graduate shall demonstrate satisfactory:
  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze, and interpret data.
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  • An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.
  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  • An ability to communicate effectively.
  • The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Course Requirements  146 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 312 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 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
  Astro Engr 321 Astrodynamics
  Astro Engr 331 Space Systems Engineering
  Astro Engr 351 Rocket Propulsion
  Astro Engr 423 Space Mission Design

  Computer Systems:
  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
  ECE 321 Electronics I
  ECE 322 Electronics II
  ECE 332 Electric Circuits and Systems II
  ECE 382 Embedded Computer Systems I
  ECE 383 Embedded Computer Systems II
  ECE 387 Robotic Systems
  ECE 434 Digital Signal Processing
  ECE 485 Advanced 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

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 483 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 421 Ops Rsch 422 DFM

Capstone course titles:
Aero Engr 481 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 421 Capstone in Operations Research I
Ops Rsch 422 Capstone in Operations Research II

U.S. Air Force Academy, USAFA, CO 80840, (719) 333-1110 DSN: 333-1110, 10 Dec 16
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