Tips for applying to the Master of Science in Systems Engineering (MSSE)

By Rainie Ingram

Understanding the expectations of applying to the MSSE program leads to a strong application. The following tips will help you determine if the MSSE program is a good fit for you and will guide you in strengthening your candidacy.

Tip 1 – First do Your Homework

Our MSSE Homepage provides information to help you determine if the program is a good fit for your career goals. You will learn about our industry-based program’s mission, what you will learn in the program, about systems thinking, systems engineering in the global context, and related professional certificates.

You will also find the application deadlines and a link to our MSSE Catalog Page where you will find course, program, and application requirements. Next, view our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage. Looking over the catalog MSSE page and the FAQ page will answer many questions you may have and make time spent reaching out with further questions most productive.

Tip 2 – Make a Checklist of Deadlines and Admissions Requirements

Application deadlines can be found for the fall and spring semesters on the MSSE Homepage. You will find preferred qualifications for admissions on the MSSE Catalog Page. Also listed here are program requirements and application requirements. Please note that International students have additional requirements.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to check the application portal’s application status board to see if all documents and referrals have been submitted. The status board becomes available after the applicant has submitted their application (not while working on the application). The status board is the first thing you will see when logging back in.

The status board is an important tool for you to check the status of receipt of official transcripts and letters of recommendation. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the MSSE Admissions Department has all required documents and recommendations. The platform does not communicate any sort of admissions decision; those will be communicated directly by the department a few weeks following the application deadline.

Tip 3 – Ensure You Submit Strong Essays

Applicants must submit two essays that address the following:

Essay 1: Systems Engineering & Systems Thinking

  • What is systems engineering? How is it similar and different from systems thinking?
  • Describe a time when you used theories and advanced concepts to design and develop systems.
  • Describe a time when you applied, analyzed, implemented, and improved existing systems.
  • One to two pages in a standard font and size is typical.
  • Include your full name at the top of each page.
  • Please export and upload as a PDF.

Before writing Essay 1: Systems Engineering & Systems Thinking, read the INCOSE Systems Engineering Vision 2035 and the INCOSE Code of Ethics

Essay 2: Academic Statement of Purpose (ASOP)

Each applicant must submit an academic statement of purpose (ASOP). The ASOP is an opportunity to help the admissions committee understand your academic objectives and determine if you are a good match for the systems program. The goal of the ASOP is to explain to the admissions committee that you have a solid background and experience in your discipline and that you have the potential to be successful in the systems program.

  • Address any blemishes, gaps, or weaknesses in your academic record.
  • One to two pages in a standard font and size is typical.
  • Include your full name at the top of each page.
  • Please export and upload as a PDF.

Tip 4 – Consider the Investment of Time and Money

Applicants who have not graduated from an ABET-accredited program or have not completed college calculus I, II, and a probability and statistics college course must demonstrate the ability to pass the following leveling courses: MATH 1210 Calc I, MATH 1220 Calc II, and MATH 3410 - Probability and Statistics

Any non-engineering candidate accepted into the program may be subject to additional leveling coursework as prescribed by the department.  This includes mathematics, physics, chemistry, and any other engineering coursework deemed critical to the SE credential. (Non-engineering candidates such as graduates of business, supply chain, health administration, medicine, or the liberal arts.)

This means an accepted applicant may be required to take leveling credit hours in addition to the 31 hours required to complete the program. Tuition costs vary depending on the number of credit hours you take and may increase slightly on an annual basis. Currently, the program or University does not provide MSSE scholarships.

Tip 5 – Make a Positive Impression

How your experience fits into our preferred qualifications will help you know what to emphasize in your application and required resume. Applicants for admission into the MSSE program should possess a B.Sc. in engineering (EAC), engineering technology (ETAC), or computing (CAC) from an ABET-accredited program with Calculus I and II and upper-division Statistics as a minimum. B.Sc. in any other related subject is on a case-by-case basis only.

Preference given to graduates of hard sciences (Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry) and related industry or military experience is also considered and evaluated toward potential acceptance into the program.