University Of South Alabama Systems Engineering

University Of South Alabama Systems Engineering

According to the International Standard on Systems Lifecycle Processes, systems engineering is an interdisciplinary approach governing the total technical and managerial effort required to transform a set of stakeholder needs, expectations, and constraints into a solution and to support that solution throughout its life. (ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015)

INCOSE is the International Council on System Engineering, and is the largest professional society dedicated to Systems Engineering. They define systems engineering as an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, and then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem:

Operations Test Cost & Schedule Disposal
Performance Manufacturing Training & Support

Systems Engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems Engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs.

Many represent the systems engineering process in terms of a “Vee”. Project definition is represented down the left side of the Vee, and integration and test are shown on the right side of the Vee. The value of representing the practice as a Vee is that the tasks performed on the right side trace directly to the tasks on the left side. The left side is where the project is defined, and the right side tasks represent the tasks which ensure the requirements and designs were properly satisfied.

Proficiency Areas for Systems Engineers

There has been an ongoing study, funded by the US Government[1], to identify what makes a good systems engineer. In their interim report, they identified the following 7 attributes of systems engineers

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Ambition and Internal motivation
  3. Inquisitiveness
  4. Lifelong Learning
  5. Confidence, Persistence, and Focus
  6. Professionalism and Respect
  7. Creativity

That study also identifies the following roles played by systems engineers as represented in the following graph.


[1] Atlas: The Theory of Effective Systems Engineers, Version 0.5, Technical Report SERC-2015-TR-108, Systems Engineering Research Center

The Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) Program in System Engineering offers students specialization in an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to engineering design of complex systems. Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects are designed and managed over their life cycles.

The main objectives of the D.Sc. Program are to provide a unique interdisciplinary program that meets the needs of industry and the community in the area of systems engineering, to prepare graduates for leadership positions in applied research that require the use of systems engineering tools to solve complex engineering problems, and to capitalize on the opportunities that result from the interactions of a research university with industry. This program is designed primarily for students who wish to pursue research – based careers in industry and government. Coursework across several systems – related disciplines is coupled with research on a topic pertaining to systems engineering.




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