Systems engineering certificate provides tools for complex problem solving

Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley, associate professor of mechanical engineering and associate director of the Systems Engineering Program at CSU. 

Being able to see the big picture lies at the heart of the Systems Engineering Program at Colorado State University. Designed for professionals looking to enhance their value in the workplace, degree options at CSU help students hone the skills they need to design, build, test, validate, and control large-scale projects.

A new Certificate in Systems Engineering Practice, launched this year, provides this same educational experience in just 12 credits, making it a more practical option for working professionals.

Mike Stahl, senior engineer at HP Inc. and a graduate of CSU’s systems engineering master’s program, appreciates the practical aspects of the degree: “Most of the classes in the program have some sort of project associated with them, and my advisor always made sure my project benefitted my company in some way. Through the Systems Engineering Program, CSU is offering courses that are applicable to my job, and I had the opportunity to work on projects that were beneficial to HP Inc.’s operations.”

Meeting an industry need

The program offers many flexible scheduling options, and the certificate is no exception, with on-campus and online course availability. Some courses are offered in Denver, and short courses are also available to local companies. Students interested in pursuing master’s and doctorate degrees after completing the certificate may do so, as certificate courses are part of every degree option.

“We’re trying to meet the needs of the local industry and manufacturing base, in a way that can provide benefits to people across the world,” said Associate Director of Systems Engineering Tom Bradley, who is also an associate professor in mechanical engineering.

According to a market analysis prepared for Colorado State University Online, this need is especially relevant in Colorado, where there is increasing employment demand for systems engineering professionals. Many students in the program are employed by local companies like Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance and Woodward, Inc., and they value the opportunities for networking with other industry professionals the Systems Engineering Program provides.

With students and alumni in states across the country – and even some active-duty military students around the world – the program has proven its reach. Systems engineering is one of the most in-demand disciplines among engineering graduates.

Since its establishment in 2007, CSU’s Systems Engineering program has awarded 125 certificates of completion and 72 master’s degrees. The program entered its ninth year this fall, and is looking at record enrollments for the 2016-17 academic year.