Evaluating the Systems Engineering Master's Program

Evaluating the Systems Engineering Master’s Program
I've really enjoyed this program a lot. I think the strength of the program is in having professors,
instructors, and students that have previous engineering work experience.
Every class I took in this program was well worth the time and effort. I am applying much more of my
learning on the job than I was expecting when I began the program.
One class that stood out as being critical to getting a lot more out of all the other classes was statistics
and probability. A lot of engineering is dealing with variation and stochastic variables. I would
recommend to anyone who was considering this program to refresh their math skills or take the
equivalent of Portland State’s STAT 551 class.
Initially, I had reservations about the distance learning format of the class. My primary concern was about
how effective the learning process would be without in-person contact with the professors and instructors.
In reality, I found that access to the instructors and availability to other students in the class was even
better than that of the traditional classroom model. Any questions I had about the course material were
usually answered within a day or two, and often times within hours. The students and professors interact
quite effectively online using the application WebCT and Blackboard. The flexibility of a remote learning
program allowed me to fit my class work into my work schedule. With a traditional classroom
environment, it would not have been possible to earn my degree and work a full time job that required
frequent travel.
Joey – June 2010
Lessons Learned and Program Evaluation
The class material has been woven into my day to day work practice and has added to the knowledge
base of the company. The program was effective for me, and also resulted in positive value for my
company. I appreciated the fact that I was encouraged to use work projects as the basis for my
homework assignments. This made them more real, and increased the absorption of the concepts.
Having flexible Masters Projects was also a great advantage to me. My professional duties had
extended beyond the work place as the program was completed, and this option allowed me to tailor my
investigations into areas outside normal projects. In one case this resulted in a publication that will help
other systems engineers integrate these newer concepts with SE practice. The projects also allowed me
to look at material more deeply than I had in the courses. I was able to explore the INCOSE handbook.
In the case of INCOSE it led me to membership and the paper for their research conference.
I have a more comprehensive set of tools that will enhance future work
Particular topics:
• Decision making
• Reliability
• Requirements
• Systems viewpoint
• Process Models
• Systems Modeling
• Technology Management Concepts
• Life Cycle Engineering
Curt - September 2010
Systems Engineering Master’s Program Evaluation
Portland State University (PSU) Systems Engineering Master’s program offers a wide breadth of courses
to enrich each student in this growing field. Proper planning is essential in order to maximize the
potential from the courses offered. Dr. Migliore was my advisor for the duration of my studies. Dr.
Migliore’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject matter was a key to my success as he was able to
continually adapt the program that was adaptive to my professional and personal schedule.
The professor’s are knowledgeable of the subject matter that they are teaching. In particular, the
Requirements Engineering course was the most structured course in the series in regards to the material
available, homework, and student interaction. The professors’s across the board are very helpful and
always willing to take extra time for further discussions with the specific topic area.
Overall, this has been a great learning experience and I have gained a much better understanding of
Systems Engineering. I am using much of what I learned to influence new processes and ways of
implementing Systems Engineering in our department. Given my current position as a Systems
Engineering Manager, I am in a position of greater influence to implement these changes. I will take what
I learned and adapt those to improve our processes to help us continue to be a market leader in Head-Up
Lenny – Spring 2011
Systems Engineering Master’s Program Evaluation
Even though I work for a high tech company, it currently does not have Systems Engineers. Going
forward, I will be moving into an engineering position where I will focus on support projects for our
Product Engineering group. I will use the tools from this program to guide my projects and work to create
a Systems Engineering group within my company. I have already met with the management for the
Project Managers group and we have collaborated on a few projects together. I will continue to build
these relationships and branch out with my projects so that my company will develop an appreciation for
the benefits of Systems Engineering.
DS - Winter 2014