Systems Engineering

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Master of Science (M.S.), Applied Scientist (App.Sc.), Engineer (Engr.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus, Hampton Roads Center, Online Learning

Program Overview

The systems engineering program provides broad knowledge of the "systems approach" for designing and managing large-scale engineering systems throughout the life cycle, with faculty and students exploring case studies and methodologies from NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. corporations.

The Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering offers Ph.D. and M.S. degrees, as well as two professional degrees in systems engineering.  Graduate students can pursue their degrees in one of two focus areas: operations research and management science or systems engineering and integration. 

The doctoral program is individually tailored for each student. It is designed to provide students with the ability to perform substantive research in their areas of choice. Students benefit from working closely with faculty members whose applications research has been successfully used by major organizations.

Students pursuing a master’s degree acquire excellent skills at the cutting edge of systems engineering. They also benefit from GW’s many contacts with industry and governmental leaders. Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option for the degree.

The professional degree program is designed for students who want in-depth study in their field beyond a master's degree but who seek to concentrate on applied subject material rather than on basic science. This post-master's program provides advanced study in preparation for pragmatic application and leads to the degree of engineer or of applied scientist.

Those who would like to pursue a graduate certificate in systems engineering will acquire up-to-date knowledge and skills in the methods, standards and tools of systems engineering. They can transfer all of their certificate courses if they decide to get a master's degree. For details, visit graduate certificate in systems engineering.

GW's graduate-level systems engineering programs are offered for the general public at the University's campus in Arlington, Va. They are also offered on site at U.S. corporate offices and facilities.



Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – January 15 (M.S., Engr., and App.Sc.)
Spring – September 1
Summer* – March 1

Standardized test scores:

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. (Institution code 5246) Average scores for our Fall 2014 incoming class were: 161 (Q), 148 (V), and 3 (W).

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction.  Minimum scores:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.5; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based; or
  • PTE Academic: 68.

Recommendations required:

Three (3) recommendations required for Ph.D. applicants and two (2) recommendation required for M.S. applicants applying for fellowships/assistantships. Two (2) recommendations required for all other applicants. If possible, one recommendation should be from your advisor at the institution from which you earned your highest degree.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If academic records are in a language other than English, a copy in the original language and an English language translation must be uploaded. Transcript evaluations should not be uploaded. Applicants with degrees from Indian universities should upload transcripts and/or detailed marksheets.

Statement of purpose:

Graduate Certificate, M.S., Engr., and App.Sc.: In an essay of 250 to 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University; describe your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans; and discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned.

Ph.D. applicants: Please write a more comprehensive essay of 400 to 600 words, indicating your primary and supporting fields of study, your specialized interests, and the general subject area of your planned dissertation or professional project.

Additional requirements: 

M.S.: Bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 hours of coursework. A grade of B- or better in Math 1232 or its equivalent is prerequisite to all graduate programs offered by the Department. The Department requires that the applicant have a suitable bachelor's degree in an area such as engineering, a physical science, or mathematics.

Ph. D.: Applicants whose highest earned degree is a master’s degree should have a grade-point average of at least 3.5. Applicants without a master's degree must have a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

All applicants should choose an area of focus that most closely matches their interests and note this on the online application. All applicants must submit a resumé or CV. Applicants to the doctoral program should identify one to three faculty members whose research interests most closely match their own and note this on the online application.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW.

International applicants requiring a visa from GW are not eligible to apply for admission to the graduate certificate program, but may apply for the M.S., Ph.D., or professional degrees (App. Sc. or Engr.) in systems engineering.

*A limited number of doctoral applicants are accepted for the summer. Please contact the admissions office for details.  International applicants who require a visa from GW are eligible to apply for admission in fall and spring only (not summer).

For more information on the admission process, please visit the SEAS Frequently Asked Questions page.

Contact for questions:
[email protected] - 202.994.1802 - 202.994.1651 (fax)
9:00 – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday
Skype: GW Engineering