Systems engineering is the field of specialization within engineering that uses advanced mathematical methods to model physical systems, and to develop techniques for system optimization and control. Systems engineers are experts at analyzing complex systems and effectively coordinating their many different components. Systems engineers design, develop, manage and optimize complex systems including electrical systems, information systems, economic models, financial systems, environmental systems, telecommunication networks, transportation networks, project management, and aerospace systems.
School of Engineering & Applied Science
As an engineering school, we aspire to discover the unknown, educate students and serve society. Our strategy focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, and security. Through innovative partnerships with academic and industry partners—across disciplines and across the world—we will contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.
The Washington University Advantage
Undergraduate students are required to work with a professor or professional engineer to conduct an independent research project in an area of interest including financial management, operations research, applied physics, signal processing, imaging, and control engineering. In addition to the independent project experience, the School has an optional engineering co-op program, in which students work full-time with a company in an engineering industry. Many local companies, including Boeing, offer the opportunity to blend theory and practice, develop critical workplace skills, and earn a salary.
Freshman Engineering Seminar
A weekly freshman engineering seminar, organized and run by upper-class students, will introduce you to engineering and will help you identify the specific area of engineering that matches your long-term interests and aspirations. In addition, the seminar helps develop your leadership, collaboration, and communication skills—all of which will help you succeed throughout your undergraduate education.
Undergraduate students have numerous opportunities to participate with faculty on research projects ranging from cell and tissue engineering to developing biosensors to the synthesis of nanomaterials for use in energy and environmental technologies. 60 percent of our current students participate in an undergraduate research or independent study project with faculty.
International Study Opportunities
Engineering students have the opportunity to study abroad through the College of Arts & Science Overseas Programs but there are also opportunities available only to engineering students—including summer-, semester-, or year-long study programs. Students can travel to further study engineering or pursue other cultural experiences to enhance academics through a second major or minor.
For example, students have visited China to learn about biomedical engineering applications that have led to senior design projects. Some students have traveled throughout Asia to learn about nanotechnology, renewable energy and environmental technologies. Others have learned about medical imaging methods in Germany or participated in engineering programs in Israel. All of the programs, however, are unique to Washington University and offered exclusively to our engineering students.
Career Opportunities in Systems Science and Engineering
Using mathematics and physics foundations, systems science engineers enjoy solving some of today’s most challenging technological problems. Graduates find jobs with government, educational institutions, manufacturing, retail, financial, and medical companies.
The types of jobs systems science engineers hold may involve:
- electric power network operations
design of control and surveillance avionics for aircraft
long-distance telephone network operation
pharmaceutical process control
integration of different subsystems in airplanes
supply-chain management of a manufacturing company