University of Southern California

Viterbi School of Engineering

Systems Architecting and Engineering

Ethel Percy Andrus
Gerontology Center 240
(213) 740-4893
FAX: (213) 740-1120
Email: saeadmit@vsoe.usc.edu
viterbi.usc.edu/sae

Technical Director: Azad M. Madni, Ph.D.
Email: azad.madni@usc.edu; (213) 740-9211

Associate Director: Elliot Axelband, Ph.D.
Email: axelband@rand.org

Student Services Adviser: Mary Ordaz
Email: mordaz@usc.edu

Faculty

David Packard Chair in Manufacturing Engineering: Stephen C-Y Lu, Ph.D. (Computer Science, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering)

Gordon S. Marshall Professor of Engineering Technology: Roger Ghanem, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering)

TRW Professor of Software Engineering: Barry Boehm, Ph.D. (Computer Science, Industrial and Systems Engineering)

Professors: Barry Boehm, Ph.D. (Computer Science, Industrial and Systems Engineering); Daniel Erwin, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Astronautical Engineering)*; Roger Ghanem, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering); Mike Gruntman, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Astronautical Engineering); Petros Ioannou, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering); Yan Jin, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering); Behrokh Khoshnevis, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering); Stephen C-Y Lu, Ph.D. (Computer Science, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering); James E. Moore, II, Ph.D. (Industrial and Systems Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Policy); Cyrus Shahabi, Ph.D. (Computer Science); Firdaus E. Udwadia, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Data Science and Operations, Mathematics)

Assistant Professor: Ketan Savla, Ph.D. (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Professors of Engineering Practice: George Friedman, Ph.D. (Astronautical Engineering); Azad M. Madni, Ph.D. (Astronautical Engineering)

Research Professor: Elliot Axelband, Ph.D.

*Recipient of university-wide or school teaching award.
**Recipient of university-wide or school research award.

Honor Societies

Omega Alpha Association

Omega Alpha Association is the systems engineering honor society. The adviser is Professor Elliot Axelband, axelband@rand.org.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Systems Architecting and Engineering

This program is recommended to graduate engineers and engineering managers responsible for the conception and implementation of complex systems. Emphasis is on the creative processes and methods by which complex systems are conceived, planned, designed, built, tested and certified. The architecture experience can be applied to defense, space, aircraft, communications, navigation, sensors, computer software, computer hardware, and other aerospace and commercial systems and activities.

A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be earned on all course work applied toward the master’s degree in systems architecting and engineering. This average must also be achieved on all 400-level and above course work attempted at USC beyond the bachelor’s degree. Transfer units count as credit (CR) toward the master’s degree and are not computed in the grade point average.

In addition to the general requirements of the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Master of Science in Systems Architecting and Engineering is also subject to the following requirements:

  • a total of at least 30 units is required, consisting of at least 3 units in the technical management area, 3 units in the general technical area, and 9 units in the technical specialization area;
  • every plan of study requires prior written approval by the director of the systems architecting and engineering program recorded on the study plan in the student’s file;
  • no more than 9 units at the 400 level may be counted toward the degree — the remaining units must be taken at the 500 or 600 level;
  • at least 24 of the 30 units must be taken in the Viterbi School of Engineering;
  • units to be transferred (maximum of four with adviser approval) must have been taken prior to taking classes at USC; interruption of residency is not allowed;
  • no more than 6 units of Special Topics courses (499 or 599) may be counted for this degree;
  • thesis and directed research registrations may be allowed to individual students only by special permission of the supervising faculty member and the program director;
  • a bachelor’s degree in an engineering field and a minimum of three years systems experience are recommended prior to taking Systems Architecting and Design Experience courses. This program is not recommended for recent bachelor’s degree graduates.
Required courses Units
ISE 460 Engineering Economy, or
SAE 560 Economic Considerations for Systems Engineering 3
SAE 541 Systems Engineering Theory and Practice 3
SAE 542 Advanced Topics in Systems Engineering 3
SAE 547 Model-Based Systems Architecting and Engineering, or
SAE 548 Systems/System-of-Systems Integration and Communication 3
SAE 549 Systems Architecting 3
Electives Units
Adviser-approved electives in technical management area 3
Adviser-approved electives in general technical area 3
Adviser-approved electives in technical specialization area 9

Technical Management Area: Take one course (3 units) from the following:

CE 556 Project Controls-Budgeting and Estimating 3
DSO 525* Quality Improvement Methods 3
DSO 527* Managerial Decision Analysis 3
DSO 537* Global Businesses and Markets: Strategies Enabled by Technology 3
DSO 580* Project Management 3
ISE 515 Engineering Project Management 3
ISE 517 Modern Enterprise Systems 3
ISE 544 Management of Engineering Teams 3
ISE 562 Value and Decision Theory 3
ISE 585 Strategic Management of Technology 3
MOR 561* Strategies in High-Tech Businesses 3
SAE 550 Systems Architecting and the Political Process 3
*USC Marshall School of Business course. DSO 525 and DSO 527 are offered irregularly.

General Technical Area: Take one course (3 units) from the following:

CSCI 510 Software Management and Economics 3
CSCI 577ab Software Engineering 4-4
ISE 580 Performance Modeling and Simulation 3
SAE 543 Case Studies in Systems Engineering and Management 3
SAE 550 Systems Architecting and the Political Process 3
SAE 551 Lean Operations 3
*USC Marshall School of Business course.

Technical Specialization Area: Nine units are required, usually in the student’s present or intended technical specialty. Courses are intended to complement the student’s prior education and experience toward becoming a well-rounded systems architect-engineer or architect-manager. With a few exceptions, the courses should come from the recommended list, and usually all from a single specialization.

The student may choose from a large variety of technical specializations spanning all departments in the Viterbi School of Engineering. Flexibility is emphasized in this choice; the program director is expected to work closely with the student in choosing the best set of courses to meet the student’s need.

Several sample specializations are listed below but are not intended to be complete.

Recommended Courses

Aerospace and Mechanical Systems: AME 503, AME 521, AME 532a, AME 544, AME 548, AME 560, AME 588

Artificial Intelligence/Neural Networks: CSCI 460, CSCI 545, CSCI 561, CSCI 564, CSCI 567, CSCI 574; EE 547

Automation and Control Systems: EE 543a, EE 547, EE 585, EE 587, EE 593

Communication and Signal Processing Systems: EE 551, EE 562a, EE 563, EE 564, EE 567, EE 582, EE 583

Computer and Information Systems: CSCI 485, CSCI 551, CSCI 585, EE 552, EE 554, EE 561, EE 562a, EE 574, EE 658

Construction: CE 501, CE 519, CE 525ab, CE 533, CE 536, CE 556, CE 583

Engineering Management Systems: ISE 515, ISE 530, ISE 535, ISE 544, ISE 562, ISE 580, ISE 585, SAE 550

Integrated Media Systems: EE 450, EE 522, EE 555, EE 569, EE 596; CSCI 551, CSCI 574, CSCI 576, CSCI 585, CSCI 588

Manufacturing Systems: AME 588; EE 561ab; ISE 511, ISE 514, ISE 516, ISE 517, ISE 544, ISE 570

Network-centric: CSCI 402, CSCI 530, CSCI 551, CSCI 555, CSCI 558L, CSCI 577ab, EE 550

Software Process Architecture: CSCI 510, CSCI 577b, CSCI 665; EE 554, EE 557; ISE 544, ISE 562, ISE 564

Systems: EE 598; ISE 515, ISE 520, ISE 525, ISE 527, ISE 528, ISE 532, ISE 535, ISE 536, ISE 538, ISE 544, ISE 562, ISE 580, ISE 585; SAE 541, SAE 542

Graduate Certificate in Systems Architecting and Engineering

The graduate certificate in systems architecting and engineering is designed for practicing engineers engaged in the creation and design of complex innovative systems, in aerospace and commercial fields. Entering students are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field from an accredited institution. Three years of industry experience are recommended. Students are required to earn a cumulative B average or higher in courses taken for the certificate. The courses taken for the certificate may be applied later to the Master of Science in Systems Architecting and Engineering.

required courses — choose five units
ISE 460 Engineering Economy, or
SAE 560 Economic Considerations for Systems Engineering 3
ISE 515 Engineering Project Management 3
ISE 544 Management of Engineering Teams 3
SAE 541 Systems Engineering Theory and Practice 3
SAE 542 Advanced Topics in Systems Engineering 3
SAE 547 Model-Based Systems Architecting and Engineering 3
SAE 548 Systems/System-of-Systems Integration and Communication 3
SAE 549 Systems Architecting 3
SAE 574 Net-Centric Systems Architecting and Engineering 3

All programs of study will be approved by the technical director of the Systems Architecting and Engineering program.

Graduate Certificate in Network Centric Systems

This 15-19 unit graduate certificate is jointly sponsored by the Epstein Industrial and Systems Engineering, Hsieh Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments, and administered by the Epstein ISE Department. The computer science emphasis requires at least 16 units to complete, and may require more depending on the combination of courses students select.
This certificate is designed for practicing engineers engaged in the creation and design of complex innovative network centric systems in aerospace and commercial fields. Entering students are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field from an accredited institution. Three years of industry experience are recommended. Students are required to earn a cumulative B average or higher in courses taken for the certificate. The courses taken for the certificate may be applied later to the Master of Science in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or Systems Architecting Engineering with departmental approval.

Required Courses Units
SAE 574 Net-centric Systems Architecting and Engineering 3
Choose four courses from one area of emphasis: 12 to 16
Computer Science Emphasis
Required CSCI course
CSCI 551 Computer Communications 4
CSCI Electives (choose three courses, at least 9 units)
CSCI 530 Security Systems 4
CSCI 531 Applied Cryptography 3
CSCI 546 Intelligent Embedded Systems 3
CSCI 555 Advanced Operating Systems 4
CSCI 556 Introduction to Cryptography 3
CSCI 558L Internetworking and Distributed Systems Laboratory 3
CSCI 561 Foundations of Artificial Intelligence 4
CSCI 573 Probabilistic Reasoning 3
CSCI 576 Multimedia Systems Design 4
CSCI 585 Database Systems 4
Electrical Engineering Emphasis
Required EE course
EE 535 Mobile Communications 3
EE Electives (choose three courses, 9 units)
EE 541 Radio Frequency Filter Design 3
EE 544 Radio Frequency Systems and Hardware 3
EE 550 Design and Analysis of Computer Communication Networks 3
EE 555 Broadband Network Architectures 3
EE 562ab Random Processes in Engineering 3-3
EE 564 Digital Communication and Coding Systems 3
EE 567 Communication Systems 3
EE 579 Wireless and Mobile Networks Design and Laboratory 3
15-19

Courses of Instruction

Systems Architecting and Engineering (SAE)

The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

SAE 496 Systems Engineering Through Motorsports (3, Irregular) Applied systems architecting, engineering and management to motorsports from design to validation and verification; venues include drag racing, grand prix Formula SAE racing, DARPA Challenges.

SAE 499 Special Topics (2-4, max 8, FaSpSm) Course content to be selected each semester from recent developments in Systems Architecting and Engineering and related fields.

SAE 541 Systems Engineering Theory and Practice (3, FaSpSm) Integration of engineering problem solving methodologies based on systems concepts. Application to complex, large scale technical systems and problems faced by engineering managers. Case studies. (Duplicates credit in former ISE 541.)

SAE 542 Advanced Topics in Systems Engineering (3, FaSpSm) Advanced topics in integration software management and systems engineering, probabilistic foundations of decision-based theory, quantitative risk management, decision-based design, and safety aspects of systems engineering. (Duplicates credit in former ISE 542.)

SAE 543 Case Studies in Systems Engineering and Management (3, FaSp) Real-world case studies in DoD, NASA, and commercial arenas, employing new methodologies to cover the fundamental positive and negative development learning principles of systems engineering.

SAE 547 Model-Based Systems Architecting and Engineering (3) Approaches for modeling systems using software such as SySML; modeling system, requirements, structure, behavior, and parametrics; mapping to hardware description language and behavioral code generation. Recommended preparation: Modeling and simulation courses.

SAE 548 Systems/System-of-Systems Integration and Communication (3, FaSp) Essentials of systems and system-of-systems integration from the perspectives of business, programs, and technology. Process, legacy, and systems-of-systems integration. Verification and validation methods. Case studies. Recommended preparation: bachelor’s degree in engineering or physical sciences.

SAE 549 Systems Architecting (3, FaSp) Introduction to systems architecture in aerospace, electrical, computer, and manufacturing systems emphasizing the conceptual and acceptance phases and using heuristics. Prerequisite: B.S. degree in a related field of engineering.

SAE 515 Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (3, Fa) Explores broad issues and mitigation measures involved in the analysis and design of complex, uncertain, interacting infrastructure systems needing to be resilient and sustainable.

SAE 550 Systems Architecting and the Political Process (3) Analysis of risks inherent in managing high-tech/high-cost government-funded engineering programs; tools and techniques for coping with the impacts of politically-driven budgets on the engineering design process. (Duplicates credit in former ISE 550.) Recommended preparation: two years of work experience.

SAE 551 Lean Operations (3, Sp) Study of lean principles and practices as applied to automotive, aerospace and other industries.

SAE 560 Economic Considerations for Systems Engineering (3, Sp) Impact of economic factors for systems architects and engineers, tools for understanding these factors, fundamental quantitative analysis of cash flow, life-cost estimating for systems and software engineering.

SAE 574 Net-Centric Systems Architecting and Engineering (3, FaSp) In-depth examination of the technical design approaches, tools, and processes to enable the benefits of net-centric operations in a networked systems-of-systems.

SAE 590 Directed Research (1-12, FaSpSm) Research leading to the master’s degree. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC.

SAE 594abz Master’s Thesis (2-2-0, FaSpSm) Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded IP/CR/NC.

SAE 599 Special Topics (2-4, max 9, FaSpSm) Course content will be selected each semester to reflect current trends and developments in the field of systems architecting and engineering.