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Doctor of Systems Engineering

Grant Work Completed per Year in Systems Engineering
Core Faculty Members
Student to Faculty Ratio
Investment in research in FY21
Degree Overview Open Accordion
Earn your Doctor of Engineering in Systems Engineering from CSU

Earn your Doctor of Engineering in Systems Engineering from CSU

As the technology we use becomes increasingly more complex and interconnected, the need for skilled systems engineers is growing, particularly in industries like aerospace, aviation, power and energy, and information technology. This program is intended to help create the next generation of leaders in the field of systems engineering. Coursework reflects the rigor and depth expected of a professional doctorate program and emphasizes strategic problem solving, advanced leadership and business skills, and the knowledge required to address enterprise-level systems engineering challenges.

A program designed for engineering professionals

Developed with practicing engineers in mind, CSU’s Doctor of Engineering in Systems Engineering program provides advanced training and in-depth knowledge that can be used to solve complex, real-world problems. As a participant in this program, you will study both the theoretical framework of systems engineering and the technical applications needed to organize, manage, and implement projects in a range of industry settings. Interdisciplinary skills and the applied aspects of systems engineering are fundamental elements of this program’s core curriculum.

Ideal candidates for this systems engineering degree have considerable industry experience in addition to support from their current employer or organization. After being accepted, doctoral candidates in this program are assigned an advisory committee, which will include a faculty member with industry experience.

How does the Doctor of Engineering differ from a Ph.D.?

While CSU’s Ph.D. in Systems Engineering is primarily focused on systems engineering theory and scholarship (an excellent path for anyone interested in teaching), this professional doctorate program is centered on the practice and application of systems engineering principles. After being equipped with a greater depth of knowledge, graduates of this program will be prepared to seek advancement opportunities and take on leadership roles in their industry of choice.

Learn from leaders in engineering scholarship and research

By participating in this program, you will have the opportunity to study under faculty with decades of experience in applying engineering research to real-world challenges. Because CSU faculty often incorporate their own scholarship and work into the curriculum, you will also have access to some of the groundbreaking research currently taking place at the College of Engineering.

To learn more about the faculty members associated with the systems engineering doctorate program, please visit the Systems Engineering website.

Curriculum Open Accordion

The highly selective nature of this program maintains the integrity and quality of the student experience. There are two options for students pursuing the Doctor of Engineering in Systems Engineering:

  1. A 72-credit program for students who do not already have an engineering or science master’s degree
  2. An alternate 42-credit program option for students who already have an applicable master's degree with at least 30 credits


A minimum of 72 credits are required to complete this program.

Doctor of Engineering in Systems Engineering – 42 credits needed

(Students with an applicable master's degree earned with at least 30 credits)

  • 24 course credits required
  • Practicum (9 cr.)
  • Dissertation (9 cr.)

Doctor of Engineering in Systems Engineering – 72 credits needed

(Students without an applicable master's degree)

  • 54 course credits required
  • Practicum (9 cr.)
  • Dissertation (9 cr.)

Required Courses

Note: SYSE 710 must be completed in your first year. SYSE 501, ENGR 502, SYSE 530, and ENGR 531 are required courses for students without an applicable master’s degree. For students with an applicable master’s degree, SYSE 501, ENGR 502, SYSE 530, and ENGR 531 are Systems Engineering Depth course choices.

Systems Engineering Depth Courses

  • Students with an applicable master’s degree will select 15 credits.
  • Students without an applicable master’s degree will select 21 credits.

Note: New or experimental courses may be added; check with SE advisor

Applied Electives

Select at least 3 credits from the following:

Professional Electives

Select at least 3 credits from the following:

Technical Electives

For students with an applicable master level degree, no technical electives are permitted.

For students without an applicable master level degree, select 12 credits from a list of suggested electives. The list is not exhaustive. If you find a graduate-level technical course that pertains to your professional goals and/or the systems engineering field, please contact the systems engineering department to check if it may apply as an elective.

Practicum and Dissertation

Note: The Preliminary Exam is expected to be completed prior to enrolling in SYSE 786 credits. SYSE 786 credits may be taken concurrently with a last semester of coursework, with committee permission. Practicum credits can be completed throughout multiple semesters. 9 credits is the minimum; students may end up needing to take more depending on their progress and project.

Note: All SYSE 786 credits and requirements must be completed prior to enrolling in SYSE 799B credits. Dissertation credits can be completed throughout multiple semesters. 9 credits is the minimum; students may end up needing to take more depending on their progress and project.

Please email with any questions pertaining to coursework or advising.

How to Apply Open Accordion

Before applying to this program, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Systems Engineering Department to understand all requirements.

Application Deadlines

The Doctor of Engineering is a highly competitive program with limited openings. Your complete application is due by the following dates. If an applicant misses these dates, they will need to change their application term to the next term.

Fall semester March 1
Spring semester November 1

1Review Admission Requirements

Download the complete Systems Engineering Application Information Packet prior to starting the application process. This packet provides detailed information regarding CSU's Systems Engineering graduate programs, minimum application qualifications, criteria for admission, and more.

Doctor of Engineering Requirements

  • B.S. degree from a regionally accredited institution in engineering, mathematics, or a technical discipline with a GPA of 3.0 or greater*
  • Basic Statistics
  • Calculus I
  • Minimum of 5-8 years of professional experience as, “Systems Engineer,” “Engineer,” Scientist,” or equivalent
  • Sponsor within current company or practicum site who will collaborate with CSU during the practicum (one letter of recommendation must be from this person)**

*If your B.S. is not in engineering, an M.E. or M.S. in engineering is strongly recommended.

**For more information about sponsorship, view the Industry/Organization Practicum Support Guidelines.

Note: meeting the minimum department standards does not ensure admission to the program. Admission to Colorado State University graduate programs is based on several factors, including prior academic and professional experience and the personal statement.

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time. We recommend starting the application process at least one month before the deadline to ensure you can submit all required materials on time.

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2 Prepare Application Materials

Prepare the materials below and upload when you apply online.

  • Current resume clearly demonstrating at least the following required professional experience as ‘Systems Engineer,’ ‘Engineer,’ ‘Scientist,’ or equivalent:
    • At least 8 years relevant work experience for those applying to the 72-credit program (no applicable master’s).
    • At least 5 years relevant work experience for those applying to the 42-credit program (student already has applicable master’s).
  • Statement of purpose
    (2 pages MAXIMUM) This is meant to address the Systems Engineering Admissions Committee and why you would be a good fit for the program. This is different from the Research Interest Summary you will compile, but some of the same information may be used. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
    • Your relevant professional/academic background and skills
    • Why you are interested in Systems Engineering — provide specific areas of interest and application
    • Why you are interested in CSU's program and what you can contribute to CSU
  • One letter of recommendation from a sponsor within your current company or practicum site. This sponsor is expected to help coordinate with CSU during your practicum and serve on your advisory committee. The letter should state both this individual’s personal recommendation and anticipated support for the student during the program. Your practicum sponsor must submit a current resume along with their recommendation so minimum sponsor requirements can be verified.

  • Two additional letters of recommendation from faculty, supervisors, etc. who can speak to your relevant skills accurately and in detail.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

  • Select "Systems Engineering (D.E)- Distance" when choosing the program of study

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from all institutions attended. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

For International Applicants

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants from countries or United States territories where there are official languages other than (or in addition to) English. This includes the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about English language proficiency requirements.


We love learning about your goals and answering any questions you have.

Tandi Hawkey
Doctor of Systems Engineering
Prospective Student Support Coach
Schedule Time to Talk

Program Details

$1,118 per credit
Degree Awarded
Doctor of Engineering in Systems Engineering
Time Frame
Varies based on intensity of study and previous coursework

Application Dates

Fall semester
March 1
Spring semester
November 1

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