Systems Engineering

2022 Systems Engineering Degree Guide

If you enjoy a challenge and solving problems, consider a career in Systems Engineering.

Systems Engineering professionals employ advanced math and science skills to develop systems to solve engineering problems and complete projects. Tasks can range from developing software to installing transportation networks. You will take classes in applied mathematics, problem solving methods, IT systems, project management, transportation systems and more to acquire the skills to handle any engineering dilemma.

A Recent Jump in Systems Engineering Degrees

#160 Most Popular Major
3.9k Degrees Awarded
7.7% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, systems engineering was the 160th most popular major nationwide with 3,904 degrees awarded. This represents a 7.7% increase in systems engineering degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 3,604.

This year's Best Systems Engineering Schools ranking compares 60 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of systems engineering programs later in this article.

Best Systems Engineering Schools by Degree

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Systems Engineering

A large part of this profession involves problem solving, making analytical and critical thinking skills highly important. You should be able to quickly find unique and innovative solutions for any number of engineering problems. Project management and teamwork skills are also required, as you will follow projects through from inception to completion while working with other engineering professionals. Those who are successful in this field have a strong background in mathematics.

Systems Engineering professionals often work full time in an office setting. Depending on project deadlines, overtime can be common.

An internship or summer job in Systems Engineering will be beneficial as you pursue a career in the field. This hands-on experience will show you the process that current professionals follow when working on a project. The experience will also set you ahead of similar candidates when applying for jobs.

Getting Accepted Into a Systems Engineering Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most systems engineering degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic systems engineering program qualifications, to serve in some systems engineering careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Systems Engineering Degree Types

There are various different levels of systems engineering degrees. Systems Engineering programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest systems engineering degree you can get. How long it takes to complete some common systems engineering degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to systems engineering, with approximately 59.4% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to systems engineering tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 62.1%
Master’s Degree 11.9%
Doctoral Degree 6.3%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 5.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.7%

Most workers in systems engineering have at least a bachelor's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in systems engineering have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the systems engineering career you are seeking.

Systems Engineering Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$89.9k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A degree in Systems Engineering opens many job opportunities to graduates. Since systems are used in numerous occupations, graduates may find jobs in anywhere from an aircraft design firm to a robotics company to a software development agency. This degree allows students to apply useful skills in a variety of fields.

After graduation, students should not have a difficult time finding a job. Those who have previous experience within the field will be more competitive in the job market.

Growth Projected for Systems Engineering Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your systems engineering degree? Systems Engineering careers are expected to grow 7.1% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to systems engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Engineers 141,000 6.4%
Engineering Professors 54,600 14.7%

How Much Money Do Systems Engineering Grads Make?

Recently graduated systems engineering students earned an average of $89,921 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $31,586 to as high as $160,692. As you might expect, salaries for systems engineering graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Systems Engineering Majors

Salaries for systems engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers systems engineering grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Engineering Professors $113,680
Engineers $99,410

Getting Your Systems Engineering Degree

With over 197 different systems engineering degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased systems engineering school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Systems Engineering

One of 40 majors within the Engineering area of study, Systems Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 46,178
Electrical Engineering 28,844
Civil Engineering 21,388
Computer Engineering 17,987
Chemical Engineering 12,917

View All Systems Engineering Related Majors >


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