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2020 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.

Systems Engineering Degrees Shrinking in Popularity

#171 Most Popular Major
3.4k Degrees Awarded
-2.4% Increase in Graduates

In 2017-2018, systems engineering was the 171st most popular major nationwide with 3,439 degrees awarded. This 83 less than the prior year, a decrease of 2.4%.

The United States has 24 different schools where you can get a degree in systems engineering. Explore this or one of our many other custom systems engineering rankings further below.

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.

Systems Engineering Degree Program Entry Requirements

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. Specific systems engineering careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Systems Engineering Degree Types

There are many different systems engineering degrees levels. You can get anything from a award taking less than 1 year in systems engineering to the highest systems engineering degree, a research/scholarship based doctorate. Different systems engineering degrees vary in how long they take.

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%

About 90.4% of workers in careers related to systems engineering obtain at least bachelor's degree. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in systems engineering careers have.


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

Career Opportunities for Systems Engineering Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$90.3k 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 People With a Systems Engineering Degree Make?

Recently graduated systems engineering students earned an average of $90,261 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $60,000 to as high as $130,600. 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 5 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 181 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.

Systems Engineering is one of 38 different types of Engineering programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 46,014
Electrical Engineering 31,993
Civil Engineering 21,299
Computer Engineering 15,329
Chemical Engineering 14,729

View All Systems Engineering Related Majors >


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