Graduate Catalog
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Mission Engineering
1145 Perry Street, 250 Durham Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
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Description of Certificate

Description of Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Mission Engineering is designed to teach students engineering methods to design, develop, and assess complex system-of-systems using mission engineering tools and practices in combination with the tactical insights of operational planning. Students will learn how to identify mission-level operational needs to develop clear problem statements and apply mission engineering techniques to translate these needs into specific programmatic guidance for critical programs. The program covers topics related to mission execution (including mission safety, security, integration, and interoperability) and mission development (including cost estimating, mission fragmentation risk analysis, mission thread development, and mission experimentation, modeling, and simulation). Graduates will be prepared to analyze complex problems, evaluate alternative mission concepts, and design and plan mission solutions.

Target Audience
The certificate will have two target audiences: 1) graduate students currently enrolled in a graduate degree program related to systems engineering (e.g., aerospace engineering, ocean engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, etc.), and 2) current systems and mission engineering professionals in organizations. These organizations are focused on technological advances to field new capabilities by developing future investments in science and technology based on the identification of actual gaps in complex system-of-systems across multiple industrial sectors to include Defense, Transportation, Health Care, Education, Space Exploration, and Homeland Security.

Time to Complete
Full-time and part-time students may enroll in the certificate program. Degree-seeking students may take courses in conjunction with their regular course load. Students attending full-time can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year (two semesters) and a maximum of three academic years (six semesters). Degree-seeking students attending part-time can complete the certificate in approximately two academic years (four semesters) and a maximum of four academic years (eight semesters). Non-degree seeking, full-time students can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year (two semesters). Non-degree seeking, part-time students, taking one course per semester, can complete the certificate in two academic years (four semesters).
How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.



All students will be required to apply to the certificate program. The admission requirements will be based on enrollment status at the institution.

Degree-seeking students will:
  • Submit a Graduate Certificate Application
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in any engineering discipline from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better
Non-degree seeking students will:
  • Submit a Graduate School Application for Admission and pay the fee
  • Submit a Graduate Certificate Application and pay the fee
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in any engineering discipline from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Submit official undergraduate transcripts demonstrating bachelor’s degree conferral
  • Submit a statement describing their experience in systems engineering and/or mission engineering roles
Students who have not earned a degree in the United States must submit:
  • Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum score of 90 on the internet- based test (iBT) (and scores of 20 or greater in Listening, Writing, Speaking, and Reading subsections) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5


Curriculum Requirements and Description
The curriculum requires coursework to develop students’ knowledge of mission design and development (e.g., mission thread analysis, platform development) and mission planning and management (e.g., distributed governance, capability allocation). Students will learn about designing, developing, and managing engineering missions. Students will gain an understanding of how managerial and governance independence in systems-of-systems demand the application of mission engineering methods to guarantee sustainment of mission capabilities. Students will learn how to use mission engineering methods to identify and capture heterogeneous operational needs, select, and analyze mission threads, and plan the deployment and governance of mission components within a systems-of-systems context.

Program requirements

Number of Credit Hours: 12 credit hours of graduate level courses

  • ISE 5814 System Dynamics Modeling of Socio-Technical Systems (3 credits)
  • ISE 5834 Decision Analysis for Engineers (3 credits)
  • ISE 5854 Mission Engineering I (3 credits)
  • ISE 5864 Problem Formulation and Decomposition (3 credits)