Invest in yourself and in your career by earning your master's degree in systems science & mathematics. Graduate with the knowledge, skills and personal network you'll need to succeed.

The Master of Science in Systems Science & Mathematics (MSSSM) offered by the McKelvey School of Engineering is an academic degree designed for both full-time and part-time students interested in- proceeding to the departmental full-time doctoral program and/or professional practice in an industrial career.

Systems science and engineering is based on an approach that views an entire system of components as an entity rather than simply as an assembly of individual parts; each component is designed to fit properly with other components rather than to function by itself.

Systems science is a rapidly developing field, as well as one of the most modern segments of applied mathematics and engineering. You'll study the identification, modeling, analysis, design and control of systems as potentially large and complex as the United States economy or as precise and vital as a space voyage.

Students who earn their Masters of Science in Systems Science & Mathematics gain a competitive edge over their peers. Our graduates have gone on to advance their studies earning additional degrees from Harvard, Northwestern and Michigan State while other graduates have gained employment as Data Scientists and Software engineers in various organizations such as the Department of Defense, the Analysis Group and Amazon.

Invest in Yourself

Degree Requirements for Current Students

The Master of Science in Systems Science & Mathematics (MSSSM) is an academic master's degree designed mainly for both full-time and part-time students interested in proceeding to the departmental full-time doctoral program and/or an industrial career. Students pursuing a MESSM degree must complete a minimum of 30 units of study consistent with the residency and other applicable requirements of Washington University and the McKelvey School of Engineering and subject to the following departmental requirements:

  • A minimum of 15 of the total 30 units must be selected from the Degree Requirement list below for subjects taught by the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering (ESE).
  • The remaining courses in the program may be selected from senior or graduate-level courses in ESE or elsewhere in the university that are approved by the department.
    • Courses outside of ESE must be in technical subjects relevant to electrical engineering and require the department's approval.
    • Undergraduate Laboratory courses may not be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • Students must obtain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 out of a possible 4.0 overall for courses applied toward the degree. Courses that apply toward the degree must be taken with the credit/letter grade option.

Either a thesis option or a course option may be selected. The special requirements for these options are as follows:

  • Course Option: Under the course option, students may not take ESE 599 Master's Research. With faculty permission, they may take up to 3 units of graduate-level independent study.
  • Thesis Option: This option is intended for those pursuing full-time study and engaged in research projects. Candidates for this degree must complete a minimum of 24 credit units of course instruction and 6 credit units of thesis research (ESE 599); 3 of these units of thesis research may be applied toward the 15 core electrical engineering units required for the MSEE program. Any of these 6 units of thesis research may be applied as electives for the MSEE, MSSSM, and MSDAS programs. The student must write a master's thesis and defend it in an oral examination.

Degree Requirements

Course Number Course Name
ESE 551 Linear Dynamic Systems I
ESE 553 Nonlinear Dynamic Systems
ESE 520 Probability and Stochastic Processes
ESE 415 Optimization (ESE 513 or ESE 516 may be substituted)

as well as one of the following:

Course Number Course Name
ESE 524 Detection and Estimation Theory
ESE 544 Optimization and Optimal Control
ESE 545 Stochastic Control
ESE 557 Hybrid Dynamic Systems

All full-time graduate students are required to take ESE 590 Electrical & Systems Engineering Graduate Seminar each semester. This course is taken with an unsatisfactory/satisfactory grade option.

Refer to the University Bulletin for the specific requirements for this degree.

Degree Electives

Any course numbered 401 or greater in the Engineering (with the prefix of BME, CSE, EECE, ESE, or MEMS), Physics or Mathematics department, excluding the exceptions listed below, are approved by the department as electives.

Students may take either ESE 417 or CSE 417T, but they may not use both as electives for the degree.

For students who have already taken ESE 318 & 319, ESE 501 may not be used as an elective for graduate credit.

Additionally, the following courses are NOT approved by the department as electives. Requests for an exception to this policy may be submitted to the graduate program coordinator with the approval of the student's academic advisor.

Course Numbers Unapproved Electives
CSE 501N, 504N, 505N
CSE 465M
EECE 405, 421, 424, 425
ESE 435, 447, 449, 465, 488, 4480, 4481 
MEMS 405
Undergraduate lab courses
ESE 400, 497498499 Any undergraduate research, independent study, senior design or capstone course