Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field that integrates several specialties. Systems engineering analyzes the operational needs of customers and, by applying technology, develops procedures and algorithms necessary to meet those needs.
The professional of this program is able to successfully address and solve decision-making problems of different sorts. Such problems arise in government and industry, in settings where the decision variables are restricted in complex ways. The student is able to describe, analyze, design, manage and control the aggregation of components, coordinating them to achieve a set of goals or predetermined targets. He/she learns quantitative techniques that emphasize the problem formulation in a dynamic and uncertain operating environment, making the best decision for achieving the objectives or goals established, and maintaining the system at acceptable reliability and quality levels. The student is trained to identify and define the problem, to use quantitative techniques to analyze and solutions derived from these techniques, properly applying the scientific method in order to achieve its implementation in practice.
The student is able to perform original research, extending the state of the art in this area of knowledge. The student is able to propose and develop analytical techniques that will carry over into his professional career in either academic, industrial, or government sectors.
Once admitted into the doctoral program, the student is assigned an academic tutor. The role of the academic tutor is to guide and assist the student in developing the preliminary work plan, which is aimed at preparing students for the doctoral qualifying exam. The student must take and approve the doctoral qualifier within no more than 18 months from the date of entry into the program. Failure to pass the exam results in automatic withdrawal.
The qualifying exam consists of two areas: Deterministic systems and stochastic systems. Each of these is presented on different days. Each area also consists of two topics or subjects. Examination of the deterministic systems area includes: (a) Linear Programming (MECAS 5001) and (b) Network Flow Programming (MECAS 5002). Examination of the stochastic systems area includes: (a) Applied Probability (MECAS 5003) and (b) Stochastic Processes (MECAS 5004). This qualifier exam is offered twice a year, typically near the end of each semester.
The qualifier gives one of three results:
- Approval: It is obtained when the student gets a passing grade in each of the two areas
evaluated. In turn, each area is evaluated independently and achieve the passing when both of the two corresponding subjects obtains a passing grade. In this case, the student will proceed to the preparation of the doctoral dissertation proposal examination.
- First failure (entitled to a second chance): When the student fails one of the areas for the first time, he/she has the right to retake the examination at the next opportunity the test is offered. A students fails an area if he/she obtains a non-passing grade in at least one of the two subjects tested. If the students passes one area and fails the other, he/she has to retake only the test of the failing area (both subjects).
- Definite failure: If the student fails to pass both areas of the qualifier for a second time, he/she is automatically drop out of the program.
The next step is to prepare a formal proposal for doctoral research project, which must be presented and defended before a doctoral theses committee. This committee will consist of five members including the thesis supervising professor (or director) or co-directors. The student must convincingly argue the importance and relevance of the proposed project as well as the expected contribution. In cases where the presentation is not satisfactory, the Committee may suggest a number of points that the student must address and make a new presentation of his/her proposal. If the presentation is satisfactory, the student acquires the status of Doctoral Candidate. The Committee may also recommend a work program tailored made to the student interests and needs.
Graduation requirements (Doctor of Engineering with Major in Systems Engineering)
After successful defense of the doctoral dissertation proposal, the Doctoral Candidate must meet the following requirements for earning his/her degree:
- Have all the credits according to the curriculum set by the doctoral committee.
- Have published (or accepted for publication) a refereed scientific paper derived from the work of the doctoral research.
- Have published (or submitted at least) a paper derived from doctoral research work in a JCR journal.
- Have at least one oral presentation derived from his/her research in a an international event or forum in the opinion of thesis committee.
- Write and finish a doctoral thesis (approved and signed by each of the Doctoral Thesis Committee)
- Successfully defend the doctoral thesis before the jury appointed by the Division of Graduate Studies, within a period not exceeding five years from its initial date of admission to the doctoral program.
About requirement 2: Supporting documents: (a) Copy or reprint of published paper (or an official acceptance letter), (b) Proof of paper refereeing, (c) If the paper was published in a conference proceedings, cover and index showing the paper.
About requirement 3:
Supporting documents: (a) Reprint of published paper (or an official acceptance letter), if the paper has been published or accepted for publication, (b) copy of the paper and proof of journal reeipt, if the paper has been submitted and it is still under review, (b) Proof of receipt of the item (if it is still in arbitration) or acceptance for publication; (C) Evidence that journal is in JCR.
About requirement 4: Supporting documents: (a) Proof of talk given by the student, (b) a Letter from the Doctoral Committee acknowledging this event is considered internationally prestigious at the doctoral level in the area addressed in the doctoral thesis.
Note: Because this requirement is the judgment of the doctoral committee, it is important that, before planning the potential, the student obtains the committee’s endorsement. The criterion “an event of international prestige related to the doctoral thesis” is entirely based upon the committee’s decision. Here are a list of such events (not exhaustive) of recognized international prestige forums on issues related to operations research, mathematical programming, applied probability and industrial engineering. INFORMS Annual Meeting, specific meetings of societies and subdivisions of INFORMS (eg. Winter Simulation Research Conference, INFORMS Computing Society Conference, etc.), IIE Annual Research Conference, SIAM Conference on Optimization, IPCO Conference, MPS International Symposium, EURO Meeting, specific meetings of subdivisions and workshops of EURO, IFORS meeting, ISOLDE, International Conference on Freight Transportation and Logistics (Odysseus), TRISTAN, ORS Annual Conference (Society IO UK), CORS Annual Conference (Canadian Society of IO ) Annual Conference GDR (German Society for IO), CLAIO (Latin-American Conference on Operations Research).
As part of the program it is expected that the doctoral student takes an active rol in courses and laboratories as instructor of courses of masters or undergraduate degree level. Sometimes there may be financial support for these tasks, but this training is required by the program.