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Systems Engineering Major

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Systems Engineering

2,020 Master's Degrees Annually
114 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#69 in Popularity (Master's)
$113,680 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Systems Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many systems engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 2,020
Graduate Certificate 505
Doctor’s Degree 114

What Systems Engineering Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to systems engineering were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Systems Engineering Majors

Systems Engineering majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for Systems Engineering Majors

When studying systems engineering, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for Systems Engineering Majors

As a systems engineering major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Systems Engineering Major?

People with a systems engineering degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Energy Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Manufacturing Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Mechatronics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Solar Energy Systems Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Wind Energy Engineers 6.4% $96,980

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering?

2,020 Master's Degrees Annually
24% Percent Women
22% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This major tends to be male dominated. About 76% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of systems engineering majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Systems Engineering Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 150
Black or African American 91
Hispanic or Latino 158
White 892
International Students 504
Other Races/Ethnicities 225

Geographic Diversity

Systems Engineering appeals to people across the globe. About 25.0% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • Mexico

How Much Do Systems Engineering Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in systems engineering was $94,700 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $91,300 (25th percentile) and $97,100 (75th percentile).

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We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to systems engineering so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $99,410 to $148,970 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to systems engineering. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Systems Engineering Major  ( 99410 to 148970 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with systems engineering require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for systems engineering careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.5%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.9%
Some College Courses 2.7%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 62.1%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 5.9%
Master’s Degree 11.9%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.5%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.6%
Doctoral Degree 6.3%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.5%

Online Systems Engineering Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 109 schools offered some type of systems engineering program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 5 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 1 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 0 0
Bachelor’s Degree 35 17
Post-Baccalaureate 5 1
Master’s Degree 78 31
Post-Master’s 8 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 31 3
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Systems Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a systems engineering grad is $113,680 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 185% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,475,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to systems engineering.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Civil Engineering 21,938
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001
General Engineering 11,739
Industrial Engineering 9,410
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 7,069
Materials Engineering 3,538
Other Engineering 2,982
Environmental Engineering 2,850
Petroleum Engineering 2,269
Operations Research 1,745
Agricultural Engineering 1,554
Engineering Science 1,515
Architectural Engineering 1,019
Nuclear Engineering 1,014
Engineering Physics 979
Robotics Engineering 943
Manufacturing Engineering 932
Construction Engineering 865
Marine Engineering 481
Geoscience Engineering 424
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 387
Biological Engineering 374
Textile Engineering 366
Ocean Engineering 346
Mining Engineering 340
Engineering Mechanics 314
Metallurgical Engineering 235
Biochemical Engineering 118
Ceramic Engineering 101
Surveying Engineering 89
Electromechanical Engineering 65
Forest Engineering 52
Paper Science & Engineering 44

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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