Around Cornell

News directly from Cornell's colleges and centers

Cornell Systems Engineering offers online professional certificates

Cornell Systems Engineering is meeting the growing need for professional education by launching the Professional Systems Engineering Certificates – Distance Learning (PSEC-DL) program through Cornell Continuing Education.

Dave Schneider, professor of practice and director of systems engineering M.Eng. studies, teaching a systems engineering course that is now offered as part of the Professional Systems Engineering Certificates – Distance Learning program.

The new program, launched on March 20, 2024, was built on the success of the Systems Engineering distance-learning Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program, and allows students to earn the same certificates offered to those enrolled in the degree program, but without the same time and financial commitment a full-time M.Eng. degree requires.

Through the PSEC-DL program, students can choose to earn up to five certificates: Systems Engineering Specialist, Sociotechnical Systems, Systems Engineering Design, International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Associate or Certified Systems Engineering Professional, and Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt Certification (certified by the Council of Six Sigma). The courses for these certificates can be completed online and are offered during both the fall and spring semesters.

“The bottom line is that these are certificates valued by industry leaders,” said Dave Schneider, professor of practice and director of systems engineering M.Eng. studies, “and many of the courses required for these certificates have received honored distinctions from industry and professional societies.”

For example, the course SYSEN 5100 – Model Based Systems Engineering was the first experience in the world to earn INCOSE knowledge-exam equivalency, and for those who join INCOSE and do well in the course, they will also become certified as an INCOSE ASEP or CSEP. The same course is currently sponsored by Boeing. Additionally, elements of the course are used within Lockheed Martin’s largest Engineering Leadership Development Program.

Because the PSEC-DL program is offered entirely online and students have flexibility each week for completing coursework and assignments, it is ideal for full-time professionals seeking to enhance their careers and develop new systems engineering skills. The courses offered for the certificates are the same courses offered for the M.Eng. program and are taught by the same Cornell Systems Engineering faculty. PSEC-DL program students will be in class and participating in course work with currently enrolled on-campus and distance-learning M.Eng. students.

“Our online Systems Engineering Professional Certificates – Distance Learning program was designed to benefit any engineer who is responsible for the creation, production or operation of complex systems,” said Oliver Gao, Howard Simpson Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of systems engineering. “The program is ideal for professionals recognizing the value of systems engineering in a variety of careers, and it is also valuable for those working in design, life-cycle management and project management.”

Certificates can be earned either through individual courses or sets of three to four courses. The certificates are carefully designed to complement each other. As a result, once a student earns one certificate, they may only need to complete one or two additional courses to earn another.

For students who are considering an M.Eng. degree, but are unsure if they have the time or finances to commit to a full-time program, the PSEC-DL program offers a pathway to gradually transition into an M.Eng. degree. Up to nine credits earned in the PSEC-DL program can be credited towards a Cornell M.Eng. degree or transferred to a degree program at another university.

To learn more about the PSEC-DL program, visit the PSEC-DL website, or attend one of these information sessions: Thursday, April 11, at 12 p.m. on Zoom or Tuesday, May 7, at 3 p.m. on Zoom.

The PSEC-DL program is accepting applications for the fall 2024 semester until May 31, and for the 2025 spring semester until Dec. 1, 2024.

Media Contact

Media Relations Office