Systems Science and Engineering Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Calculus I (MATH 104)
  • Mechanics and Wave Motion (PHYS 0150)
  • Circuits, Signals, Networks and Systems (ESE 1110)
  • SSH Elective
  • Calculus II (MATH 114)
  • Engineering Electromagnetics (ESE 1120)
  • Programming in Java (CIS 1100)
  • SSH Elective
  • Free Elective

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Calculus III (MATH 0240)
  • Intro to Biology (BIOL 1101)
  • Decision Models (ESE 2040)
  • Intro to Dynamic Systems (ESE 2100)
  • Engineering Ethics (EAS 2030)
  • Linear Algebra (MATH 3120)
  • Engineering Probability (ESE 3010)
  • Signal and Information Processing (ESE 2240)
  • Programming Languages (CIS 1200)

Junior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Statistics for Data Science (ESE 4020)
  • Systems Design Project Lab (ESE 4210)
  • Stochastic Systems Analysis (ESE 3030)
  • Open Engineering Elective
  • SSH Elective
  • Systems Design Methodology (any non-freshman engineering course)
  • Info Systems Elective 1
  • Info Systems Elective 2
  • Technology Management Elective
  • SSH Elective

Senior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Senior Design Project I (ESE 4500)
  • Info Systems Elective 3
  • Societal Problem Elective 1
  • SSH Elective
  • Free Elective
  • Senior Design Project II (ESE 4510)
  • Societal Problem Elective 2
  • Societal Problem Elective 3
  • SSH Elective
  • Free Elective

Societal Problem Application Electives (SPA)

The Societal Application Elective requirement is designed to give SSE majors the opportunity to explore the existing or potential use of systems engineering tools and concepts to address pressing societal challenges, needs and opportunities. The following list of approved courses is not intended to be exhaustive but rather illustrative of the broad diversity of offerings in other departments across the University that can be used to fulfill this requirement. All three courses must be chosen from the main list below. If a student wishes to make an exception, the request will need the undergraduate chairs final approval.

Biological Systems

  • PHYS 2280/BCHE 2280 Physical Models of Biological Systems
  • BE 5400/CBE 5400 Principles of Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering
  • BE 5550/CBE 5550/MEAM 5550 Nanoscale Systems Biology
  • BE 445 Engineering and Biological Principles in Cancer
  • BE 486 Signal Analysis and Processing (prereq BE301, but maybe ESE 224 adequate)
  • BE 5660/ESE 5660 Networked Neuroscience
  • BE 5840/MATH 5840 Mathematics of Medical Imaging and Measurements
  • BIOL 4536 Introduction to Computational Biology & Biological Modeling

Biology is undergoing a rapid revolution from a descriptive to a quantitative science. Because every aspect of social life is impacted in many different ways by insights and methods from biology, there are many opportunities to apply systems thinking and tools to the emerging new biological disciplines with significant social impact. The present list includes courses for which the quantitative aspects of the science are well enough established that the links to model based systems concepts and tools are immediate.

Human Factors

  •  ESE 5430 Human System Engineering


  • EAS 3010 Climate Policy and Technology
  • CBE 3750 Intro to Environmental Systems
  • CBE 543 Sustainable Development and Water Residential Systems
  • OIDD 2610/BEPP 2610 Risk Analysis and Environmental Management
  • ENVS 3550 Sustainable Goods
  • BEPP 3050 Risk Management


  • EAS 4010 Energy and Its Impacts: Technology, Environment, Economics, Sustainability
  • EAS 4020 Renewable Energy and Its Impacts: Technology, Environment, Economics, Sustainability
  • EAS 4030 Energy Systems and Policy
  • ENMG 5020 Intro to Energy Policy
  • MEAM 5030 Direct Energy Conversion: from Macro to Nano

There is by now a broad and deep agreement within the climatological sciences that anthropogenic disturbances have begun to change the earth’s climate in ways that will have increasingly dramatic social impact. The present list includes courses respecting which the links to quantitative systems concepts and tools are immediate.

Quantitative Modeling

  • OIDD 2200 Introduction to Operations Management
  • OIDD 2240 Analytics for Service Operations
  • OIDD 3190 Advanced Decision Systems: Evolutionary Computation
  • OIDD 3530 Mathematical Modeling and its Applications in Finance
  • FNCE 2370 Data Science for Finance
  • FNCE 3920 Financial Engineering
  • ECON 4130 Market Design
  • STAT 5200 Applied Econometrics I

Business systems offer myriad engineering opportunities with huge social impact at the interface between “soft” behavioral, descriptive phenomena and “hard,” formally represented quantitative processes. The present list includes courses that focus on expanding and exploiting the role of formal representations and quantitative analysis in business systems applications.

City Planning

  • CPLN 5010 Quantitative Planning Analysis Methods
  • CPLN 5050 Planning by Numbers
  • CPLN 5200 Introduction to Housing, Community and Economic Development
  • CPLN 5500 Introduction to Transportation Planning
  • CPLN 6210 Metropolitan Food System


  • CPLN 5500 Introduction to Transportation Planning
  • CPLN 6500/ESE 5480 Transportation Planning Methods (pre-req CPLN505)
  • CPLN 6540 The Practice of Transportation Planning: Crafting Policies and Building Infrastructure
  • CPLN 7500/ESE 5500 Advance Transportation Seminar

Within the domain of social studies, the design and management of human transportation systems offers one of the most established venues for formal modeling and analysis. The present list includes courses respecting which the links to model based systems concepts and tools are immediate.

Chemical Processing

  • CBE 5250 Modeling, Simulations, and Optimization of Chemical Processes

Although many of the technical engineering electives available to SSE majors already address systems properties of physical devices and technology, our present SSE curriculum does not offer many connections to chemical engineering systems despite their huge social impact and importance. The present list is intended to facilitate making that connection.


  • ESE 4070/ESE 5070 Introduction to Networks and Protocols
  • ESE 408 Data Communications

Today’s society benefits from a world-wide infrastructure that permits the exchange of information between physically separate points. Planning, optimization, and implementation of this infrastructure is rich in applications for systems engineering.


  • MEAM 5100 Design of Mechatronic Systems
  • MEAM 5200 Introduction to Robotics
  • MEAM 6200 Advanced Robotics
  • ESE 6500 Learning in Robotics

Our society is increasingly exploiting human-built machines that manipulate objects in the physical world. The design, optimization, and deployment of these machines demands the trans-disciplinary skills embodied in systems engineering and leverages model-based system engineering.

Machine Intelligence

  • CIS 4190/CIS 5190 Applied Machine Learning
  • CIS 5200 Machine Learning
  • CIS 5210 Artificial Intelligence
  • CIS 5810 Computer Vision and Computational Photography
  • ESE 5460 Principles of Deep Learning
  • ESE 6500 Learning in Robotics
  • STAT 4760 Applied Probability Models in Marketing

The use of computers to automatically identify patterns in data and give responses that would mimic or exceed the intelligent answer that a human would give is becoming a powerful tool to address many societal-scale problems, including business, health, manufacturing, transportation, and logistics. These courses build upon the quantitative signal and information processing and decision making skills in systems engineering and show how they can be expanded to engineer knowledge and learning systems.

For students entering Fall 2017 and beyond: 40 CU SSE CPG

Degree Requirements: 

Entered Fall 2020 or Later