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Graduate Certificate in Systems

Our Program

Purdue Systems Collaboratory created the Graduate Certificate in Systems in Fall 2018. This interdisciplinary program is designed for Purdue graduate students (both on-campus and online) from all majors as well as continuing education professionals.

The Graduate Certificate in Systems is designed to prepare a new generation of industry and academic leaders to create holistic solutions to the most challenging and complex problems in today’s society.. Purdue alumni are known for moving technology forward, developing innovative products, creating timeless designs, and bringing about positive social change. . The key to success for many boilermaker trailblazers is systems thinking. Systems thinking teaches people how to consider the  complex interconnections between different elements of social, biological, economic, political and technological systems and turns the spotlight on the role of humans in improving and changing system designs. Whether it’s solving problems in the global energy grid or creating 3-D nanostructures, systems thinkers understand that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. This program trains scientists, economists, engineers, designers, and humanitarians to use systems thinking to make significant advancements in research and in professional contexts.

Plan of Study

The Certificate in Systems program is administered through the Office of the Provost and is governed by the PSC Educational Committee representing different Purdue colleges. The plan of study for the certificate includes three graduate SYS courses (9 credit hours) that introduce fundamentals of systems thinking by teaching systems methodologies that can be applied to a variety of complex problems — both at the micro and macro level.

The three SYS courses in the program have been previously cross-listed in the course offerings from various graduate majors. If a student from any major has completed any of these SYS courses during their graduate studies, the course can be counted towards fulfillment of the certificate requirements. 

Required Courses

SYS 50000 - Perspectives on Systems - Engineers are frequently asked to solve problems as a team to achieve a goal. However, confusion arises when proponents of one perspective interact with others without a clear understanding of the variety of SE histories and tools. Each can play an important, complementary role in the development of a robust approach to SE and the role of humans in engineering systems. This course provides an introduction to, and references for, each of 4 distinct approaches to SE concepts/tools.
SYS 51000 - Tools and Methodologies for Designing Systems - The purpose of the course is to emphasize patterns of systems thinking, to introduce systems engineering processes and methods, to introduce theory for model-based systems engineering, and to provide practice in using a model-based systems engineering tool.
SYS 53000 - Practical Systems Thinking - Engineers, social scientists, and managers frequently bring people and technology together to address complex problematic situations in an equitable way that benefits people and the environment. Multiple systems concepts and methods have been developed to address these situations, and typical courses in systems focus on a relatively small portion of the rich assortment of available approaches to addressing systems problems. This course introduces students to multiple systems concepts and methods via readings and class discussion. The students then apply these concepts and methods on team-based projects. The course will emphasize critical thinking about how the concepts and methods are applicable to the problematic situations of the projects and how well the project teams were able to perform the required activities.

Degree Seeking Students

Purdue students seeking a graduate degree will receive an official certificate once all required courses for the program are successfully completed.

Certificate-Only Students

Non-degree seeking students can also enroll in the certificate program. For students only admitted to the Systems Certificate, the official certificate will be awarded once all the required courses are successfully completed.

To enroll as a certificate-only student, go to the Purdue Graduate School website. In the program details sections, choose "Systems" as the selected graduate major and "Systems Graduate Certificate" for the Degree Objective.

For more information, please email

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