Architecture of Complex Systems

Course 1 of 4 that comprises the Architecture and Systems Engineering Professional Certificate Program. Learn complex systems, analysis of complex systems, and complexity management.

Current Run: February 11, 2019 - March 18, 2019
Duration: 5 Weeks
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours per week
Learning Format: Online
CEUs: 2.5
Cost: $849 per course / $2,499 for entire program (Over $800 savings when you sign up for complete program)

Sign Up to Receive Updates


Understanding and managing system complexity is a critical challenge today as systems continue to grow in scale and complexity. This course is designed to help engineers address changes which induce, propagate, and amplify risk in the increasingly complex products and services they are required to develop. Students will get a solid grounding in complex systems, analysis of complex systems, and complexity management.


This certificate is especially relevant for those in aerospace, automotive, and defense industries, and engineers at original equipment manufacturers (OEM). It’s also designed for systems engineering professionals, directors, and senior managers across a number of industries looking to innovate and optimize their operational, manufacturing, and design systems. Departmental teams are encouraged to apply here.


Learn about complex systems, analysis of these systems, and complexity management.

By the end of the course you will:

  • Motivate the need for system architecture by articulating the ideas of minimized rework and by offering examples of complexity in modern systems.
  • Contrast several definitions of system architecture and construct a personal definition from your career examples.
  • Differentiate systems thinking from other kinds of "thinking;" define a system, and articulate examples of things that are and are not systems. Apply system thinking to provide a perspective on a given project.
  • Describe the architecture of systems and identify both architectural decisions and non-architectural decisions.
  • Define and illustrate the system boundary and use it to identify system interfaces.
  • Identify the constituent elements in architecture representations and place these in the context of the overall documentation of the system.
  • Provide constructive criticism on the system architecture representations of others, including checking for completeness and consistency.
  • Articulate more solution-neutral and less solution-neutral framings of a problem, and evaluate how solution-neutral to be for a given problem.
  • Construct a design DSM, either by analyzing the design or by converting a graph of the system.
  • Construct a process DSM and identify how it is different from a design DSM.
  • Given a DSM, apply a sequencing algorithm to sort the components into modules or to sort tasks into groups.
  • Describe rework and articulate the principles by which an analysis of change propagation could be conducted from a database of changes.
  • Define the role of the architect and the stakeholders with whom the architect should work.
  • Define the deliverables of the architect, with references to architectural frameworks and your career examples.

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

* indicates required

boeing-logoAre you a Boeing employee? This course is offered off-hours and funded through The Boeing Learning Together Program. Please enter your Boeing email in the above form to receive additional updates.


To earn a Professional Certificate, you must complete the four courses in the program, however, courses can be taken independently as well.

Spring Dates: February 11, 2019 - July 22, 2019


Learning Format: Online

Cost: $849 per course / $2,499 for entire program (Over $800 savings when you sign up for complete program)

Total CEUs: 8.5

Enterprise pricing available for businesses and corporations. More information >


Program Highlights

Video tutorials and research-based content from a host of MIT professors.

Guest lectures from industry experts from Boeing and NASA, US Air Force, General Electric, General Motors, Apple, MAN Truck and Bus AG.

Learn online - when and where you would like - as long as you complete each module by the assigned time.

Earn a Professional Certificate and CEUs from MIT.

Robust collaborative environment to network and connect with students.

Group projects based on real-world examples.

Meet the Instructors

Chairman of the Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems online program, Ford Professor of Engineering, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Faculty Director of the Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems online program, Director of the System Architecture Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Bruce Cameron is the Director of the System Architecture Lab at MIT and a co-founder of Technology Strategy Partners (TSP), a boutique consulting firm. His research interests at MIT include technology strategy, system architecture, and the management of product platforms. Dr. Cameron has directed research projects for BP, Sikorsky, Nokia, Caterpillar, NSTAR, AMGEN, Verizon, NASA, and ESA. Prior to MIT, Dr. Cameron worked as an engagement manager at a management consultancy and as a system engineer at MDA Space Systems, and has built hardware currently in orbit. Dr. Cameron received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and graduate degrees from MIT.

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Editor-in-Chief of Systems Engineering, INCOSE Fellow

Professor, Technion and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

General Motors LGO Professor of Management Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Meet the Industry Experts

BCS Senior Systems Engineer, The Boeing Company

Commander, 45th LCSS, US Air Force

Systems Engineering Manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, The Boeing Company

Senior Systems Engineer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, The Boeing Company

Chief Technology Officer, Senior Vice President Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology, The Boeing Company

Head of Product Strategy & Product Management Truck, MAN Truck and Bus AG

Material and Product Recycling Design Engineer, Apple, Inc.

Director, Systems Engineering Boeing Defense, Space and Security, The Boeing Company

Technical Fellow, The Boeing Company

BDS MBSE and Functional Integration Manager, The Boeing Company

Senior Principal Engineer, Combustion Systems Organization, General Electric

Space Launch Systems Systems Engineering, Integration, and Test Senior Leader Boeing Defense and Space Systems, Product Development

2nd Century Engineering Strategy Director, The Boeing Company

Senior Strategist for Vehicle Systems Engineering, General Motors