Models in Engineering

Course 2 of 4 that comprises the Architecture and Systems Engineering Professional Certificate Program. Learn to analyze complex models to make effective decisions.

Current Run: November 5, 2018 - December 10, 2018
Duration: 4 Weeks
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours per week
Learning Format: Online
CEUs: 2.0
Cost: $849 per course / $2,499 for entire program (Over $800 savings when you sign up for complete program)

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Engineering practice is full of models—from equations to prototypes to simulations. But which should you choose and when should you use which models? In this course, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of practical and conceptual modeling considerations so you can make more effective decisions supported by modeling analysis.


This course 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.


All models have flaws. Learn how to analyze complex models with an objective-driven perspective and decipher between the right and wrong environments for model implementation.

By the end of the course you will:

  • Explain what types of models exist in engineering and how they can be organized into an overall taxonomy.
  • Enumerate the purposes for which models are created in engineering and evaluate the success of modeling for those purposes against your own career experience.
  • Describe a potential model development process, leading to models of increasing levels of fidelity.
  • Demonstrate through examples how models are used to make decisions in engineering and how models can be used for optimization, including the definition of design variables, fixed parameters, objective functions and constraints.
  • Evaluate the credibility and fidelity of existing models using a set of clear criteria.
  • Evaluate and explain whether it is better to pursue a single model or an ensemble of models in support of a specific problem/decision. This includes the resolution of conflicts when multiple models provide contradictory results.
  • Explain the basic principles of combining subsystem models together into a system model in a multidisciplinary computational environment.
  • Understand the basic principles of verifying and validating models.
  • Examine the tradeoffs between the use of physical and virtual prototypes for system verification, validation, and testing. Decide when to invest in additional modeling versus additional physical testing of systems.

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

Current Fall Date: September 17, 2018 - March 18, 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

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

Boeing Assistant Professor, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Astronaut Candidate

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Director of Engineering and Quality, Dragon Innovation

Meet the Industry Experts

BCS Senior Systems Engineer, The Boeing Company

Senior Systems Engineer, Product Development, The Boeing Company

Senior Member of Technical Staff, DSO National Laboratories, Singapore

Graduate Student in the System Design and Management Program and Research Assistant at System Dynamics Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Senior Systems Engineer Boeing Designated Expert, The Boeing Company

CEO, DfR Solutions

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

Systems Engineering Manager, Boeing Defence UK

Technical Fellow, The Boeing Company

Senior Principal Engineer, Combustion Systems Organization, General Electric

Senior Strategist for Vehicle Systems Engineering, General Motors