Asked Questions

General Questions

If you have any questions about this program or the individual courses that comprise this program, please email:

Go to, click on the program “Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems”. Then click “Enroll.” You may be prompted to first register for a MIT xPRO account if you do not have one already. Complete this process, then continue with the checkout process and pay for the program. After you complete registration, you will receive a purchase receipt and confirmation/instructions via email.

Group registrations of 10 or more may qualify for an additional discount. Please send an email to for more information.

There are two ways to register multiple individuals at once.

  1. Once the program is added to your cart, you can select the number of seats you would like to purchase. You can then pay using a valid credit card.
  2. For a group of 10 or more individuals, you can pay via invoice. To be invoiced, please email with the number of individuals in your group you want to register. Please note that our payment terms are net zero, and all invoices must be paid prior to the course start date. Failure to remit payment before the course begins may result in removal from the program. No extensions or exceptions will be granted.

Current Run: September 11, 2017 - March 19, 2018
Program registrations must be completed by September 11, 2017. For group sales, purchases can take place up until September 6, 2017. Please note that once registration has closed, no late registrations or cancellations will be granted.

Program Registration: OPEN
Course 1 - Architecture of Complex Systems - September 11, 2017 - October 16, 2017: TBA
Course 2 - Models in Engineering - October 30, 2017 - December 4, 2017: TBA
Course 3 - Model-Based Systems Engineering: Documentation and Analysis - January 8, 2018 - February 5, 2018: TBA
Course 4 - Quantitative Methods in Systems Engineering - February 19, 2018 - March 19, 2018: TBA

US sanctions do not permit us to offer this course to learners in or ordinarily residing in Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and the Crimean region of Ukraine.

Individual participants must complete registration and pay online with a valid credit card at the time of registration. MIT xPRO accepts globally recognized major credit or debit cards that have a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or Diner's Club logo. Invoices will not be generated for individuals, or for groups of less than 10 people. However, all participants will receive a payment receipt. Payment must be received in full; payment plans are not available.

Instructions for accessing the course site will be sent to all paid registrants via email prior to the program start date. If you have not received these instructions, visit your account dashboard to login and begin the course on the advertised start date.

Cancellation requests must be submitted to

Drop Deadline for Program Refund

  • Program | Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems - September 19, 2017

Drop Deadline for Course Refund

  • Course 1 | Architecture of Complex Systems - September 19, 2017
  • Course 2 | Models in Engineering - November 6, 2017
  • Course 3 | Model-Based Systems Engineering: Documentation and Analysis - January 15, 2018
  • Course 4 | Quantitative Methods in Systems Engineering - July 17, 2017

Cancellation requests received after drop deadlines will not be eligible for a refund. To submit your request, please include your full name and order number in your email request. Refunds will be credited to the credit card used when you registered and may take up to two billing cycles to process.

Admission and fees paid cannot be deferred to a subsequent session; however, you may cancel your registration and reapply at a later date.

We cannot accommodate any substitution requests at this time. Please review the time commitment section and course schedule.

Course Questions

Carefully review the program description page, which includes a description of program content, objectives, and target audience, and any required prerequisites.

While there are no obligatory prerequisites, people with the following suggested career experience might find the program more relevant:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum Career Experience: 1-2 years of work experience in a technical field
  • Average Career Experience: 5-15 years of work experience
  • Past experience modeling, regardless of domain might be helpful. Some modeling types include for computation, physics-based simulation, testing or other. This experience will help ground you on the challenges and opportunities of modeling, but there are neither required modeling languages nor experience.
  • No management experience is required. However, some class materials will require participants to write about teamwork and general management topics as relevant to architecture and complex projects.
  • This certificate relates to System Architecture and Model-Based Systems Engineering. Incoming learners are expected to be familiar with the following concepts:
    • Systems Engineering “V” model
    • Product Development Reference Models: Stage-Gate Reviews, Waterfall, Spiral, Agile
    • Requirements, including principles for developing clear and concise requirements, and requirements flow down and management tools
    • Identifying customer needs and voice of the customer analysis
    • Spreadsheet software (such as Excel) and simple spreadsheet models
  • Preferred (but not obligatory) familiarity or experience in:
    • Early-stage product development
    • Product lifecycle, including aftermarket and maintenance
    • Functional analysis
    • Basic concept development methods (Morphological Matrix, QFD)
    • Model-Based System Engineering (MBSE)
    • Integrating or connecting models together
    • Verification and validation

The program starts on September 11, 2017 and concludes on March 19, 2018. Each course in the program runs about 4-5 weeks with one-week breaks in between each course.

  • Course #1: Architecture of Complex Systems
    • Runs September 11, 2017 - October 16, 2017 (5 weeks)
  • Course #2: Models in Engineering
    • Runs October 30, 2017 - December 4, 2017 (4 weeks)
  • Course #3: Model-Based Systems Engineering: Documentation and Analysis
    • Runs January 8, 2018 - February 5, 2018 (4 weeks)
  • Course #4: Quantitative Methods in Systems Engineering
    • Runs February 19, 2018 - March 19, 2018 (4 weeks)

The time commitment per week is around five hours of work, between viewing videos, reading content, completing practice activities, and working on application/project assignments.

There are roughly 10 videos per week, but the course is not intended to be majority video-watching. Rather, it is active - learning focused. 

The course is self-paced in that learners can go through the content on their own schedule. There are, however,  assignments that are time-bound and specific because they require coordination of student submissions.

There is also a message board for our learners to use, and discussion is encouraged. The professor will not be directly responding to questions, but there is a team of TAs to moderate questions.

Program materials for each course will be available to registered and paid participants for 90 days after the course's end date. The course materials are not downloadable, but you are welcome to take your own notes.

Participants who successfully complete the program and all required activities will receive a Professional Certificate from MIT. In addition, a Certificate of Completion will be awarded for each course successfully completed. Letter grades are not awarded for this program. All four courses that comprise the program are pass/fail.

This course does not carry MIT credits. MIT offers non-credit/non-degree professional programs for a global audience. Participants may not imply or state in any manner, written or oral, that MIT or MIT xPRO Education is granting academic credit for enrollment in this professional course. None of our Digital courses or programs award academic credit or degrees. Letter grades are not awarded for this course.

Course participants who successfully complete the four courses, and thus the program, are eligible to receive 8.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from MIT xPRO. CEUs are a nationally recognized means of recording non-credit/non-degree study. They are accepted by many employers, licensing agencies, and professional associations as evidence of a participant’s serious commitment to the development of a professional competence. CEUs are based on hours of instruction. For example: One CEU = 10 hours of instruction. CEUs may not be applied toward any MIT undergraduate or graduate level course. The CEU breakdown by course is as follows:

  • Course #1: Architecture of Complex Systems (2.5 CEUs)
  • Course #2: Models in Engineering (2.0 CEUs)
  • Course #3: Model-Based Systems Engineering: Documentation and Analysis (2.0 CEUs)
  • Course #4: Quantitative Methods in Systems Engineering (2.0 CEUs)

Participants who successfully complete a Digital Programs course are considered MIT xPRO Education Alumni. Only those who complete an undergraduate or graduate degree are considered MIT Alumni.

Each video for this course has been transcribed and the text can be found on the right side of the video when the captions function is turned on. Synchronized transcripts allow students to follow along with the video and navigate to a specific section of the video by clicking the transcript text. All transcripts are also available for download. Students can use transcripts of media-based learning materials for study and review.

This course has been specifically designed to engage you in models and methods to manage complex systems, without the use of substantial coding experience or proprietary coding packages. The focus in the course is on substantive challenges that arise when building complex systems, not in having you build large or complex models.

As such, three applications are required:

  • The ability to download and run Microsoft Excel files with macros. Although you may be able to use other software to view the files, generally the macros will not work outside of Microsoft Excel
  • The ability to download and edit Microsoft PowerPoint files. There are several programs that can do so
  • The ability to download and read PDFs

In several places in the course optional links to models are provided, should you wish to explore models in more detail. These are often given for Matlab files. As these are optional, Matlab is not required for this course.

Access our courses requires an Internet connection, as videos are only available via online streaming, and cannot be downloaded for offline viewing. Please take note of your company's restrictions for viewing content and/or firewall settings. Our courseware works best with current versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 10 and above. For the best possible experience, we recommend switching to an up-to-date version of Chrome. If you do not have Chrome installed, you can get it for free here:

We are unable to fully support access with mobile devices at this time. While many components of your courses will function on a mobile device, some may not.


Course materials blend the following pedagogical strategies to best achieve the learning objectives of the course and individual modules.

Instructivism: Teacher-centered learning where the instructor defines the learning goals and presents relevant content.

      • Tutorial videos enhanced with animations and graphics
      • Text-based pages with supplementary pictures, charts, exhibits and illustrations

 Learning-by-doing approach that encourages learners to “construct” their own understandings through the act of creating. Ideally learners create an artifact that a real-world practitioner would create.


      • Project-based work
      • Graded and ungraded practice activities

Anchored Instruction:
 A learning experience is “anchored” in a central narrative such as a case study or piece of media. Learners see new knowledge or skills applied in context. At regular intervals, learners utilize the knowledge or skills outlined in the anchor in various parallel contexts enabling them to cognitively situate instructivist content within the central narrative.


      • Case studies
      • Project-based work

 Learning through others. Social interaction emphasizes the cycle of sharing and consuming information as a member of a social learning network as a means of refining mental models and forming interdisciplinary connections. Learners are encouraged to make connections and identify patterns between knowledge nodes through their interactions with their peers. They are also encouraged to seek answers to questions from the community, with course staff supporting these interactions.


      • Discussion forum collaborations
      • Project-based work collaboration
      • Polls and word clouds with real-time results

All courses require some amount of team-based projects. Group work achieves an important pedagogical goal: To have systems architects work together to solve a problem (aside from other upsides like networking value, etc.)

Group work on projects can be as flexible as the learner desires in terms of both group size and meeting time. While no synchronous meeting time is required, many groups use their own virtual collaboration tools such as Skype, Google Hangout, and WebEx to meet. Other teams leverage the collaboration tool in the course to connect.

Links to additional readings are provided within the course for those who want to dig deeper into the content. There is no required book for the certificate program, however, students are welcome to review and purchase Dr. Bruce Cameron’s book System Architecture: Strategy and Product Development for Complex Systems (Pearson 2015).