M. Kudret Yurtseven, Nureddin Kýrkavak, Haluk S. Balkan,

Ferda C. Çetinkaya and Yavuz Günalay

Department of Industrial Engineering, Eastern Mediterranean University,

Gazi Magosa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus


This paper summarizes the main features of an interdisciplinary M.S. program in Systems Engineering Management, proposed by the Department of Industrial Engineering at Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus. First, the reasons and justification for the proposal are stated; this is followed by the formulation of the program objectives and the description of the major aspects of the Curriculum.


Rapid changes in technology and the socio-economic structure of the World appear to create highly complex problems which require integrated solutions that place environment, health and safety at the forefront of research, forcing reforms in engineering education philosophy. It seems that there will be a shift in engineering education, highly likely in a direction recommended by the Engineering Directorate, the National Science Foundation (NSF) of USA . The following is the major recommendation that was developed in a workshop organized by the Peden and Ernst (1995) : ".....systemic change in engineering education will require a concurrent change from the predominant engineering school academic culture based on compartmentalization of knowledge, individual specialization, and a research-based reward structure to one that values integration as well as specialization, teamwork as well as individual achievement, and educational research and innovation as well as research in engineering sciences". Similar views have been expressed by many researchers, including Todd (1996), Singh (1996), Kocaoglu (1995), Badawy (1995) and Shenbar (1994, 1997). The emergence of Engineering Management type programs can be viewed as one of the a strong indicators for this change. Kocaoglu (1995), the President of the IEEE Engineering Management Society, discusses this issue in a short article. In the past, engineering graduates had no choice but to enrol into an MBA (Master of Business Administration) program if they had any interest in the management area. Nowadays, they have to make a choice among an MBA, or an MEM (Master of Engineering Management), or an MOT ( Management of Technology Management) type of a program. Badawy (1995) presents quite an informing comparative study on these three types of programs. He suggests that neither the MBA nor the MEM programs have the appropriate orientation to educate engineers and technologists for a future carrier in the management of technology . His reasoning is that the MBA will add value in knowledge development but not necessarily skill development, and that the trust of the MEM programs are not broad enough to cover the spectrum of issues and intricacies of managing technology as a strategic corporate resource. He favors MOT programs since he believes that managing technology is an integrative process, and that MOT is not a functional activity like engineering management; rather it focuses on integrating the technology side of the house (i.e., R&D, engineering, manufacturing, etc.) with the business side of the house (i.e., marketing, finance, human resources, etc.), hence has a strategic and integrative trust. Our view in these matters is as follows: although the MOT programs are better in the coverage of engineering and technological concepts, compared to the MBA programs, they still do not provide sufficient depth in this respect, hence an MEM type of a program is preferable. Furthermore, we think that the MEM programs are more suitable for semi-industrialized countries, such as Turkey; the MOT programs seem to be oriented towards needs of countries with highly complex industries. No program in Systems Engineering Management (SEM) exists in the Mediterranean Region and in the Middle East, and indeed there are a few in the world (Shenbar, 1994). Hence, it is the belief of the faculty of Industrial Engineering Department that the establishment of such a program will attract many students from different countries and will make significant contributions to the educational and research activities in our university, and enhance the international reputation of EMU. In order to evaluate the interest of our senior engineering students, the Department has designed and distributed a questionnaire (Yurtseven, et al 1996). The results indicate that there is a fairly strong interest among students in an interdisciplinary MS program, in particular in a SEM type of a program. The most striking reason in this interest seems to be the competitive edge the program will provide to its graduates in the job market.

The Program Objectives

A general description of a SEM program is given by Shenbar (1994). He views a systems engineer as a person who is capable of integrating knowledge from different disciplines and seeing problems with a holistic view by applying systems approach. Since no system is created by a single person, he claims, systems engineering is strongly linked to management, hence he identifies his proposed program as SEM. The origins of Systems Engineering can be traced to the large military and space development programs in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, however, it has wider applications in various branches of industry and society. It is seen as an effective means of integrating distinct disciplines and technologies into an overall complicated purpose. Designing, operating and controlling complex systems always requires an engineering part as well as a managerial part. The importance and the closeness of the relationship between the systems engineering function and the program management function can not be overemphasized. Systems engineers often become program managers and many such managers perform systems engineering duties; both positions are part of the same career ladder (Shenbar,1996). The program presented in this paper is strongly influenced by Shenbar's approach, although some ideas have also been borrowed from the MEM programs. The Curriculum is prepared to accommodate all non-industrial engineering graduates; some special requirements may be imposed on the graduates of industrial engineering departments. The graduates of the program are expected to: (1) recognize operational needs, identify market and technological opportunities, forecast the development of operational and technological processes; (2) formulate new concepts and devise system solution capability of analyzing and designing large-scale systems while integrating various disciplines; (3) manage projects of design and development of systems while considering the aspects of cost, quality, reliability, manufacturing, marketing, maintenance, service, and an overall view of the system's life cycle.

The Curriculum

To achieve the above stated objectives, the curriculum is directed towards achieving the following components of knowledge and skills: holistic thinking capability and conceptual analysis; methodologies for performing systems engineering management in its various stages; analytical, mathematical, and statistical tools that are used for systems analysis, systems design, and systems problem-solving; basic principles and theory in different technological and engineering disciplines; economic, financial and other non-technical managerial and business disciplinary areas that are relevant to systems engineering; interpersonal skills; leadership, organization and administrative skills. The courses have been designed to cover the following five components that are considered to be essential in a SEM program (Shenbar, 1994). (1) basic studies, (2) disciplinary studies, (3) specific systems, (4) systems engineering-concepts, and tools, and, (5) management studies. The proposed curriculum is given below:

First Semester: SEM 501 Systems Engineering (3,0) 3

SEM 511 Modeling and Analysis of Systems (3,0) 3

MGMT XXX Systems Management (3,0) 3

XXXX XXX Technical Elective (3,0) 3

SEM 500 M.S. Thesis

Second Semester: SEM 532 Topics in Production Management (3,0) 3

SEM 552 Current Issues in Technology Management (3,0) 3

ECON XXX Economics and Finance for Engineering (3,0) 3

XXXX XXXX Technical Elective (3,0) 3

SEM 500 M.S. Thesis

Fundamentals of Systems Engineering will be taught in SEM 501. The course on Systems Modelling and Analysis will cover mostly Operations Research and Mathematical Programming topics. Production Management and Technology Management will be taught from an Industrial Engineering point of view. The courses on Systems Management and Economics and Finance for Engineering will complement the management component of the course. The students will be given the opportunity to take two elective courses in their areas of interest, whether it is engineering or management. Some technical elective courses to be offered by the Industrial Engineering Department are as follows:

System Design, Cognitive Systems Engineering, Knowledge-based Engineering Systems, Decision Analysis, Human Factors Management, Ethics in Engineering, Applications in Mathematical Programming and Optimization, Advanced Topics in Inventory Planning and Control, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Service Systems, R&D Management and Technology Transfer, Legal Environment, Systems Dynamics, Artifical Intelligence and Expert Systems, Forecasting and Time Series Analysis, Recent Topics in Quality Management, Design and Analysis of Experiments, Research in IE, Reliability Engineering, Multi-Attribute Decision Making, Technology Management, Network Analysis and Project Management.


The interdisciplinary MS program proposed in this study is expected to attract considerable number of engineering graduates who wish to educate themselves in management, but find MBA programs too detached from technology. The program has fairly strong roots in engineering, but it also covers system management aspects properly. It is hoped that the graduates of the program will be the leaders of designers, operators and controllers of complex human-machine systems in the global market.


Badawy, M.K. 1995. Educating Technologists in Management of Technology. IEEE Engineering Management Review. (Fall):74-81.

Kocaoglu, D. 1995. Growth of Engineering and Technology Management. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. 42(4):296.

Peden, I.C., Ernst, E.W. (Co-Chairs) 1995. Systemic Engineering Education Reform: An Action Agenda, Recommendations of a Workshop Convened by the NSF Engineering Directorate. Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Shenbar, A. 1994. Systems Engineering Management: A Framework for the Development of a Multidisciplinary Discipline. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. (24)2:327-332.

Shenbar, A. 1997. The New Taxonomy of Systems; Toward an Adaptive Systems Engineering framework. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics; Part A: Systems and Humans. (27)2: 137-145.

Singh, A. 1996. Examination of an Emerging Consciousness in Engineering Management. Journal of Management in Engineering. (July/August): 50-57.

Todd, M. J. 1996. 21st Century Leadership and Technology. Journal of Management in Engineering, (July/August): 40-49.

Yurtseven, M.K., Kýrkavak, N., Balkan, H.S., M.S. in Systems Engineering Management: A New Program Proposed by Department of Industrial Engineering, 1996. Internal Report No:IE IR01-96, Department of Industrial Engineering, Eastern Mediterranean University, G.Magusa, North Cyprus.

ISDC '97 CD Sponsor