About Us

Systems Engineering is the process by which we understand a complex need and then develop, test, and deploy elegant, harmonious, and effective solutions to meet that need. A solution is elegant when it appears simpler than the need that it fills. It is harmonious when it works well with all other systems in the context of that need. Whether you are designing a consumer product to bring to market or tackling a grand global challenge such as food safety, systems engineering has the analytical, design, and leadership tools you need to be successful.

We created the Systems Engineering Program in response to pleas from industry for engineers who not only had solid depth in a particular undergraduate discipline but who can also rise above disciplinary boundaries and take leadership from a systems perspective. We have aligned five of the world’s most renowned engineering departments and other faculty from across Cornell University to create an interdisciplinary program with unprecedented depth and strength. This remarkable combination is at the core of our interdisciplinary approach. Whether you are a recent engineering graduate or a working professional, you will find we have educational offerings geared to this point in your career: the point at which you start to take a systems view.

Oliver Gao

At Cornell, Systems Engineering is about the real world—the complicated and messy real world. Yes, you learn the methodologies for design and analysis. You also learn the unwritten rules. That everything connects to everything. That every choice has a ripple effect. That every decision has a price—and you have to trade off until the price and performance are right.

— H. Oliver Gao, Director, Systems Engineering