Systems M.Eng. Projects

Key to the success of developing Systems Engineers who are well prepared to make a significant difference in the world is the M.Eng. project experience. These two-semester projects go beyond our diverse coursework and provide a more in-depth, hands on, and real-world opportunity to gain valuable experience in the application of Systems Engineering.

The M.Eng. program requires an engineering project of 6-9 credits completed over two semesters. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students will work with a team to solve a real-world problem. The projects vary considerably in structure, length and topic. Students will have an opportunity to select from an array of cutting edge project topics including both existing projects that are continuations year after year or from the list of new projects created every year.

We encourage you to look at some of our on-going projects listed in the M.Eng. Project Portal. You may also want to view our faculty websites to learn more about some of their latest research projects.

Systems MEng Projects FAQ

How do I select a project?

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Please see “How do I apply to a project?” for more information on this.

When will I know if I’ve been assigned a project?

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You will not be assigned to a project. This is a common misnomer. Please see “How do I apply to a project?” for more information on this.

Where can I find out about potential M.Eng. Projects? (On-Campus Students)

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A list of all currently advertised M.Eng. projects can be found at the M.Eng. project portal at the link below.

Undergraduate / Master of Engineering Projects (

You can search the project list by projects looking for “Systems Engineers” or project topics that are of most interest to you and/or your career goals.

You can also sometimes find projects that are listed on faculty’s websites, or if there is a faculty member you’d really like to work with, you can write them a cover letter and send them a resume to see if they may have any opportunities.

Regardless of how you find out about a project, pay close attention to any information on how to apply to a project. Please see “How do I apply to a project?” for valuable guidance on this.

I clicked the interest button and submitted my resume on the M.Eng. Project Portal but I haven’t received a response. What should I do? (On-Campus)

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Please note that clicking the interest button and submitting your resume on the M.Eng. Project Portal website is often NOT sufficient. Instead, look for that project’s application process as mentioned in “How do I apply to a project?”

How do I apply to a project? (On-Campus Students)

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The application process for a project is usually included in the project’s advertisement, such as in the M.Eng. Project Portal’s project description or the project’s website. If you are still uncertain on how to apply, you can contact the project directly.

Some common ways that projects are applied to are as follows

  1. Sending a cover letter and resume to the project’s advisor
  2. Completing a written application form
  3. Attending an information session and signing up for an interview
  4. Any combination of the above.

Can I only apply to M.Eng. projects advised by Systems Engineering faculty? (On-campus students)

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Although a vast majority of the Systems Engineering M.Eng. students complete their project on a project sponsored by a Systems Engineering field faculty member, students can apply to any M.Eng. project but to do so they need to follow the steps in “How do I get approval from a non-Systems M.Eng. Project?”

How do I get approval from a non-Systems M.Eng. Project? (On-campus students)

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It is critical to ensure that a Systems Engineering student’s M.Eng. project will meet their Systems Engineering degree requirements so getting approval for any M.Eng. project that is not run by a core Systems Engineering faculty member is required. Please follow the steps below:

  1. Approach the project’s faculty advisor to see if they would be interested in having a Systems Engineering student on their project.
    • They may not be aware of what benefits Systems Engineering can offer, please reference the document “WhatSEMEngStudentCanOffertoProjects” for the conversation.
  2. If the project advisor is open to having you on their project, create an outline of the responsibilities you would have & deliverables you need to create/contribute to, highlighting which ones you believe are directly related to Systems Engineering
  3. Complete the M.Eng. project petition form highlighting the Systems Engineering educational value of the project experience and how this will aid you in your career goals
    • Please include/attach the outline you made in 2.
  4. Meet with your academic advisor to review the petition and the outline.
    • Your academic advisor may suggest changes to the project and/or the work you would do on the project. If so, complete steps 2-4 again.
  5. If you academic advisor approves and has signed your petition, then and only then you should submit the petition to the GFA for the M.Eng. director’s review
    • You will be notified by the GFA if there are any problems with the petition

I completed the application process for a project but I haven’t received a response yet? (On-Campus Students)

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Check to see when is the response date for the project’s application process – this date may be different for different projects. This date is typically at least 2-3 weeks into the semester and is usually listed where the project’s other application information is listed or it may have been stated in the project’s information session.

If it is past that date, or you really can’t find the response date for the project in any of the project’s listed information, it is a good idea to follow up with the project via the contact information listed in the M.Eng. Project Portal’s project description or the project’s website.

How do I apply to a project? (DL Students)

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A description of all projects that will work well with DL students are sent out DL students prior to the start of the semester via an email from the GFA. That email also contains a project interest form and the time, date, and Zoom link for a special DL M.Eng. project info session which all DL students starting their M.Eng. project in the coming semester must attend or view the recording afterwards.

After reading the descriptions and seeing the DL M.Eng. info session, DL students should complete the M.Eng. project form for their top 3 choices and include an updated copy of resume. DL students may also use the M.Eng. project form to propose a project related to work at their company. For more on this, please see “How do I propose a project related to work at my company?”

These documents will then be sent to the GFA for the project faculty advisors to review. Students may occasionally be contacted by the faculty advisors of the projects they applied to via the M.Eng. project form.

How do I propose a project related to work at my company? (DL Students ONLY)

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As part of the M.Eng. project proposal form, DL students may propose a project based upon the work done at their company. Note – Legal restrictions indicate that M.Eng. project work must be outside of the student’s normal job responsibilities.

These proposals must also include / meet the following requirements:

  1. A note of approval from the student’s employer
  2. A clear description of the Systems Engineering aspects and educational value the project will include
  3. A high level timeline indicating what the major deliverables for the project will be
  4. A list of the resources needed to complete the project
  5. A note from the student’s employer stating a guarantee of the resources needed to complete the project, which can include but not be limited to:
    • Any needed materials, or funding for needed materials
    • Equipment usage
    • Data and other needed documents
    • Subject Matter Experts time
    • Other employee’s time
  6. Request Systems Engineering faculty who the student believes would be well suited to help advice this project.

The guarantee of resources is particularly important as otherwise a student may find the “promised” resources needed to the complete the project are no longer available, making it very difficult if not impossible for the student to complete their project.

Students considering proposing an M.Eng. project of this type should contact the Systems Engineering faculty they would like to work with as soon as possible as it may take several discussions and iterations on the proposal before it may be accepted.

I completed the application process for a project but I haven’t received a response yet? (DL Students)

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The date that DL students will be notified by email of their project acceptance is included in the email sent by the GFA that includes the M.Eng. project form. This response date is typically 2-3 weeks into the semester. If you haven’t heard anything by the response date, please reach out to the GFA directly.

When do I register for a project?

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You should only register for a project once you have been accepted to it. Simply registering for a project will not make you a part of the project.

Once you have received an acceptance email from the project, it will include the project course number and section that you will register under. It’s particularly important to pay attention to the section number, otherwise you will show up on the wrong grade sheet for the faculty and the wrong project will show up on your transcript.

Please also make sure you sign up for the correct number of credits. Please see “How many credits do I register for on a project?” and/or “What if I’d like to sign up for something other than 3 credits?”

How many credits do I register for on a project?

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First off, do not register for a project until you have been accepted to it and please see “When do I register for a project?” for more information.

When you have been accepted to a project and are going to register for it, please recognize that many projects can be taken for variable credits. Your acceptance letter to the project should include how many credits to register for. If it is not specified, it is most likely assumed that you will sign up for 3 credits as this is the by far the most common number of credits for students to participate on a project for. For more on project credits please see “What if I’d like to sign up for something other than 3 credits?” and “How many credits are needed/can count for graduation?”

What if I’d like to sign up for something other than 3 credits?

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Most projects are taken for 3 credits per semester and some projects advisors will only allow students to take the project for 3 credits, even if the credits may be listed as variable on the registrar site.

If you wish to take a different number of credits, you need to get the approval of the project advisor first and work out an agreement on how much work will need to be done for the number of credits you would like to take.

How many credits are needed/can count for graduation?

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A minimum of 6 credits of M.Eng. project credit are required but no more than 8 project credits can count towards a student’s graduation requirements. These project credits must be taken over at least 2 semesters. It is not permissible to complete the M.Eng. project requirements in a single semester.

I’m a Distance Learning (DL) student. Did my transfer credits meet my M.Eng. project requirements?

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For some distance learning students, the M.Eng. project requirement can be achieved via transfer credits or a similar experience thanks to an agreement that has been worked out with their company and Cornell. Please work with the GFA to complete the transfer credit process.

If a student or their company wishes to pursue an agreement like this, please reach out to Systems Engineering Program Manager.

I just joined my M.Eng. Project! But I still feel new to Systems Engineering and I’m not sure what to do?

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It is highly recommended that all Systems Engineering M.Eng. students repeatedly review the document “HowToBringSystemsEngBenefitToYourTeams” throughout their M.Eng. project for important insights and recommendations on the kinds of tasks they should pursue to bring benefit to their projects.