The SEM program is designed to be flexible to accommodate different student backgrounds, allowing students to pick up areas in which they are deficient, while still guaranteeing core competency in systems engineering and systems management. The program has both a thesis and a non-thesis option. All part- time SEM students are assigned initially to the non-thesis option. Those wishing to elect the thesis option may do so by obtaining the approval of a faculty thesis supervisor. Part-time students are encouraged to enroll in only one course during their first semester and in no more than two courses during any semester they are also working full-time.

The SEM degree requires a total of 36 semester credit hours consisting of 12 courses in the non-thesis option or 10 courses plus six semester credit hours of thesis credit for the thesis option. All students must have an academic advisor and an approved degree plan. Courses taken without advisor approval do not count toward the 36 semester credit hour requirement. Successful completion of the approved course of studies leads to the SEM degree.