Courses » Systems Engineering: Theory & Practice

Systems Engineering: Theory & Practice


Systems engineering is a discipline that utilizes an inter-disciplinary problem-solving approach across the entire technical effort irrespective of whether the systems or the systems of systems are for military, industrial, commercial or civil applications. This course will provide an overview of both theory and practice of the systems engineering discipline along with systems engineering design approach. The aim of the course is also to equip students with capability to develop system solutions that optimally fulfill customer objectives with available resources. Focus will be on creating know-how on solving open-ended problems, utilizing creativity, problem formulation, generation of need statements, requirements analysis, alternative solutions generation and examination, concurrent engineering design, enforcing various realistic aspects such as safety, reliability, manufacturability, operations, aesthetics, ethics, and sustainability.

  • Students of all engineering disciplines, specifically, Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Chemical, and Computer Science

CORE/ELECTIVE: Will be updated soon

UG/PG: Will be updated soon

PREREQUISITES: The student should have either completed an engineering degree or is enrolled in the program and have completed at least six semesters of the curriculum

INDUSTRY SUPPORT: HAL, BHEL, BEL, L&T, Automotive companies, Aerospace and defense companies, DRDO, Boeing, Lockheed, Airbus, Brahmos, ISRO, VSSC, etc.

431 students have enrolled already!!


Deepu Philip is a faculty of Industrial & Management Engg. Department and Design Programme of IIT Kanpur. He works in the area of Production and Operations, Systems Simulation, Product Life Cycle Management, Unmanned Aerial Systems, and Systems Engineering. He holds bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering with his doctorate in Industrial & Management Engineering from MSU Bozeman. He has both academic and industrial experience with leading organizations of the world. He has experience in designing and implementing complex system of systems in different fields including defense, aviation, fertilizer, strategic chemical plants, transportation, banking, automation, health care, energy, and communication.


Week 1  :
  • Systems engineering – what is, origin, and examples
  • Systems engg as a profession    
  • Power of systems engg and examples    
  • Systems engg viewpoint, perspectives, domains    
  • Systems engg fields, approaches, activities, and products
Week 2 
  • Complex system structure-building blocks, hierarchy, interfaces
  • Complex system structure-environment, interactions, complexity    
  • System development process – life cycle,evolutionary characteristics
  • Systems engg method    
  • Systems testing throughout development
Week 3  :
  • Managing systems development, risks, work breakdown structure (WBS), systems engg management plan (SEMP)
  • Systems risk management, organizing for systems engg
  • Need analysis – originating, operations, functional, and feasibility
  • Need validation, systems ops requirement    
  • System requirements development, performance requirements
Week 4 
  • Implementing concept exploration, validating requirements
  • Concept definition – selection and validation, functional analysis and allocation 
  • Systems architecture, system modeling languages, Model-Based Systems Engg (MBSE)
  • Decision making, modeling for decisions    
  • Simulation, Trade-off analysis

Week 5  :
  • Engg development stage – program risk reduction, prototype development for risk mitigation
  • Development testing, risk reduction
  • Revision of functional analysis and design
  • Overview of probability data analysis
  • Hypothesis testing
Week 6 
  • Engineering design – implementing system building blocks, component design
  • Design validation, change management
  • Concepts of reliability, redundancy
  • Concepts of maintainability, availability, producibility
  • User interface design and GUI
Week 7 
  • Integration, testing and evaluating total system
  • Test planning and preparation, system integration
  • Developmental and operational test and evaluation
  • Engineering for production, transition from development to production
  • Production operations - 1
Week 8  :
  • Production operations - 2
  • Installation, maintenance and upgrading
  • Installation testing
  • In-service support
  • Upgrades and modernization

  • Systems Engineering Second ed. – Kossiakoff, A., Sweet, W.N., Seymour, S.J., and Biemer S.M., John Wiley Sons Inc., New Jersey, 2011
  • International Council of Systems Engineering, Systems Engineering Handbook, A guide for System Life Cycle Processes and Activities, version 3.2.1, January 2011.
  • Systems Engineering Fundamentals, Department of Defense, Defense Acquisition University, Systems Engineering Fundamentals, 2001.
  • The exam is optional for a fee.
  • Date and Time of Exams: April 28 (Saturday) and April 29 (Sunday) :  Afternoon session: 2pm to 5pm
  • Exam for this course will be available in one session on both 28 and 29 April.
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.


  • Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
  • 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of  Best 6 out of 8 assignments
  • E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Kanpur. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.