Systems Engineering and Architecture: Principles, Models, Tools, and Applications

Lead Instructor(s): 

Edward F. Crawley


TBD Summer 2017

Course Length: 

5 Days

Course Fee: 





  • Registration opening soon

It is highly recommended that you apply for a course at least 6-8 weeks before the start date to guarantee there will be space available. After that date you may be placed on a waitlist. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled up to 4 weeks before start date if sufficient enrollments are not met. If you are able to access the online application form, then registration for that particular course is still open.

This course has limited enrollment. Apply early to guarantee your spot.


System and product complexities are increasing with time due to requirements for additional functionality, higher performance, competitive cost, schedule pressures, more flexibility or adaptability. Complex engineering systems have a set of common principles that cuts across the traditional fields of engineering. Novel products and systems development require the involvement of and communication between professionals with multiple disciplinary backgrounds and other stakeholders. This collaboration increases the likelihood of detecting product failures early on during its lifecycle, yielding significant cuts in time-to-market and rework.

The Systems Architecture (SA) discipline has been growing in response to an increase in system and product complexity. System architecture is an early critical lifecycle activity that determines the systems concept and mode of operation. Nurturing systems thinking and engineering skills, the engineering education this course spans theory and practice. The course starts with introducing general Systems Architecture as a series of decisions that frame the form to function mapping. Learners are exposed to a number of architecture representations, including the Object-Process Methodology (OPM). Learners gain hands-on modeling experience on a system of their choice by building a series of model deliverables through the course. Learners are exposed to a selection of advanced architecting topics, notably creating tradespaces of designs and the management role of the architect.

Participant Takeaways:

  • Out-of-the-box thinking that fosters a holistic approach and creative solutions
  • Combination of systems architecting principles with modeling language
  • Hands-on collaborative experience via a small-scale team project of the team's choice,
  • Synthesize and analyze existing architecting approaches to enhancing creativity while reducing ambiguity and complexity.
  • Utilize out-of-the-box holistic system thinking in developing a systems conceptual model and architecture.
  • Define system architecture, modeling, form, function, structure, and behavior.
  • Describe how a system's function emerges from its form and behavior.
  • Distinguish between the notions of system, product, service, and project, and how each creates value and competitive advantage for the enterprise.
  • Learn the OPCAT tool for modeling OPM, and leave with a project model

Who Should Attend:

This program is intended for engineers and architects across industry sectors, software engineers, system integrators, system modelers, analysts and designers, academics, and executives.

Computer Requirements and Preparatory Materials:

Laptops are required for this course; tablets will not be sufficient for the activities performed.

In preparation, participants are advised to:

  • Bring 2-3 architectural diagrams from work, with proprietary information removed (or a created diagram “in the style” of architecture diagrams at work)
  • Download and install OPCAT (academic version) from and read background material available on that website

Program Outline: 

Day 1

  • Introductions (8:30 - 9:00)
  • System Thinking (9:00 - 11:00)
  • Architecture Overview (11:00 - Noon)
  • Lunch (Noon - 1:00)
  • Form in Architecture (1:00 - 2:00)
  • Exercises on Form Representation (2:00 - 3:00)
  • Function in Architecture (3:00 - 4:00)
  • Exercise: Producing First Architecture Diagram (4:00 - 5:00)

Day 2

  • Concept (8:30 - 9:30)
  • Participant Project Review (9:30 - 10:30)
  • Architectural Decisions (10:30 - 11:00)
  • Exercise on Architectural Decisions (11:00 - Noon)
  • Lunch (Noon - 1:00)
  • What is a Model? (1:00 - 2:00)
  • Introduction to OPM (2:00 - 3:00)
  • Strategy and Marketing Impact on Architecture (3:00 - 4:00)
  • Strategy and Marketing Influence Exercise (4:00 - 5:00)

Day 3

  • Representing Architecture in a Tradespace (8:30 - 10:00)
  • Exercise: Tradespaces (10:00 - 11:00)
  • Modularity and Architecture (11:00 - Noon)
  • Lunch (Noon - 1:00)
  • Structural and Procedural Links (1:00 - 2:00)
  • DSM as a Representation, including Interfaces  (2:00 - 3:00)
  • DSM Exercise  (3:00 - 4:00)
  • Coached Session on Project Diagrams (4:00 - 5:00)

Day 4

  • Intermediate Project Presentations, Feedback (8:30 - 9:30)
  • Representations in OPM  (9:30 - 11:00)
  • Roles and Deliverables of the Architect (11:00 - Noon)
  • Lunch (Noon - 1:00)
  • Complexitiy Management in OPM (1:00 - 2:00)
  • Case Study (2:00 - 4:00)
  • DoDAF, SysML, and OPM (4:00 - 5:00)

Day 5

  • Final Project Presentation and Feedback (8:30 - 11:00)
  • Course Summary and Awarding of Certificates of Completion (11:00 am - 12:30 pm)

Course Schedule: 

View 2016 schedule (pdf)

Registration is Monday morning, 7:45 - 8:15 am.

Class runs 8:30 am - 5:00 pm every day except Friday when it ends at 12:30 pm.

Special events include a dinner for course participants and faculty on Tuesday night. Evening activities are included in tuition.

Participants’ Comments: 


"A very good experience. The class broadened my understanding of what is involved in architecting a good system and gave me the opportunity to meet other engineers trying to solve problems similar to my own."


"The course has a considerable phase of exercises, giving you the possibility to put into practice immediately and with sequence of steps what you learn day-by-day."


"The course materials were both comprehensive and current with contextualization of the material in terms of the latest international research and development being conducted into modeling methodologies."



This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.


Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (10%) 10
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (35%) 35
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (35%) 35
Out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving skills (20%) 20

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (40%) 40
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (20%) 20
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (20%) 20
Small group mini-project in participant's area of expertise (20%) 20


Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (40%) 40
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (40%) 40
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (20%) 20