645.771.81 - System of Systems Engineering

Systems Engineering
Spring 2024


This course addresses the special engineering problems associated with conceiving, developing, and operating systems composed of groups of complex systems closely linked to function as integral entities. The course will start with the underlying fundamentals of systems’ requirements, design, test and evaluation, and deployment, and how they are altered in the multi-system environment. These topics will then be extended to information flow and system interoperability, confederated modeling and simulation, use of commercial off-the-shelf elements, and systems engineering collaboration between different organizations. Advanced principles of information fusion, causality theory with Bayesian networks, and capability dependencies will be explored. Several case studies will be discussed for specific military systems of systems, including missile defense and combatant vehicle design, as well as selected commercial examples.Course Note(s): Selected as one of the electives in the MSE or MS program or a required course for the post-master’s certificate.


Profile photo of Steven Biemer.

Steven Biemer


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into nine modules which can be accessed by clicking Course Modules on the left menu. A module will have several sections including the overview, content, readings, discussions, learning activities, and assignments. You are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. The modules will run for a period of one week. You should regularly check the Calendar and Announcements for assignment due dates.

Course Topics

Course Goals

The goals of System of Systems Engineering are: (1) to identify and describe principles of system of systems engineering that are different than traditional systems engineering; (2) plan the application of those principles to specific SoS case studies; and (3) through the use of tools and techniques apply those principles to real-world problems.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)



Jamshidi, M. (2009). System of systems engineering: Innovations for the 21st century. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


ISBN-10: 0470195908

ISBN-13: 978-0470195901


Also, please download the following document...

Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, Systems and Software Engineering. (2008). Systems Engineering Guide for Systems of Systems, Version 1.0. Washington, DC: ODUSD(A&T)SSE.


Textbook information for this course is available online through the appropriate bookstore website: For online courses, search the MBS website at http://ep.jhu.edu/bookstore.

Required Software

Required: Microsoft Office, 2016 or 365.

Optional: Microsoft Project and Visio.

Student Coursework Requirements

This course will consist of three student requirements:

 1. Assignments (40%)

There are a total of seven individual assignments. These assignments will be available in the Assignments section and are expected to be completed within the module period. They are individual work—although you may collaborate with your fellow students. However, you must submit your own work. Many problems will require some research outside of the class lectures and the references. All research for this class, however, can be accomplished via the Internet.

All assignments are due by the due date (provided in the Assignments section, and the calendar). If you are going to be late with an assignment, please let the instructors know (via email). You will generally be given a two day extension.

The assignments are graded on a 100-point scale.  Students will have the ability to load, delete, or edit their homework submissions up to the due date.

Graded assignments will be provided to students and include detailed feedback embedded within the Microsoft Office files that are submitted. Students will receive a grade no more than one week after the due date. If the assignment is late, no penalty is incurred. However, the instructor may not leave detailed comments.

2. Mid-Term Exam (30%)

During Module 5, a mid-term exam will be opened for students. The exam will cover lecture and reading material from Modules 1–5. The exam may be taken at any time during the exam period (generally 3-4 days). The exam is open-book and open-note.

3. Final Exam (30%)

During Module 9, a final exam will be opened for students. The exam will cover lecture and reading material from Modules 5-9. The exam may be taken at any time during the exam period (generally 3-4 days). The exam is open-book and open-note.

Grading Policy

Assignments are due according to the dates posted in your Canvas course site. You may check these due dates in the Course Calendar or the Assignments in the corresponding modules The instructor will post grades one week after assignment due dates.

Instructors generally do not directly grade spelling and grammar. However, egregious violations of the rules of the English language will be noted. Consistently poor performance in either spelling or grammar is taken as an indication of poor written communication ability that may detract from your grade.

A grade of A indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion in every week.

A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work. These criteria apply to both undergraduates and graduate students taking the course.

Grading is tied to a 100-point scale and will be determine as follows:



% of Grade

Individual Assignments (7)


Mid-Term Exam


Final Exam


At the end of the course, the students' grades will be determined by summing their grades for all assignments, discussions and the project. Grading will be on a simple scale:

98.0 – 100 = A+
94.0 – 97.9 = A
89.6 – 93.9 = A−
87.0 – 89.5 = B+
82.0 – 86.9 = B
80.0 – 81.9 = B−
70.0 – 79.9 = C
0 – 69.9 = F

Course Policies

All late assignments are subject to penalty. If the student contacts the instructor via email before the due date and time, a two-day grace period is applied to homeworks (only). If no contact is attempted, a 10% penalty may be applied.
Discussions are required to be completed on time. Late discussion posts are subject to a 10%-25% penalty.

Exams are required to be completed by the due date and time. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in significant penalties, up to and including receiving a 0 for the exam.

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.