George Mason School of Information Technology and Engineering
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August, 2010

First semester of a two semester capstone course in Systems Engineering program. Students apply knowledge they have gained to a complex real-world problem in a group project. During the first semester, students perform concept definition and requirements analysis. A Project Plan for carrying out the project is developed, culminating in a proposal presented to faculty at end of semester.

Course Objectives:

  • Provide students the opportunity to apply and synthesize knowledge and skills they have gained in the SEOR program to real-world problems
  • Prepare students for the professional environment.

Learning Outcomes
After successfully completing the course, students will be have demonstrated:

  • Project Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Problem Identification and Definition
  • Requirements Elicitation, Requirements Definition
  • Value Hierarchy/Utility Theory
  • Simulation
  • Modeling
  • Design of Experiments
  • Data Analysis
  • Testing, Verification and Validation
  • Problem Solving
  • Team Building
  • Communication
  • Technical Report and Proposal Writing
  • Poster Preparation
  • Conference Paper Preparation
  • Time Cards and Weekly Accomplishment Summaries
  • Professionalism under adversity

Instructor:  Dr. Lance Sherry 
Contact Info:,  703-993-1711
Class Location:  Engineering Building, Room 2211
Class Day: Wednesdays 3:00-4:15pm
Office Hours:  Wednesdays 1:00-3:00pm or by appointment

Week Date Course Plan and Handouts Homework
1 08/30 Course Overview
HW#1 Deep Water Horizon Quiz Due Wed 9/1
09/01 Case Study 1 Power Generation for High Altitude Airship HW#2 Critical Reading Due Wed 9/8
HW#2 Critical Reading - Solution
09/06 Labor Day (No class)
09/08 Review of Project Assignments
Topic: Scoping a Project/Stakeholder Analysis
3 09/13 Customer Meeting/Team Research (No lecture)
09/15 Customer Meeting/Team Research (No lecture)
4 09/20 Case Study 2 Transportation to Make Stewart a Viable New York Airport
HW#3 Critical Reading Due Wed 9/20
HW#3 Critical Reading - Solution
Time Sheets Due Time Sheet
Weekly Accomplishment Summary Due Weekly Accomplishment Summary
09/22 Case Study 3 Air Pollution Accountability and Compliance Tracking System
Additional Case Study West and Rhode River Pollution Mitigation
HW#4 Critical Reading - Solution Due Wed 9/22
Time Sheets Due
Weekly Accomplishment Summary Due
5 09/27 Customer Meeting/Team Research Framework: Context, Stakeholder, Needs Analysis
Attend MB-SE Conference
Time Sheets Due
Weekly Accomplishment Summary Due
09/29 Customer Meeting/Team Research
6 10/04 Project Briefing #1 - DSTSO PRELIM Project Plan due
Time Sheets Due
Weekly Accomplishment Summary Due
10/06 Project Briefing #1 - HI
7 10/11 Columbus Day (No class)
Project Briefing #1 - FR on Tuesday 10/12

10/13 Project Briefing #1 - RTR (W/RR)
8 10/18 Customer Meeting/Team Research Time Sheets Due
Weekly Accomplishment Summary Due
10/20 Mid Term Exam FINAL Project Plan Due
360 Degree Evaluation
9 10/25 Customer Meeting/Team Research (No lecture)
10/27 Customer Meeting/Team Research (No lecture/Progress review)
10 11/01 Project Briefing #2
11/03 Project Briefing #2
11 11/08 Project Briefing #2
11/10 Project Briefing #2
12 11/15 Customer Meeting/Team Research System Engineering Design and (Tradeoff) Analysis for Complex, Adpative Systems: A Process and Deliverable Map
11/17 Dry Run Final Report - SHINS
13 11/22 Dry Run Final Report - AF
11/24 No Class
Dry Run Final Report - DSTSO 11am
Dry Run Final Report - TR Noon
Dry Run Final Report - HI 2pm
14 11/29 Individual Team Meetings as needed
12/01 Final Presentations 9am - 1pm
09:00 HI 09:40 DSTSO 10:20 AF 11:00 RTR
Final Presentation: Health Insurance
Final Presentation: Decision Support for Time Sensitive Operations
Final Presentation: Airline Fleet Readiness
Final Presentation: River Turbidity Reduction
15 12/06 Class Meets to Review Faculty Questions/Comments and Student Response

Submit one hard-copy and an electronic copy of each:
Proposal Final Reports Due
Proposal Final Report Slides Due
Draft Conference Paper Due
Draft Poster Due
Senior Design Poster Template
IEEE Conference Paper Senior Design Template
16 12/13
12/15 Written Final Exam (3 - 4:15pm)
Topics: SED&TA Process, Describe Class Projects, Systems Thinking Problems, Fundamental Engineering Principles (used in class projects)

* Dates all tentative, subject to change without notice.

Important Dates & Links:
  1. SIEDS Conference April 29, 2011
  2. SIEDS Abstracts due Feb 14 (*Abstract must be approved by Instructor prior to submittal), March 7 Notification, April 4 Completed Manuscript (*Paper must be approved by Instructor prior to submittal)
  3. General Donald R. Keith Memorial Cadet Capstone Conference April 28, 2011
  4. General Donald R. Keith Memorial Cadet capstone Conference Registration before April 22(*Papers must be approved by Instructor prior to submittal)
  1. Individual Time Cards (hard copy due Monday before class)
  2. Individual Accomplishment Summary (hard copy due Monday before class) [Accomplishments, Issues, Plans for Next Week]
  3. 360 degree team evaluations (tbd)
  4. Preliminary Project Plan  (Oct 4)
  5. Briefings (paper copy due in class prior to briefing)
  6. Proposal Presentation (Dec 1)
  7. Proposal Final Report (Dec 6)
  8. Draft Conference Paper (Dec 6)
  9. Draft Poster (Dec 6)
Content of Briefings and Reports
  • Project Briefing #1: Context, Stakeholder Analysis, Problem Statement, Proposed Solutions, Method Analysis/Simulation, Project Plan/Budget
  • Project Briefing #2: Method Analysis/Simulation & Design of Experiment
  • Final Reports: Context, Stakeholder Analysis, Problem Statement, Proposed Solution, Method Analysis/Simulation, Design of Experiment, Prelim Results, Project Plan/Budget
  • Quizzes 10%
  • Mid-term Exam 10%
  • Final Exam 10%
  • Deliverables (8) 60%
  • Professionalism 10%
Deliverables handed in late by the next class will be penalized 50%. Deliverables handed in after that will receive 0%. No exceptions.

Grading Scale:
  • A    93%    Exceptional in all respects
  • A-    90%    Excellent, shows clear understanding of concepts and application of ideas
  • B+    88%    Very good, shows basic understanding of concepts and application of ideas
  • B    83%    Good, shows acceptable understanding, baseline for undergraduate work
  • B-    80%    Adequate, shows acceptable understanding, but with deficiencies
  • C+    78%    Weak, but minimally meets requirements
  • C    70%    Very weak, but minimally meets requirements
  • D    60%    Misses several requirements, but not to the point of being considered failing
All grades are final
Academic Honesty:
Honor Code strictly enforced.
Suspected violations will be reported