Short courses


Systems Thinking and Engineering Management

  • 16 hours online classes + 28 hours independent study
  • 8 weeks


This online short course provides an introduction to systems, systems engineering and systems engineering management.

You'll learn how the lifecycle is managed in a concurrent engineering context (where different stages of the lifecycle run in parallel).

You'll also learn about the advantages and challenges of the systems engineering approach.

This course is designed to give you the skills and tools you need to face the challenges of developing complex systems. Topics covered include:

  • A holistic view of organisations and their role in delivering value to stakeholders
  • The effective use of processes in organisations
  • How a lifecycle view of development of systems can help its delivery
  • Effective ways to manage engineering projects
  • The identification of risks coming from the technology, the organisations and the humans
  • Better decision-making skills by considering all of the above

The course is run by staff from the UCL Centre for Systems Engineering (UCLse) within UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL). Course tutors regularly consult with and provide training for a range of industry leaders, such as Jaguar Land Rover, The European Space Agency, BAE Systems, The Wellcome Trust and PA Consulting.

Course content

Subjects covered include:

  • Properties of systems
  • How to classify systems
  • Systems thinking
  • Exploring systems perspectives
  • Introduction to systems engineering
  • Systems engineering lifecycle
  • Requirements
  • Integrated design teams
  • Principles of systems engineering
  • Planning a systems engineering project and the systems engineering management plan (SEMP)
  • Controlling a systems engineering project
  • Managing design integrity
  • Project simulation
  • Extended case study
  • The challenge of systems engineering management

Teaching, structure and assessment

This is an online course involving both remote teaching and private study.

You'll need to attend live sessions once a week, from 2pm to 4pm (UK time) on Wednesdays, over 8 weeks.

You should expect to spend an additional 28 hours over the course accessing resources on the online platform.

This course is an optional module within UCLse's Master's degree programmes. You can take this course as either:

  • a standalone short course
  • a 'taster module' that allows you to earn UCL credits towards a Master's degree

To earn UCL credits you'll need to complete an assessment. For more details on this option, please contact the course administrator. 

Who this course is for

This course is suitable for those new to the subject or needing a refresher, including:

  • middle management
  • engineering managers
  • senior domain engineers
  • project staff
  • systems engineers
  • domain engineers 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you'll be able to:

  • analyse a situation using systems concepts
  • describe the systems engineering process
  • prepare a top-level systems engineering management plan
  • make a useful contribution to a systems engineering development project
  • understand key systems and systems engineering concepts
  • understand the scope of systems engineering management knowledge


The fee for the short course is £500.

If you want to take as a 'taster module' and earn UCL credits, there will be an additional £500 fee. 

Course team

Dr Raúl Leal

Dr Raúl Leal

Raúl is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Space and Climate Physics in UCL. He's also the Business Development Manager for the Technology Management Group within the department. He's interested in systems thinking, systems modelling, systems design, project management and professional development in these areas in industry. His involvement in education and training extends to over 20 years and several countries. Before joining UCL he was systems design authority in the development of a nuclear imaging (PET) instrument. He's been a member of INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) for over 10 years.

Benoît Pigneur

Benoît Pigneur

Benoît is a tutor in the Centre for Systems Engineering at UCL. He's involved with teaching at MSc level as well as delivering industrial training. His research interests include space systems, space mission design, systems architecting, system-of-systems, concurrent design, design management and design thinking. Before joining UCL, he worked in the space industry and also in academia in UK, Europe and USA. Through his career, Benoît has been involved with several space projects as well as teaching engineering courses at university. He has an MSc in Space Mission Analysis and Design and a MSc in Systems Engineering and Control. He's a member of the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE).

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:01