Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Lead your manufacturing enterprise into the future

If you’re ready to move into a bigger manufacturing role, now is the time. Machines and processes are getting smarter, and companies are expecting more from their employees. Not only will you be pushed to produce more—you’ll need to determine where and how to automate key processes to be more productive. Don’t fall into the manufacturing skills gap—get ready to take your manufacturing enterprise into the future.

Prepare for 2025 now

Your industry is evolving. Engineers are in high demand—but the supply of engineers who can do the work is shrinking. Prepare for 2025 now by learning how to use automation, robotics, rapid prototyping, and big data. You’ll be ready to innovate well into the future—no matter where you are.

With the Master of Engineering: Manufacturing Systems Engineering degree, you’ll be ready to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customers. Training in quality, lean, advanced automation, robotics, supply chain, sustainability and data analytics will improve your decision-making, and increase your credibility. Build relationships with peers from around the globe and swap successes or share your biggest challenges. Our program is 100% online, meaning you’ll apply what you learn to the factory the next day.

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Building on a Tradition of Excellence

Our online master’s in Manufacturing Systems Engineering leverages UW-Madison’s reputation of academic excellence, and brings it to the digital world. 

We incoporate faculty expertise from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, the Wisconsin School of Business, and the Department of Engineering Professional Development.

UW–Madison’s online Master of Engineering: Manufacturing Systems Engineering program offers you:

  • The opportunity to graduate from one of America’s finest research universities
  • The right combination of engineering studies and business strategy in one fully online graduate program
  • Access to our award-winning online education infrastructure
  • Flexibility to complete your studies while staying employed full time

Learning for the Modern Workplace

We build every Manufacturing Systems Engineering course with you and your employer’s needs in mind. We pair course design with small class sizes to provide a learning experience that addresses your goals and enriches your professional life.

Our online engineering degrees placed in the top 10 for the fifth year in a row in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent survey of online graduate engineering programs. 

In addition, UW-Madison’s Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program is widely acknowledged as a solid provider of versatile senior/managing engineers for advanced manufacturing firms. 


Students in this fully online program grow the cross-functional expertise needed to drive creative product and process development, efficient production, and timely delivery to the customer through a systematic approach to finance, methods, materials and technology across traditional departmental boundaries.

The online Manufacturing Systems Engineering program requires weekly direct interaction between the professor and students, often resulting in more live discussion, group work and networking than a typical campus lecture format. 


We pair flexibility with a fixed curriculum and semester schedule that will allow you to maintain focus and consistent progress. This versatile but structured approach produces graduates with valuable new skills. As a master’s student, you will develop and polish your skills in project and change management, team leadership, and effective communication.

The program’s courses empower students to conduct hands-on research or projects at their place of employment, providing valuable real-life applications and experiences. In fact, the program culminates in a capstone project that integrates theory, research, and practice.

Degree Requirements

The online Manufacturing Systems Engineering program can be completed in two to three years and you may transfer up to six credits of prior graduate work. 

Our program consists of 30 core credits, designed to give you a well-rounded professional education.

The courses in the online Master of Engineering: Manufacturing Systems Engineering program will build your ability to collect and manage data, conduct sustainable system improvements, design and operate supply chains, and evaluate new technologies for the manufacturing process.


Courses in the manufacturing systems engineering curriculum will provide you with knowledge about the latest best practices and innovations, along with training in quality techniques, lean manufacturing, data analytics, how to approach complex systems, quality control, accounting, and much more. Upon completion of this degree program, you will have improved technical skills and communication skills.

Required Courses

Quality Engineering and Quality Management
Learn best practices for leading quality improvement as you lead a team at your workplace in improving an actual product or process. You and your employer see real on-the-job results from your project. Your project provides visibility, credibility, and a launching point for new career opportunities.

Terry Mann

3 Credits
Connected Learning Essentials
This course will identify and use collaboration and communication tools for online learning and virtual teamwork, such as the enterprise document management system.

Mark Millard


1 Credit
Production Systems Analysis
Learn production system modeling principles, performance analysis procedures, and analytical tools. You will understand continuous improvement procedures, lean buffer implications, and design principles. You will be able to carry out bottleneck analysis.

Jingshan Li

3 Credits
Industrial Data Analytics
Develop your ability to implement data-driven modeling techniques such as regression, classification, and principal component transformation. Understand the concept of model complexity and trade-off between model bias and variation, as well as improve your problem-solving capability using realistic industrial datasets.

Kaibo Liu

3 Credits
Supply Chain & Logistics Management
This course provides a practical, management perspective of supply chain management and logistics. The course will look at distribution, transportation, international logistics, inventory control, key performance indicators, leadership in a supply chain role and an introduction to logistics technology including ERP systems.

Peter Luksys

3 Credits
Project Management
Learn core principles and tools to plan a systematic approach to engineering project management. Build a project plan including scope, deliverables, schedule, resources, communication, finance and risk, measurement, and control systems.

Shawn Belling
George Watson

1 Credit
Leading Teams
This course addresses strategies, models, and practices to build trust, cooperation, and affiliation among team members in a context directly relevant to practicing engineers. Through case studies, participants will apply methods to work across organizational and cultural boundaries, as well as enhance the functionality and effectiveness of team activities.
1 Credit
Automation, Robotics, and Evaluating New Technologies
Learn how to evaluate, choose, and integrate automation and robotic equipment into manufacturing systems, and design automation and robotic equipment for manufacturing applications. You will analyze, design and simulate manufacturing equipment control at multiple levels including process, motion, task, cell and system control.

Neil Duffie
Michael Zinn


3 Credits
Sustainable Approaches to Complex Systems
Understand how sustainability can impact quality, cost and value in design and manufacturing processes, and learn analytical techniques to improve the sustainability of operations for complex systems.

Mark Finster

4 Credits
Capstone Course: Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Systems
This course will involve comprehensive industry case study assignments to illustrate practical treatment of theoretical concepts covered in class. You will evaluate several modern manufacturing strategies, including Lean and Quick Response Manufacturing, and tools for manufacturing system analysis, among other topics.

Ananth Krishnamurthy

3 Credits
Engineering Economic Analysis and Management
Improve your grasp of the "big picture" and how daily decisions affect the financial performance of your organization. Learn how your projects are judged by financial managers and how to perrm economic analyses that gain support for your initiatives.

Charles Krueger

3 Credits
Fostering and Leading Innovation
Grow your ability to think and act creatively. Build and support a culture that values, pursues, and delivers innovative services and products.

Sean Sauber

1 Credit


Faculty members in the manufacturing systems program are experts in their field, and they offer students an engaging education experience that is convenient and accessible even when working full-time.

Neil A. Duffie, PhD

photo of Neil Duffie

Duffie is a  professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and past department chair for the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UW-Madison. His research interests are in machine, process, and system control, particularly distributed system control. He received a bachelor’s degree in computer science, a master’s degree in engineering, and a PhD in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison. Duffie is a fellow of ASME, CIRP, and SME. He is a fellow of CIRP (International Academy for Production Engineering), ASME, SME, and is a past president of SME. In 2008, he was Mercator Guest Professor at the University of Bremen, Germany.

Mark Finster, PhD

Mark Finster

Finster is an associate professor in the Wisconsin School of Business. He serves on the executive boards of the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management, the Global Studies Program, and the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program. He is also a contributing member to the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, the Energy Institute, and the Center for Quick-Response Manufacturing. Finster is a five-time National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholar and chaired the NSF session that established a national research agenda in organizational excellence. He has received the Gaumnitz Distinguished Faculty Award and the Mabel W. Chipman Excellence in Teaching Award from the Wisconsin School of Business. Finster received his PhD from the University of Michigan and served as a professor at Cornell and Johns Hopkins Universities.

Ananth Krishnamurthy, PhD

Ananth Krishnamurthy

Krishnamurthy is an associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research targets the development and application of performance modeling techniques in the design and analysis of manufacturing systems and supply chains. Topics of interest include production inventory systems, assembly operations, product variety and customization, warehouse systems, and quick response manufacturing. His research is supported by federal agencies as well as industry. Krishnamurthy also serves as the Director of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing. Krishnamurthy has a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Charles Krueger, CPA, CGMA, CIA

Charles Krueger

Krueger is associate professor of management for the Wisconsin School of Business Executive Education at the UW-Madison. His background includes a decade in the insurance industry, where he held positions in operations and finance. Krueger is author of numerous articles on his major interest areas, which include financial analysis; monitoring, reporting, and using financial information for management operations; controlling construction costs; and corporate ethics. In addition, he authored a book and an executive educational program on financial analysis. Krueger is an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants, of the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Jingshan Li, PhD

Jingshan Li

Li is a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Li’s research revolves around modeling, analysis, design, control and continuous improvement of production and health care systems. He has received several awards, including the NSF CAREER Award. Li is scheduled to teach Simulation Modeling Laboratory, and Simulation and Probabilistic Modeling in the fall semester of 2015. Li has a PhD in Electrical Engineering-Systems from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Kaibo Liu, PhD

Kaibo Liu

Liu is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at UW-Madison. Liu has directed advanced independent study and pre-dissertator’s research, and will teach Inspection, Quality Control and Reliability in the fall of 2015. Liu conducts research on system informatics and data analytics for quality improvement; statistical learning and data mining; and statistical process control. Liu received the Gilbreth Memorial Fellowship from the Institute of Industrial Engineers in 2012. He holds a master’s in Statistics and a PhD in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Machine Learning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Terry Mann, MS

Terry Mann

Mann is a senior lecturer in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Corporate Quality Systems Manager for Ironwood Plastics. Mann is a consultant and instructor in the areas of quality management and engineering, as well as operations management. He specializes in quality management system certification, including ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 13485. Mann has an MS in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mark Millard, MS

photo of Mark Millard

Mark Millard is the Director of Learning Design and Technologies in the Department of Engineering Professional Development at UW-Madison.  He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in digital literacies, information science, and learning sciences at UW-Madison and Indiana University.  Mark has published articles and chapters in online education, educational innovation, emerging technologies, and learning and collaboration. He regularly presents on these topics at international conferences, and most recently was invited as a visiting scholar to the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona Spain. Having worked for Honeywell, Inc., several technology start-ups, Indiana University and now UW-Madison, Mark brings a broad set of professional experiences to his work and teaching.  He holds an MS in information science with an emphasis in human-computer interaction and learning sciences from Indiana University.

Harold J. Steudel, PhD, PE

Harry Steudel

Strudel is an Emerson Electric Professor Emeritus in Total Quality in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at UW-Madison. Active in teaching and research in quality and productivity improvement and integrated management systems, he served as the convener of the Quality Engineering group. Steudel draws upon more than 40 years of experience in designing and implementing leading-edge techniques for improving the control and productivity of organizations’ quality, environmental and manufacturing systems. He has developed assessment tools, training courses and other management system elements for Malcolm Baldrige, ISO 9001, QS 9000, ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 14001 quality guidelines and standards. He has also served as a certified quality system lead auditor under the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) and as a senior examiner for the Wisconsin Forward Award to recognize world-class excellence. Steudel has published more than 60 papers and is author of Manufacturing in the Nineties: How to Become a Mean, Lean, World-class Competitor.

Carl Vieth, MS

photo of Carl Vieth

Vieth is director of corporate education for the Department of Engineering Professional Development, UW-Madison. In this role, Vieth provides a key link for business and government to the continuing education and professional development resources of the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering. Vieth also has been instrumental in creating the Competency Modeling program within the Department of Engineering Professional Development. Prior to joining UW-Madison, he managed global corporate training and development at Marquette Medical Systems and continued in that role following the acquisition of Marquette by GE Healthcare. He received his master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UW–Madison. He holds a Certificate in Sales Management from the University of Wisconsin Center for Advanced Studies in Business and Six Sigma Black Belt Certification through General Electric Corporation.

Shiyu Zhou, PhD

Shiyu Zhou

Zhou is a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Zhou has taught courses on facilities planning and computer integrated manufacturing, and has directed graduate student research and independent study. His research interests are in the area of modeling, diagnosis, and control of complex manufacturing processes through data analytics. He has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Department of Energy, to name a few. He has authored and co-authored dozens of papers, and received the NSF CAREER Award in 2006. Zhou holds a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Michael R. Zinn, PhD

Michael R. Zinn

Zinn is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests are broadly directed at understanding and overcoming the design and control challenges of complex electro-mechanical systems with a primary focus on human-centered robotics. Zinn teaches Advanced Robotics, Dynamic Systems, and Control Systems, among other courses. He also directs graduate student research and advanced independent study. Prior to joining UW-Madison, he was Director of Systems and Controls Engineering at Hansen Medical where he helped to develop the world’s first commercially available minimally invasive flexible surgical robotic system.  He also has more than 10 years of electro-mechanical system design and manufacturing experience in aerospace and high-technology industries. Zinn received his BS and MS from MIT and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Philip O'Leary, PhD, PE

photo of Phil O'Leary

Department Chair
O'Leary directs the technical outreach program for the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In this capacity he oversees the delivery of more than 400 continuing education courses each year in a wide range of technical specialties. The program, which serves a national audience, delivers training at multiple locations throughout the US and also over the Internet. His area of professional interest is solid waste management, hazardous waste control, groundwater quality protection, and related environmental topics. His landfill design seminar has been attended by thousands of people who are now responsible for developing, permitting and operating landfills throughout the US and Canada. O'Leary also has extensive international waste management experience. He has been Department Chairman since July 1995. His engineering and land resources degrees are from the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Susan Ottmann, MS

photo of Susan Ottmann

Program Director

Susan Ottmann is program director for the Department of Engineering Professional Development at UW-Madison. Ottmann has more than 25 years of engineering experience in a variety of engineering, manufacturing and leadership roles for multinational companies. She has spent the last ten years leading large global teams with operations in North America, Europe and Asia for Danaher and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Ottmann has undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon. Ottmann holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from North Carolina State University. She is an active member of SWE and SME.

Wayne P. Pferdehirt, MS, PE

photo of Wayne Pferdehirt

Online Degree Director
Pferdehirt is the director of distance degree programs for the College of Engineering and director of the Master of Engineering Management program at UW-Madison. He also co-teaches the Master of Engineering Management program's Technical Project Management and Foundations of Engineering Leadership courses. Prior to joining UW-Madison, Pferdehirt directed the Midwest solid waste consulting services of an international environmental consulting firm and led energy conservation research projects for Argonne National Laboratory. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and a master’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in regional planning from Northwestern University. He is a frequent speaker and author on continuing education for engineers, and is a member of the College of Engineering’s Education Innovation Committee.

Daryl Haessig, MA

Graduate Program Coordinator
Haessig serves as the graduate programs coordinator for students in online programs in the Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil & Environmental Engineering Departments in the College of Engineering. She manages the admissions and advising for graduate students in these departments, and serves as a resource for students in working with offices across the university, the enrollment process, and graduation requirements. Haessig works closely with students to ensure they meet department course requirements, and acts as an advocate for student needs in the Departments, College of Engineering and larger campus community.  She also collaborates with program directors, faculty and staff on all student related matters.

Designed for Working Professionals

UW’s online Manufacturing Systems Engineering master’s program is specifically designed for working professionals. The degree portal is a one-stop shop accessing student services, technical support and courses.

New students are encouraged to attend a one-day, on-campus orientation event. However, all relevant informational sessions will be recorded for distance review. 

Tying it All Together

As a UW-Madison master’s student, you will be an active part of your own learning, and nowhere is this more evident than in the capstone project. This course covers a broad range of concepts, techniques and tools relevant to the design, analysis, development, implementation, operation and management of modern manufacturing industries on a global scale. 

The emphasis in this course is breadth of knowledge instead of covering any one topic in detail. Through lectures and projects, the course is intended to create an awareness of the wide range of issues that impact the design and operation of manufacturing systems.

Support and collaboration to help you succeed 

With internet-based tools such as web conferencing, online discussion forums, email, and conference calls, our program emphasizes close collaboration among students and instructors. 

The ability to work independently is crucial to your success as a distance learner. However, this does not mean you are alone. Our instructional design team develops every course to meet online learner needs.

Your instructors and teaching assistants are always available to answer your questions. In addition, faculty and staff understand the challenges you face as a working professional and distance learner, and proactively monitor your progress. A full-time program advisor will assist and guide you throughout the program.


Typical Weekly Schedule

In a typical week, you will engage in online project work, readings, and presentations. 

The weekly assignments afford you the flexibility to choose when to complete them, but weekend deadlines and structured support keep you on track. Each course will engage you in extensive, meaningful interaction with the instructor and other engineers. 

Depending on your background, you can expect to spend approximately 12-18 hours a week per course completing schoolwork and participating in project activities. You can complete your degree in six semesters with an average of six credits per semester.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the Master of Engineering: Manufacturing Systems Engineering program are listed below.

Exceptions to standard admission requirements are considered by the admissions committee on an individual basis.

  • A BS degree from a program accredited by the ABET or the equivalent.*
  • A minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. Applicants from an international institution must have a strong academic performance comparable to a 3.00 for an undergraduate or master’s degree. All GPAs are based on a 4.00 scale. We use your institution’s grading scale; do not convert your grades to a 4.00 scale.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must provide scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 580 on the written version, 243 on the computer version, or 92 on the Internet version.
  • International applicants must have a degree comparable to an approved U.S. bachelor’s degree. 

We do not require applicants to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). 

*Equivalency to an ABET accredited program: Applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree from an ABET accredited program may also qualify for admission to the program. Such applicants must have a BS in science, technology, or a related field with sufficient coursework and professional experience to demonstrate proficiency in engineering practice OR at least 16 credits of math and science coursework. Registration as a professional engineer by examination, if achieved, should be documented to support your application. 

All applicants are advised to determine whether this program meets requirements for licensure in the state where they live. See the National Society of Professional Engineers website for contact information for state licensing boards

Application Overview

The admissions process has been designed to conduct a holistic review of your likelihood of success in the program. Decisions are based on your academic and professional background.

To start the process, please read the admission requirements to determine your eligibility. If you have questions about your eligibility, please request an eligibility review by e-mailing Daryl Haessig at This e-mail should include a copy of your current resume and informal transcripts.

Applications are accepted for admission during the Fall term. Applications are reviewed in the order received on a rolling basis until the July 1 deadline. Admission is competitive and selective. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to submit application materials prior to the deadline. 

Steps to Apply Now 

Email the admissions committee chair and state your intent to apply and to which program. Attach your current resume or CV to your Intent to Apply email.

Your resume/CV should include at least:

  • Educational history (including GPA, awards and honors received).
  • Professional work experience (including specific details on your engineering experience, technical training, and responsibilities).
  • Listing of professional association memberships, advanced training (such as a PE license) and other noteworthy, personal- or engineering-related details.
 In the application be sure to:
  • Upload a pdf version of your current resume/CV
  • Upload a pdf version of your “Reasons for Graduate Study” essay
  • Upload a pdf version of your transcripts
  • Enter contact information for at least three professional recommendations, including at least one from a direct supervisor
  • Important: Complete the application by submitting the application fee. Applications submitted without paying the fee cannot be reviewed and will not be acted on.

Arrange to have one copy of your official transcript sent directly from your previous educational institutions to the Department of Engineering Professional Development. Transcripts should be sent directly by the educational institution to the CoE Online Admissions Office.

We will accept transcripts via any delivery method options (including pdf) offered by the educational institutions you have previously attended. However, transcripts issued to students are not sufficient for admission to the Graduate School.

To avoid processing delays, have your transcripts sent directly to:

CoE Online Admissions Office
Attn: Daryl Haessig
432 N. Lake Street, Room 701
Madison, WI  53706

(For pdf’s, use the following email address:

After all of your application materials have been received, the admissions committee chair will schedule a phone interview with you. Once completed, your application will be presented to the Admissions Committee for evaluation at the next scheduled meeting. 

Admission decisions are made on applications in the order received. The Admissions committee will make one of the following decisions:
  • Recommend admission to the UW-Madison Graduate School
  • Request additional information before evaluating further 
  • Decline further consideration of your application
After a decision has been made on your application, the admissions committee chair will contact you by email to inform you of the decision and to schedule a time to discuss the decision and your next steps.
The admissions committee provides admission recommendations to the Graduate School. The Graduate School is the formal admitting office for graduate students and retains ultimate authority on all admissions decisions.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition Costs

$1,300 per credit (based on 2016-17 tuition rates), payable at the beginning of each semester. 

Tuition Includes
  • Technology costs for Internet course delivery
  • Live webconferencing
  • Toll-free telephone line for the audio portion of conference call
  • Library use
  • Use of the webconferencing facilities for group project work for program courses
  • Advising
  • Technical support
  • Access to campus computing resources 
Total Tuition

Total tuition for this program is $39,000* for students entering in Fall 2016.

*Based on 2015-2016 tuition rate. This total does not include textbooks or course software. Software required for courses is typically available in educational versions at substantial discounts.

Federal Loans

Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to receive some level of funding through the federal direct loan program. These loans are available to qualified graduate students who are taking at least four credits during the Fall and Spring semesters, and two credits during Summer. Private loans are also available. Learn more about financial aid at

Employer Support

Many students receive some financial support from their employers. Often, students find it beneficial to sit down with their employer and discuss how this program applies to their current and future responsibilities. Other key points to discuss include how participation will not interrupt your work schedule.

The Master of Engineering: Manufacturing Systems is committed to delivering the highest quality and best value in engineering education. Your organization will immediately benefit as your employees apply new strategies and tools, ultimately improving real projects and processes.

Through participation in this program your employees will be able to: 
  • Attend courses with peers from other top employers and gain knowledge as you work together
  • Tailor coursework to apply to your specific industry 
  • Enhance skills in process improvement, data analytics, supply chain, quality and engineering leadership

No Interruption to Employees’ Availability 

This program is designed for full-time, working professionals. The format enables your employees to pursue world-class graduate engineering studies without interruption to work schedule or hindering availability for travel. Students continue their studies from anywhere in the world they can connect to the Internet. 

Proven Program from a Top-Ranked University 

The UW–Madison degree your employee will earn via distance learning has the same high-quality standards and academic status as a degree earned on-campus. The only difference is that UW’s online Manufacturing Systems Engineering graduate program is conveniently delivered online for working professionals.

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