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Sustainable Systems Engineering Major

The Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) program offers the Bachelor of Science degree major.

Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) is a broad discipline that addresses the engineering of large, complex systems and the integration of the many subsystems that comprise the larger system. The program integrates Civil Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs with other Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) programs such as Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Political Science, Business Management, and Communication Arts and Sciences, etc. to prepare students for future large prospective and complex system sustainable development challenges.

The SSE Program focuses on the interactions of engineering, society and ecological systems. Specifically, the program studies the relationship of engineering to economic development, environmental impact, social structure, and the sustainability of natural resources. The program will examine how engineering activities influence human well-being as a whole complex system and will provide students with knowledge and methods to analyze and solve sustainable development problems. The program description of the Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) is: apply a holistic and systemic approach to solving problems and move beyond the tradition of breaking designs down into disconnected parts.

Sustainable development is considered to be one of the fundamental criteria for engineering practices. Engineers are required to play a leading role in planning, designing, building, manufacturing and ensuring a sustainable future. The SSE program will prepare our graduates in a better position in pursuing graduate studies or engineering licensure after graduating from MSU Denver. In addition, the graduates will be able to join the workforce as sustainable system engineers, who are expected to work on or lead projects requiring a systemic and interdisciplinary approach to prevent the mismatch between a sophistication of individual discipline decisions and complex situations.

The educational approach incorporates fundamental engineering theories, laboratory works, communications and social science to establish essential sustainable systems concepts. The engineering core component will provide solid training on the majority of the subjects required by Fundamental Engineering (FE) exam.

Students are encouraged to enroll in an internship/cooperative education program through the University’s Applied Learning Center to gain valuable work experience.

Students majoring in Sustainable Systems Engineering must meet the following curriculum and are required to complete all general study courses, program pre-requisite courses and core courses with a grade required for graduation. Technical elective courses must be approved by the program coordinator or department chair. Students who are considering a major in Sustainable Systems Engineering are expected to consult with SSE faculty for advising. Students should note that programs differ in that a minimum grade of “C” or better is required.

Under the revised rules and regulations of the Colorado State Board for Registration for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors, students within 30 semester hours of graduation may take the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination.

The Department of Engineering and Engineering Technology will seek accreditation of the SSE program from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) at the earliest possibility.

Program Requirements

From the Current Catalog:

Program Requirements

  • Any course identified in the SSE major core must be passed with a grade of ā€œCā€ or better.
  • SSE majors must comply with all University General Studies requirements.
  • This is an extended major, therefore a minor is not required to fulfill the degree requirements.
  • The students may refer to program flowchart or consult with an advisor for degree planning.

General Studies Requirements

  • Written Communication (6 credits)
  • Oral Communication (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Literacy (4 credits)
    • MTH 1410 - Calculus I Credits: 4 (This is in excess of GS requirements)
  • * Arts and Humanities (6 credits)
  • * Historical (3 credits)

See the General Studies section  of the catalog for approved courses.

  • Natural and Physical Sciences (10 credits) (This is in excess of GS requirements)

PHY 2311 - General Physics I Credits: 4

PHY 2321 - General Physics I Laboratory Credits: 1

PHY 2331 - General Physics II Credits: 4

PHY 2341 - General Physics II Laboratory Credits: 1

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences I (3 credits)

See the General Studies section  of the catalog for approved courses.

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences II (3 credits)

See the General Studies section  of the catalog for approved courses.

  • Global Diversity (0 or 3 credits)

The department recommends that this requirement be met along with the Arts & Humanities, Historical, or Social & Behavioral Sciences general studies choices.

See the Global Diversity section  of the catalog for approved courses.

General Studies Total: minimum of 38 credits

  • Multicultural Requirement (0 or 3 credits)

The department recommends that this requirement be met along with the Arts & Humanities, Historical, or Social & Behavioral Sciences general studies choices.

See the Multicultural section  of the catalog for approved courses.


Required SSE Core Courses:

SSE 1040 Life-Cycle and Systems Engineering - An Introduction Credits: 3

SSE 1215 Engineering Graphics ā€“ Solid Modeling Credits: 3

SSE 2000 Engineering Safety and Quality Assurance Credits: 3

SSE 2100 Basic Electronic Systems Credits: 3

SSE 2150 Mechanics of Static Systems Credits: 3

SSE 2200 Materials Science Credits: 3

SSE 2350 Engineering Programming Credits: 3

SSE 3000 Applied Systems Design Credits: 3

SSE 3070 Machine Elements and Mechanical Systems Credits: 3

SSE 3100 Mathematical Modeling Credits: 1

SSE 3135 Strength of Materials with Laboratory Credits: 4

SSE 3160 Mechanics of  Dynamic Systems Credits: 3

SSE 3175 Modeling Structural Systems Credits: 3

SSE 3185 Fundamental Fluid Mechanics Credits: 3

SSE 3300 Thermodynamics and Heat  Transfer Credits: 3

SSE 3730 Control Systems Credits: 2

SSE 4000 Sustainable Systems Engineering Credits: 3

SSE 4160 Geotechnical Engineering Credits: 3

SSE 4200 Sustainable Development Strategy Credits: 3

SSE 4280 Energy and Power Credits: 3

SSE 4300 Probabilistic Design Methodologies Credits: 3

SSE 4610 Capstone: Thesis in Sustainable Development Credits: 3

** CET 3120 Engineering Economy Credits: 3

** ECO 3800 Development Economics Credits: 3

One of the following elective courses:


SSE 3500 Humanitarian Engineering Credits: 3

SSE 4500 Refurbishment of Structures Credits: 3

SSE 4700 Engineering Decision and Risk Analysis Credits: 3

** MKT 3000 Principles of Marketing Credits: 3

** PSC 3020 Introduction to Public Administration Credits: 3

** ENV 4200 Environmental Policy & Planning Credits: 3

Subtotal: 73


Additional Requirements:

  • CHE 1100 - Principles of ChemistryCredits: 4
  • CHE 1150 - Principles of Chemistry LaboratoryCredits: 1
  • MTH 2410 - Calculus IICredits: 4
  • MTH 2420 - Calculus IIICredits: 4
  • MTH 3420 Differential Equations Credits: 4

Subtotal: 17


*Selecting any General Studies course approved for Multicultural credit will satisfy the Multicultural requirement of three credits. Selecting any General Studies course approved for Global Diversity credit will satisfy the Global Diversity requirement of three credits.

**These courses require prerequisites from outside SSE courses. Check with the Department for more information please.

Program Total for Sustainable Systems Engineering: 128


The most current course description is available in the current academic year's Catalog. SSE first appears in the Fall 2016-Spring 2017 Catalog.

The courses you are required to take for degree completion varies by your catalog year. Your catalog year is determined by the semester of acceptance at MSU Denver. For example if you are admitted for fall semester, your catalog year is of that fall semester.  If you do not take classes for three consecutive terms, including summer, you must reapply to the university and your catalog year will defer to the academic year you are readmitted. Degree requirements are available in the University Catalog and the link above has online versions of each academic year's catalog going back to 1999.


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