Engineering systems and management is an interdisciplinary field that brings together experts in engineering, design, economics, management and policy to teach and undertake research into large-scale complex systems.

The mission of the Engineering Systems and Management (ESM) Program at Masdar Institute is to create corporate and government leaders that can effectively deal with global energy and sustainability challenges that involve large scale systems.

ESM graduates are trained in strategy, operations and systems thinking. As such, they will be ideally positioned to take leadership positions in the private or public sector and guide research and implementation of alternative energy technologies and policies.

Program Goals

The Engineering Systems and Management Master of Science will meet its overarching goal to educate its graduates professionally and ethically to be valuable professionals in the UAE and abroad, with disciplinary preparation that imparts the following:

  • Ability to identify and respond to complex engineering systems problems (involving technical and socioeconomic components);
  • Ability to apply advanced systems analysis tools in a multi-disciplinary setting in order to bound, plan, analyze, design and implement solutions to engineering systems problems;
  • Understanding of the complex interactions between engineering system solutions and their implications on larger scale (regional, national, global) technological, economic, societal and environmental systems with a view on long-term sustainability; and
  • An understanding of the value of technical and scientific scholarship, service to society, leadership and lifelong learning required to further their career aspirations in support of the needs of the community.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Engineering Systems and Management Program aims to fulfill the following set of outcomes that are designed to be in accordance with the current ABET Accreditation criteria:

  • Successfully apply appropriate combinations of advanced concepts of engineering, economics, system theory, management and policy to identify, formulate and address engineering systems problems;
  • Successfully use advanced system analysis and design tools (e.g. optimization, simulation, architecture, statistical analysis, surveys, applied principles and heuristics etc.) to design, develop, implement, integrate and improve systems and processes that target socio-technical integrated engineering systems;
  • Understand and apply the relationships between the management tasks of planning, organization, leadership, control, and the human element in production, research, and service organizations along with an understanding of and dealing with the stochastic nature of organizational and political systems;
  • Assess the direct and indirect impact of engineering solutions on sustainable development (e.g., economic, environmental, and social factors) with a focus on energy and sustainability;
  • Use appropriate advanced methods to design, conduct and analyze experimental studies for engineering systems with a strong sociotechnical component; and
  • Communicate effectively in written and oral form, both, individually and as a member of a multidisciplinary team.

Objectives & Curriculum

The Engineering Systems and Management Program academic curriculum provides students from a variety of engineering and science backgrounds with the tools and knowledge essential to engineering management and sustainable development at the strategic and tactical levels.

Students of the program are trained in topics such as systems architecture, system optimization, system dynamics, project management, product design and development and technology strategy. The underlying emphasis is sustainability from both the macro (international/national) and micro (organizational) perspectives. A series of program core courses and guest lectures by industry and academic leaders furthers the educational experience.
Masdar Institute’s Engineering Systems and Management Program research is aimed at addressing the most urgent sustainability issues faced by public sector agencies, private sector firms, international organizations and NGOs. As such, collaboration with private and governmental agencies as well as other educational institutions (local, regional and international) is a critical aspect of engineering systems and management research.

Students in the Engineering Systems and Management Program will be exposed to every aspect of research, from initial conception to final proposal writing. Research topics aim to address the most pressing real-world needs that surround the strategic deployment of alternative energy technologies on a regional or global scale. This is demonstrated by the following list of active research areas:

  •     Technology strategy in alternative energy and sustainability
  •     Innovation systems and development strategies
  •     Sustainable transportation and supply chains
  •     Electricity generation and transmission networks
  •     Lean manufacturing and operations in energy systems
  •     Sustainable construction
  •     Economic cost and benefits of implementing sustainable development strategies

All students for all programs are required to take four core program courses. In addition, each student must complete the following:

  •     Three elective courses from any program with the approval of advisor
  •     One university core course titled Sustainable Energy: Technology, Policy, Economics
  •     24 credits of thesis work

Program Core courses

  •     ESM503 Systems Optimization
  •     ESM504 System Dynamics for Business Policy
  •     ESM505 System Project Management
  •     ESM510 Applied Statistics and Research Methods for Engineering Systems


ESM501  Systems Architecture – 3 credits
Systems architecting is one of the key activities in the engineering systems discipline. It may be applied in the first stages of a life cycle to conceive, design and implement a large complex system or product, or it may be equally applied after a system’s operation to help it evolve to meet long-term requirements. As such, systems architecting is a central skill for engineers developing large complex systems like energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. It may also be used as the first step in the long term management and policy of such systems. In either case, these high level strategy-oriented technical decisions deeply impact all subsequent detailed design decisions as well as the system’s inherent life cycle properties. This course situates systems architecting within the larger engineering systems field, and then presents its importance with respect to lifecycle properties. Modeling techniques such as SysML, OPM & DSM will be presented so as to give students the capability to analyze and conceive Systems Architectures in small group environments. The course will specifically address system form, function and concept.
Prerequisites: FDN413 Research Methodology and Critical Thinking, or equivalent

ESM502 Product Design and Development – 3 credits
This course covers modern tools and methods for product design and development. The cornerstone is a project in which teams of management, engineering, and industrial design students conceive, design, and prototype a physical product. Class sessions employ cases and hands-on exercises to reinforce the key ideas. Topics include: product planning, identifying customer needs, concept generation, product architecture, industrial design, concept design, and design-for-manufacturing.
Prerequisites: ESM501 Systems Architecture

ESM503  System Optimization – 3 credits
This course provides an introduction to system optimization focusing on understanding system tradeoffs. It introduces modeling methodology (linear, integer, and nonlinear programming), with applications in production planning, scheduling and manpower planning, time-phased planning, inventory planning and supply contracts, logistics network design, facility sizing and capacity expansion, capital budgeting models, assignment and matching, and transportation models. In this class, students will learn powerful modeling and solution techniques for decision-making problems that are used today by thousands of successful companies to help them make millions of dollars.  Prerequisites: FDN412 Applied Calculus, and FDN432 Differential Equations and Linear Algebra, or equivalents

ESM504 System Dynamics for Business Policy – 3 credits
This course covers advanced concepts in system dynamics modeling for applications in business operations, strategy and policy. Students gain recognition of dynamic modes of behavior in complex systems and develop skills to represent this behavior in formal modeling structures and test policies using simulation experiments. The course emphasizes a formalized modeling process covering problem articulation and formulation, dynamic hypotheses, simulation model formulation, model testing, and policy design and evaluation. Extensive use of system dynamics modeling software with applications to case studies.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate calculus and microeconomics

ESM505 System Project Management – 3 credits
This course focuses on management principles, methods, and tools to effectively plan and implement successful system and product development projects. Material is divided into four major sections: project preparation, planning, monitoring, and adaptation. Brief review of classical techniques such as CPM and PERT. Emphasis is on new methodologies and tools such as Design Structure Matrix (DSM), probabilistic project simulation, as well as project system dynamics (SD). Topics are covered from strategic, tactical, and operational perspectives. Industrial case studies expose factors that are typical drivers of success and failure in complex projects with both hardware and software content. Term projects analyze and evaluate past and ongoing projects in student's area of interest. Projects used to apply concepts discussed in class.
Prerequisites: ESM504 System Dynamics for Business Policy

ESM507 Management and Entrepreneurship for Engineers – 3 credits
This course provides an overview of management issues for graduate engineers and deeper review of the dynamics of start-up firms. The topics approached aim to provide the engineering practitioner with the perspectives of manager, and entrepreneur and with tools, frameworks and thinking processes to support the management side of engineering endeavors. Specific topics include: idea generation, opportunity recognition, intellectual property, financials, customer needs, market assessment, competition, exit strategy, entrepreneurship ecosystem, writing a business plan, sustainability and innovation. Through selected readings from texts and case studies we focus on the development of individual skills and management tools. The course requires student participation and discussion, class assignments and a term project and presentation of a complete start-up business plan.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in Microeconomics

ESM508 Environmental Policy and Economics – 3 credits
This course tackles issues related to the impact of the economy on the environment, climate change challenges, and the appropriate way of regulating economic activity so that balance is achieved among environmental, economic, and other social goals. We discuss and measure the impact on the environment of producers’ behavior and consumers’ needs. We address the role of markets in determining the “right” amount of pollution and market failures in achieving the socially desirable amount of pollution. We analyze the development of greenhouse gas emissions policies and other environment related policies. In addition, we explore issues faced by different countries in the developed and developing world with regard to environmental policy.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in Microeconomics

ESM510 Applied Statistics and Research Methods for Engineering – 3 credits
This course teaches research methods and advanced statistics for empirical research. The focus is on the application of linear regression techniques. The course contains four modules:

  • Overview of methodologies  for empirical research;
  • Ordinary least squares and maximum likelihood estimation;
  • Diagnoses and treatments for violations of assumptions for the Gauss-Markov theorem; and
  • Panel data analysis.

 The objective of the course is to lay a solid foundation for students to explore further subjects in advanced statistics.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in basic Calculus.

ESM517 Innovation and Creativity in Technology Organizations – 3 credits
This course will explore two terms used frequently in today’s business world to describe companies or projects that go beyond conventional thinking: business “innovation” and “creativity.” Many young jobseekers with an engineering background seek jobs with technology organizations that are innovative in the way that they define their business, structure their operations and workplace rules, build their products and compete in the marketplace. These innovative businesses – whether “intrapreneurial” projects within large technology organizations or small entrepreneurial startups – and their inspiring leaders are highly valued in today’s market. But where do the best ideas come from? How do organizations capture, develop, embrace, and harness these ideas? How do founders, leaders and other team members bring creative individualism to the project? How can creativity and innovation be increased without leading to chaos? This course aims to capture the challenge and excitement of innovation-driven technology environments and provide students with an understanding the underpinnings of their success. Course requirements include extensive reading assignments, student participation in class discussions and exercises, written class assignments, periodic tests and a final exam.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in Microeconomics

ESM518 Managing Technology and Innovation – 3 credits
This course focuses on developing general management tools and analytical frameworks that are particularly applicable to managing technology and innovation in private industry and government agencies. The course identifies strategic and operating challenges commonly encountered in meeting performance, cost and schedule requirements in new product development and roll-out, and discusses policy, organizational, financial and program management structures that can help to meet such challenges. The appropriate use of various budget and financial management tools such as earned value and total quality management will be explored in the context of the high project risk often associated with innovative technologies. Course requirements include extensive student participation in class discussions and exercises, written class assignments, a group project, a mid-term exam and a final exam.
Prerequisites: An undergraduate course in Microeconomics

ESM600 Master Thesis in Engineering Systems and Management – Total 24 credits
The thesis gives students an opportunity to develop and demonstrate their ability to carry out and document a reasonably comprehensive project requiring considerable initiative, creative thought, and a good deal of individual responsibility. The thesis may be a design project, an analytical paper, or experimental work of a technical nature.

ESM608 Sustainable Development: Theory, Research and Policy – 3 credits
This course examines alternative conceptions and theoretical underpinnings of the notion of "sustainable development." It focuses on the sustainability problems of industrial countries (i.e. aging of populations, sustainable consumption, institutional adjustments, etc.); and of developing states and economies in transition (i.e., managing growth, sustainability of production patterns, pressures of population change, etc.). It also explores the sociology of knowledge around sustainability, the economic and technological dimensions and institutional imperatives along with implications for political constitution of economic performance.
Prerequisites: UCC501 Sustainable Energy: Technology, Policy, Economics, or equivalent

ESM609 Energy and Poverty Solutions – 3 credits
This course examines the challenges of reducing poverty within developing communities by promoting improved access to modern energy services. Normative assumptions underlying various definitions and approaches for development are examined, with an emphasis on the human development and capabilities approach as a useful theoretical foundation. Statistical data and indicators on energy poverty and energy access are critically examined to better understand current global energy needs. Students learn and apply advanced tools and methodologies for localized energy needs assessment, energy planning, and design of integrated energy systems. Throughout the semester, students work in small teams on a structured, in-depth design project that addresses an energy related need for a specific community, and participate in a week-long visit to work with the community on the project. The course is highly interactive and multidisciplinary, and relies heavily on class participation and the successful management of team projects.
The course has been designed for the students to meet the following objectives:

  • Gain a critical understanding of current energy needs and the link to human and economic development.
  • Develop relevant skills for designing, building and evaluating off-grid or “weak-grid” energy systems with a focus on development impact.
  • Gain real-world experience in understanding and evaluating technical and systems level implementation challenges.

Prerequisites: UCC501 Sustainable Energy: Technology, Policy, Economics, or equivalent

ESM611 Technology Strategy – 3 credits
This course outlines tools for formulating and evaluating technology strategy, including an introduction to the economics of technical change, models of technological evolution, and models of organizational dynamics and innovation. Topics covered include: making money from innovation; competition between technologies and the selection of standards; optimal licensing policies; joint ventures; organization of R&D; and theories of diffusion and adoption. The course is taught using a combination of readings and case studies.
Prerequisites: ESM507 Management and Entrepreneurship for Engineers, or ESM518 Managing Technology and Innovation, or equivalents

ESM613 Advanced Systems Optimization – 3 credits
The course focuses on the main advanced optimization techniques that are useful in practice. It builds upon and covers topics beyond ESM503-Systems Optimization. The course is intended to cover three faces of Applied and Advanced Optimization:

  • A deep look at some of the advanced optimization techniques that are used in practice (mainly integer and nonlinear).
  • A tour of sample applications, their modeling, and solution.
  • The design of algorithmic ideas and their computer implementation.

Prerequisites: ESM503 Systems Optimization, or equivalent

ESM615 – Sustainable Health – 3 credits
This course is intended to develop a framework for understanding sustainable health. The course introduces sustainability and health, followed with a description of beginning to end long-term systems thinking in health. We will then focus on sustainability factors (social, environmental and economic) as they affect health. We will then cover specific topics that affect the sustainable health field: food, sensors, health data, and healthcare systems. We will utilize complexity tools of system dynamics and network theory. Many of these topics will be presented through the latest papers in the field.
Prerequisites: UCC501 Sustainable Energy: Technology, Policy, Economics, or equivalent

ESM616 Techno-Economic Analyses in Power Systems Operations – 3 credits
“Smart grids”, which are defined as power grids with increasing levels of control, automation, and information technologies, have recently received much attention in the press as an enabler for reliable power grid operation as well as increasing penetration of renewable energy sources. These generation sources as well as the potential for demand side resources have challenged existing paradigms of power system operation and planning. The course seeks to explain the conventional paradigms and prepare students for independent research in these new operations and planning methods. A holistic approach will be followed. First, the course contextualizes these issues with the ongoing policy debates. Then, it returns to provide the engineering fundamentals for the course. Next, it discusses the technologies found in modern day transmission system operations control centers. The second half of the course focuses on the various optimization algorithms modern power grid operations dispatching and capacity planning.  
Prerequisites: UCC501 Sustainable Energy: Technology, Policy, Economics, or equivalent. Knowledge of optimization methods is helpful.

ESM617 Linear Programming – 3 credits
This is a graduate level course on linear programming. The course covers fundamental concepts in formulating linear programming problems as well as powerful solution techniques for these problems. In particular, the content of this course include the following topics: convex analysis, polyhedral theory, the simplex method, the two‐phase simplex, the big‐M method, degeneracy and cycling, the revised simplex, Farkas’ lemma, KKT optimality conditions, duality theory, and sensitivity analysis.
Prerequisites: ESM503 Systems Optimization or equivalent

ESM618 Integer Programming – 3 credits
The course covers state-of-the-art techniques to solve integer programming problems, with respect to both theory and the practice. The course we will cover  modeling, polyhedral theory and valid inequalities, and solution techniques such as cutting plane methods, branch-and-bound, branch-and-cut, branch-and-price, column generation and Danzig-Wolfe decomposition, as well as available commercial software.
Prerequisites: ESM503 Systems Optimization, or equivalent

ESM619 Advanced Production & Operations Management – 3 credits
This is a graduate level course on production planning and operations analysis. The course emphasizes inventory management, production planning, and scheduling. The course includes topics in measure and comparing the efficiency of different production systems, the effect of variability on production systems, aggregate production planning, inventory management with deterministic and stochastic demands, dynamic lot sizing, material requirement planning (MRP), just-in-time (JIT) models, and operations scheduling.
Prerequisites: ESM503 Systems Optimization, or equivalent, with consent of the instructor

ESM620 Analysis of Complex System Networks – 3 credits
This course is intended to present complex networks from an engineering systems point of view building on the Systems Architecture course. It provides the tools to describe and analyze engineering, social, organizational, biological, and communication, networks. A large portion of the course is dedicated to quantitative analyses of networks and tools for their visualization. The class will also review the latest research publications in engineering systems network applications. Particular emphasis will be given to the engineering system grand challenges of today: health, social-communication, power, transportation, and water.
Prerequisites: ESM501 Systems Architecture, or equivalent.

ESM621 Time Series Analysis, Modeling & Prediction – 3 credits
This course will cover modeling and prediction of time series. The emphasis will be on the time domain, although the frequency domain will also be explored. The structure of the model will depend on the physical knowledge of the process, as well as the form of the observed data. Models that relate the present value of a series to past values and past prediction errors are called ARIMA models (Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average). Central problems are the properties of different models and their prediction ability, estimation of the model parameters, and the model's ability to accurately describe the data. Particular attention will be given to linear modeling of time series: meaning of linearity, autoregressive and moving average models and their statistical properties, likelihood estimation and residual analysis, forecasting and simulation. An integral part of the course is the use of a statistical or numerical software such as Matlab or SAS for simulation, calculation, and implementation of time series analysis techniques.
Prerequisites: ESM510 Applied Statistics and Research Methods for Engineering Systems, or equivalent, and prior computer programming experience.

Space Concentration

The Master’s Concentration in Space Systems and Technology at Masdar Institute is designed to give students the specialist multidisciplinary knowledge and skills required for a career working with space technology and its applications. Students in the space concentration will have access to all aspects of the design and delivery of spacecraft and payloads and are very attractive to companies in the space-related industries.

The MSc in Engineering Systems and Management Concentration in Space Systems and Technology at Masdar Institute aims to produce post-graduate students with the multi-disciplinary preparation that meets the following goals:

  • an ability to identify and address current and future engineering problems related to energy sources, generation, conversion and industrial processes within a broader framework of sustainable development;
  • an ability to apply a multi-disciplinary approach to conceive, plan, design, and implement solutions to engineering problems in the fields of energy and sustainability;
  • an understanding of the impact of solutions to engineering problems in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context; and
  • An understanding of the value of technical and scientific research, service to society, leadership and life-long learning required to further their career aspirations.  

In addition to the Engineering Systems and Management Program core courses and the University Core Course, program students in the space concentration are supposed to take the following space concentration core courses:

  • SSC501 Spacecraft Systems and Design SSC502 Spacecraft Systems Lab 1
  • SSC503 Spacecraft Systems Lab 2
  • SSC504 Spacecraft Systems Lab 3



Year 1: Fall Semester


MSc Program Specific Core Course 1


MSc Program Specific Core Course 2


Space Core Course (SSC501 Spacecraft Systems and Design)


Master's Thesis Work related to space technology


Year 1: Spring Semester


MSc Program Specific Core Course 3


MSc Program Specific Core Course 4


SSC502: Space Systems Lab-1


Master's Thesis Work related to space technology


Year 1: Summer


Master's Thesis Work related to space technology


Year 2: Fall Semester


Technical Elective relevant to space technology


MI Core Course: (UCC501: Sustainable Energy)


SSC503: Space Systems Lab-2


Master's Thesis Work related to space technology


Year 2: Spring Semester


SSC504: Space Systems Lab-3


Master's Thesis Work related to space technology





In addition to the Engineering Systems and Management Program learning outcomes, program students in the space concentration are also expected to attain the following concentration specific outcomes:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the aspects of space systems design and analysis;
  • Design and build a small-satellite as a part of a multi-disciplinary team;