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System Engineering Education for All Engineers - A Capstone Design Approach

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Integrating Systems Engineering into the Capstone Project

Tagged Divisions

Systems Engineering and Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Armand Joseph Chaput Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics University of Texas at Austin

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Dr. Armand J. Chaput is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin and Director of the Air System Laboratory. He teaches Aircraft Design with a focus on Systems Engineering and Unmanned Air Systems (UAS). Dr. Chaput is a retired Senior Technical Fellow - Air System Design and Integration from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company where he provided technical leadership for a number of advanced manned and unmanned air system programs. Responsibilities included assignments as Chief Engineer - F-35 Weight, Chief Engineer and Corporate Lead for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles. He also served as Chief Engineer for the National AeroSpace Plane Program (NASP) and Manager of Advanced Design at General Dynamics Fort Worth. He is an AIAA Fellow and a former member of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board. His degrees are in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M. He is a FAA certificated flight instructor and an active instrument rated pilot.

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The University of Texas at Austin (UT) Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics has developed a hands-on educational approach for teaching undergraduate aircraft design students about Systems Engineering (SE) that is applicable to other engineering disciplines. The impetus for the initiative is our conclusion that (1) fundamental understanding of the principles of SE and their practical application is important for all engineers, especially those working in Aerospace and Defense (A&D), and (2) SE can be taught as a principle of design without displacing other course content.

The UT proposed approach, called SE Design, differs from the traditional engineering educational approach where, if SE is taught at all, it is taught as a separate subject. Our educational approach integrates SE fundamentals into course work as hands-on principles of design. We use the structure of the course itself to teach SE starting with release of an initial Request for Information (RFI) and continuing through a simulated System Design and Development (SDD) "contract". The approach is applicable to one and two semester course formats although our experience shows that most SE Design learning occurs hands-on during the 2nd semester.

The UT educational concept has been tested at Texas A&M University (TAMU) where aerospace colleagues substantially increased SE content in their established design course work with minimum impact on other course content. We believe the UT Course concept is ready for evaluation by other engineering disciplines.

Chaput, A. J. (2016, June), System Engineering Education for All Engineers - A Capstone Design Approach Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25995

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