Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering focusing on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over their life cycles. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more difficult when dealing with large, complex projects.

Systems engineering techniques are used in complex projects: spacecraft design, military weapon deign & development, plant engineering, nuclear power plants, computer chip design, robotics, software integration, and bridge building. Systems engineering uses a host of tools that include modeling and simulation, requirements analysis and scheduling to manage complexity.

Systems engineering signifies both an approach and, more recently, a discipline in engineering. The aim of education in systems engineering is to simply formalize the approach and in doing so, identify new methods and research opportunities similar to the way it occurs in other fields of engineering. As an approach, systems engineering is holistic and interdisciplinary in flavour.