The MBSE Advantage

U-M Aerospace helps our students graduate with the holistic skills to succeed in their next step, whether that’s a career in industry, graduate school, or another path.

New curricular emphasis that incorporates industry practices such as Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) give our students a distinct advantage when seeking internships and jobs. 

Our focus is on connecting textbook aerospace engineering knowledge with real world skills they need to succeed in aerospace careers.


Model-based systems engineering is the formalized application of modeling to support system requirements, design, analysis, verification and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase and continuing throughout development and later life cycle phases. It has become an industry best practice over the last few years, and U-M students with MBSE experience are highly sought after.

MBSE Leadership Lab

A first-of-its-kind facility for Aerospace Engineering students, the lab offers a flexible product development and teaming space where students collaborate in cross-campus projects to design, build, test, and fly aircraft using MBSE and industry-proven systems engineering tools & processes. It serves as a gathering space for students, with state of the art equipment, including:

  • Flexible lab benches for experiments and assembly stations
  • Two networked 3D printers, carbon fiber capable
  • Powerful laser cutter
  • Soldering station
  • Vacuum former
  • PCB printer
  • 3D scanner
  • High-end simulation workstations with 40” screens and 8GB VRAM

Teaming space includes

  • 10’ conference table
  • 86” 4k monitor & Zoom hub
  • Soundbar and subwoofer

x88 Courses

With three intensive courses spanning a 2-year period, the x88 series will help U-M aerospace students excel in complex product development in an industrial enterprise. The series is built upon a structured product development process, with the strong support of industry advisors and executives. This program is a one-of-a-kind offering amongst R1 institutions.

In these courses, students learn to:

  • Apply MBSE methodology to solve complex engineering problems
  • Confirm a product or technical project meets customer needs and/or requirements using disciplined tools and processes
  • Create and manage a project plan for complex products and systems
  • Apply risk management tools and processes to effectively manage and mitigate risk
  • Create and manage budgets to effectively manage complex technical systems
  • Enable high-quality manufacturing of designs
  • Manage complex cross-functional team process, guiding teams through challenging engineering activity
  • Deliver manufacturing-feasible designs, including material and process selection for optimal production

Additionally, they will be eligible for an INCOSE certification upon successful completion of all three courses.

Engineering students currently involved in lab and course development. From left: Julia Weiss, Peter Barr, Owen Marr, George Halow (faculty), Morgan Serra, Elizabeth Baubkus. (Not pictured: Emily O’Connell.)

Real Impact

After one year, our students found MBSE programs at U-M Aerospace to be the difference maker. 100% of the students involved say participating in these courses will have a distinct impact on the first few years of their careers. They also say:

“I have never had a more impactful course than the MBSE course sequence. The skills I’ve learned and applied here took up the entirety of my interview discussions and I was able to walk away feeling accomplished as the interviewers applauded me for the work I had achieved.”

“I believe that this course closely reflects what future work in the industry would look like. It’s almost like having an internship without actually going through the painstaking interview process. This course has allowed me to see what my future will be like, allowing me to love this industry even more.”

“By explaining what we were doing in the course and within our project teams, I was able to initiate a high level discussion on my knowledge of systems engineering. I originally applied for an operations analysis position, but after the noted conversation, I was hired in as the senior systems engineer with a significant pay raise.”

“The gateway reviews helped formalize the management and engineering work that I do on my project team. I credit that experience as the main reason I got my internship.”

“In the short time I have been involved in working in the lab, I have learned countless skills from the MBSE environment, both in the design and modeling processes, risk analysis, and design reviews, but also in the interpersonal communications necessary to create the type of crafts we strive to make. There is so much communication behind the scenes with industry, with teammates, with coworkers and bosses, and so much of that has prepared me for industry in a way I can’t imagine. Whatever job I choose after college will definitely be from a broader design perspective, with a special emphasis on the skills and techniques model-based systems engineering has taught me.”


MathWorks Joins the MBSE and Systems Engineering Ecosystem

The Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) lab and systems engineering leadership education x88 course series has expanded their ecosystem again thanks to a new partnership with MathWorks software programs. The new joint effort has strengthened the breadth of tools current U-M Aerospace students have access to while working within their project teams, as they prepare for […]

George Halow Participates in National Academies Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Meeting – 2023 Fall

Sharing insights on the aeronautics workforce focusing on talent, recruitment, and training from an academic perspective

The top half of representatives from GE Aerospace are standing in the MBSE leadership lab with MBSE students and Michigan Aerospace Professor George Halow.

GE Aerospace joins MBSE Ecosystem in Michigan Aerospace

New partnership in systems engineering and leadership education

Graphic of the inside of an airplane showing seating arrangements.

Aerospace student project shortlisted for 2023 Crystal Cabin Award

M-SAAVE students highlighted for aircraft innovation design

MBSE Leadership lab logo with a blue "V"

Leidos adds University of Michigan to hypersonic Mayhem program team

Aerospace students are part of a $334 million program for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

Belcan Joins MBSE Lab Ecosystem

Corporate support gives students an opportunity to build their skills

U-M presents keynote lecture at INCOSE Conference

A contingent of faculty and graduate students presented at the biggest systems engineering conference

Blue Origin Joins the MBSE & Systems Engineering Ecosystem at the University of Michigan

A new collaboration between Blue Origin and U-M Aerospace Engineering creates a win-win partnership