SMU will begin offering, in Fall 2014, a new master’s degree in data center systems engineering, the first in the United States to offer the technical depth and breadth of a multidisciplinary graduate degree in this rapidly evolving and essential field.

The program is open to full-time and part-time graduate students, and is available on the Dallas campus as well as through the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering’s well-established distance education program. Enrollment is expected from current professionals in industry and government, as well as undergraduates in engineering, science, mathematics and business preparing to enter the field for the first time.

At least four million workers currently are associated with datacenter operations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and the number is expected to increase by 800,000 in 2016, and by an additional 2 million by 2018. Approximately 70% of these workers will have bachelor’s degrees or higher.

“Our society has become intimately linked to a variety of digital networks including social media, search engines, e-commerce, gaming and big data,” said Marc Christensen, Dean of the Lyle School. “Data center design is a fascinating challenge due to the millions of dollars lost per second of outage. The proper management and design of these datacenters require a diverse combination of highly specialized skills, and SMU Lyle is uniquely positioned to offer a degree that will connect all the needed technical disciplines.”

SMU’s Master of Science in Datacenter Systems engineering is built around five core courses that address the industry broadly, while offering elective specializations in three technical areas:

  •  Facilities, infrastructure and subsystems
  •  Datasystems engineering and analytics
  • Computer networks, virtualization, security and cloud computing

”SMU’s Master of Science in Datacenter Systems Engineering program addresses a long unfulfilled need in the datacenter industry,” said Chris Crosby, CEO of Compass Datacenters. “Its comprehensive, cross-disciplinary curriculum provides the breadth of knowledge professionals need for success in this complex industry with numerous interdependencies.”

The SMU Datacenter Systems Engineering program is directed toward preparing professionals for a leadership role in this field, whether specifically as a technical contributor or more broadly in management. The program is designed to build a solid foundation for continued professional growth consistent with modern datacenter engineering practices and the changes that lie ahead for this industry.

SMU has a unique opportunity to play a significant role in educating engineering professionals in this field both locally on-campus and nationally via distance education. Approximately 50 datacenters exist within the greater Dallas area.

The Lyle School of Engineering is a pioneer, offering graduate engineering distance learning in the United States for more than 50 years, providing more than 4,000 students with degrees. All graduate engineering classes in SMU’s Lyle School are conducted in modern classroom/studios, equipped with commercial level audio, video and digital media capture equipment, as well as professional grade lighting. Instructors are provided with multiple, user-friendly audio/video systems to aid in the delivery of the class materials.

Although some pre-recorded material may be incorporated into class, the instruction is always “live”, and a recording of the “live” presentation is available to the student within an hour of the completion of the class period, which may be viewed and/or downloaded via internet connectivity. During Spring 2013, the Lyle School of Engineering offered 69 courses online, requiring 200 hours of recorded material each week, serving 270 students.

In addition to meeting Lyle School admission requirements for a Master of Science degree, applicants are required to satisfy the following requirements:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in one of the engineering disciplines, computer science, one of the quantitative sciences or mathematics.
  • A minimum of two years of college-level mathematics including one year of college-level calculus.

More information about SMU’s Master of Science in Datacenter Systems Engineering is available at or by contacting the Lyle Graduate Programs Office at 214-768-2002.