MMA4006 - Fundamentals of Maritime Systems Engineering


New from the academic year 2024/2025

Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Portfolio
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Portfolio 100/100

Course content

The course is aimed to introduce a master level student to the fundamentals of systems engineering, using physically large and functionally complex maritime systems as examples. It focus on developing an operable maritime system capable of meeting requirements within imposed constraints.

Emphasis will be given to present a connection between the multi-domain of product architecture, lifecycle phases, design methods, stakeholder preferences, perception of value, performance evaluation and what-if analyses.

1. Fundamentals:

  • What is a System?
  • Systems Hierarchy & Complexity
  • Decomposition and Encapsulation
  • Maritime Domain: Physically Large and Functionally Complex Systems
  • Practical Examples

2. Product Architecture & Design:

  • Artificial x Natural Systems
  • Design Principles & Methods
  • Product Hierarchy (Systems, Subsystems and System of Systems)
  • Product Creation Process
  • Design for X in Maritime Engineering

3. Lifecycle and Processes

  • Lifecycle Phases (Pre-contract, Concept, Development, Production, Operation, Support, Retirement)
  • Decision gates, milestones, revisions
  • Processes - System and Time Domain
  • System Architecture Process
  • Principles of processes planning and management (LEAN ++)

4. Stakeholders Preferences and Performance Evaluation:

  • Perceptual Aspect - Identifying Stakeholders' preferences
  • How good is perceived among stakeholders?
  • Decision Making Theory - Bounded Rationality
  • Measures of Merit and Systems KPIs
  • Quantifying decisions: Decision Matrix, AHP and Decision TreePerceptual Aspect

5. Physically Large and Functionally Complex Maritime Systems:

  • Complexity theory applied to SE
  • Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom (DIKW)
  • Five Aspects of Complexity Taxonomy
  • Maritime Industry Case Studies
  • SE techniques x non-SE Techniques

6. What-If and Scenario Building:

  • Parsing expectations into quantifiable scenarios
  • The Right Systems for the Right Mission concept (ROI)
  • Storytelling approach
  • Epoch-Era Matrix
  • Operational Lifecycle Estimation (Era Construction)

Learning outcome

Having passed the course it is expected that:

Knowledge and skills

  • The student will be able to understand fundamentals of systems engineering, and how product, process, people and performance interact.
  • Understand principles of product architecture, lifecycle processes, stakeholders’ expectations and performance evaluation
  • Introduction and training on the main literature methods used to systems engineering
  • Introduction to Decision Making theory and common techniques used to rank and quantify decisions
  • Recognize the main elements to construct future scenario evaluation
  • Identify the main components of physically large and complex engineered systems, such as maritime systems
  • Understanding the product, lifecycle processes, stakeholders and performance concepts in these systems
  • Be acquainted with state of the art literature for systems engineering
  • Apply SE techniques, with preliminary requirements, analyses and evaluation for any engineering project.


  • Understanding traditional model based systems engineering, with the classical mapping between form and function (structure and behavior)
  • Identify systems engineering methods in real engineered systems, applying them to solve a specific problem from their industrial case and/or research application.
  • Filter state of art literature of systems engineering methods and analyses to specific problems of their research
  • Communicate with stakeholders, understanding and quantifying system performance into different expectation

Learning methods and activities

The course is organized with lectures on the academic content, examples and exercises in class. The case study is participation in a multi-disciplinary maritime engineering project that will run in parallel with the teaching and that will be solved in teams and documented in a project report. Teaching methods includes lectures, exercises, group-work and self-studies.

Further on evaluation

Grading will be based on project reports, and will assess the candidate(s) ability to interpret, familiarize, reflect and apply the course topics.

A - F, where F is failed

Resit exam

A new and improved project can be resubmitted. If the student waits until the next regular exam period, a new project must be submitted.

Specific conditions

Required previous knowledge


Course materials

Compendium: the course is based on the NASA Systems Engineering Handbook (2007). Additional lecture notes, support reading and papers will be made available in Blackboard.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2024

Language of instruction: English

Location: Ålesund

Subject area(s)
  • Marine Technology
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering


Examination arrangement: Portfolio

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Portfolio 100/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring UTS Portfolio 100/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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