Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Publication Title

INCOSE International Symposium







Conference Name

30th Annual INCOSE International Symposium, July 20-22, 2020, Virtual, Online


In the course of their career, many systems engineers are likely to interact with engineers of other nationalities as they collaborate on large, complex projects and system of system problems. These partnerships are necessary to support international goals, such as those for sustainable development. System engineers may even work onsite in other countries where they must adapt to different styles of doing business. This requires a set of global skill sets for cooperating and decision making, as well as basic social skills for interacting with the local community. These global skills can be included in a graduate level system engineering curriculum by integrating a set of “international competencies” that includes cognitive style differences, culture awareness, communication, ethics, and teamwork. The competencies were identified through a literature review of suggested global engineering skill sets; these five themes consistently appeared throughout the literature. The Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSE) was then reviewed to link these competencies to established systems engineering learning outcomes and System Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBOK) topics. Finally, teaching elements are suggested that can be included even in established curriculums to introduce systems engineers to the skills they need to be successful in a global world.


Copyright © 2019 by Annlizé L. Marnewick & Holly A.H. Handley. All rights reserved.

Permission granted to INCOSE to publish and use.


0000-0002-4798-003X (Handley)

Original Publication Citation

Marnewick, A. L., & Handley, H. A. H. (2020) A framework of international competencies for systems engineers. INCOSE International Symposium, 30(1), 1253-1265.