Reliability and Decision Making in Engineering Design

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Skills Covered: Decision Making in Engineering Design, Design Decisions Under Risk and Uncertainty, Decision-Making Methods, Reliability in Engineering Design, Conditional Probability, Variance, Continuous Functions, Load-Strength Interference Theory, Lognormal Distribution, Reliability, Hazard Rate, Exponential Distribution, MTTF Estimation, Weibull Distribution, Multimodal Distributions, Failure Mechanisms, Binomial Distributions, Poisson Distributions, Reliability Block Diagrams, Monte Carlo Simulation, Uncertainty in Geometry, Covariance, Correlation, Accelerated Degradation

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Successful design requires good decisions in the presence of uncertainty and competing goals. A key design requirement of successful products is their reliability. Often, performance and cost requirements drive product designs to possess relatively small margins of safety. Since materials degrade with time, the resulting product life is finite. Engineers are challenged to design the product to ensure predictable reliability while optimally achieving the goals of performance and cost.

Making optimal decisions considering tradeoffs between diverse objectives is an essential activity in all organizations and teams involved in engineering design and product development. The ability to effectively make design decisions, and to coordinate the decisions of a team are valuable competencies for various roles in the industry, including those of systems engineers, design engineers, and engineering managers.

Both product reliability as well as design decisions require an assessment of uncertainty in product lifetimes or market factors. Product lifetimes are inherently uncertain, due to uncertainty in geometrical dimensions, material parameters or loading conditions. Assessment of market risk and uncertainty is crucial for good design decisions. Therefore, the tools and techniques of probability and statistics that are critical to the study of uncertainty form an important learning of this program. Analyzing the uncertainty and designing to reduce failure probability and the uncertainty in product performance represents another important goal. The physics of material degradation and the common failure mechanisms in mechanical and electronic products is an important learning, as well.

This MicroMasters program will benefit a wide range of practitioners and active learners, whether entry level engineers or transitioning into engineering management roles. The learning outcomes of this program will have applicability to products across all major engineering disciplines including automotive, aerospace, biomedical and electronics industries. This MicroMasters program from the best ranked online Mechanical Engineering Master’s degree program will prepare the student for leadership roles in product development or engineering management.

The program content is suitable for individuals with an undergraduate degree in engineering, or a related field. Basic knowledge of mechanics of materials and programming is expected.



  • Develop an engineering view of reliability analysis and design
  • Model time to failure of products and use these models during the design process
  • Formulate and make multi-objective design decisions in the presence of uncertainty
  • Apply model-driven and data-driven decision making in engineering design
  • Identify and reduce biases in design decisions



  • Highly-paid exciting opportunities as a Design Engineer, Systems Engineer, Product Development Manager, Quality Engineer, Reliability Engineer in automotive, aerospace, biomedical, electronic, and manufacturing industries
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Reliability and Decision Making in Engineering Design
Reliability and Decision Making in Engineering Design


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