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Master of Cost Estimating and Analysis (MCEA)

Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences (GSOIS)

Program Length: 2 years | Starts: Spring | Curriculum: #379


Program Content

Cost analysts provide services that allow decision makers to accurately estimate the cost of their programs, to compare the cost of alternatives, and to help make informed decisions with regards to prudent resource allocation choices. This program is designed to educate the Cost Estimating Professional. It will help your organization meet government expectations, and ultimately result in cost estimates with greater accuracy and realism. The driving force behind this curriculum is the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, signed by President Barack Obama, which created the Directorate of Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation within the DoD, and increases awareness of cost estimating issues. The MCEA addresses a critical need for personnel as the DoD doubles the number of professional estimators in the near future.

The MCEA program will integrate courses from Operations Research, the Business School, and Systems Engineering to provide an inter-disciplinary curriculum not offered anywhere else in the world.

We hope you will consider joining us in this exciting, vibrant degree program!

Program Overview

The MCEA is a 24-month, part-time distance learning program. Students take two courses per quarter, for eight quarters. The MCEA curriculum will fulfill the education and training requirements for Business-Cost Estimating (BUS-CE) career field certification, DAWIA levels I, II, and III. The Component Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACMs) is the certifying agent for DAWIA levels I, II, and III certification in Business-Cost Estimation.

This program blends web-based, online instruction with video tele-education (VTE), and is tailored to students whose careers will not allow them to participate in a full-time, traditional, on-campus program.

The web-based courses are paced week-to-week by the instructors, but students have the flexibility to do their coursework at times of their choosing during each week. The VTE classes meet at a pre-determined three hour block once per week during the quarter with the concurrence of the student's current command or organization.

The following distance learning delivery method(s) may be used for this program:

Defense Connect Online (DCO)
Video-Tele-Education (VTE)


Program Announcements

Cohort V commenced in the Spring AY2015 and will graduate in March 2017.

Cohort VI commenced 28 March 2016 and will graduate on 30 March 2018.

Cohort VII commences on 3 April 2017 and will graduate on 29 March 2019.
We are now accepting applications for Cohort VIII and will begin processing those applications in late October 2017.


MCEA Cohort #3 Graduates

Classmates attending the graduation ceremony at the Hall of Heroes are from left to right: Linda Brown, Kafayat Kelani, Robert Hayden, Jenna Meyers, Dalton Wilkins, Kim Del Rio, John Chaput, Rachel Shear and Charles Kelley.


Linda Brown easily wins the most number of supporters present, hands down -- Great job, Linda!



The courses listed below are taken in sequence, two per quarter.

Specific start dates for each quarter will closely align with the NPS Academic Calendar.

VTE Orientation

Full Curriculum here: 

Quarter 1 Spring

MN3301 - Acquisition of Defense Systems (4-0)
OS2080 - Probability and Statistics I (3-0)

Quarter 2 Summer

OS3006 - Operations Research for Cost Analysts (3-0)
OS3080 - Probability and Statistics II (3-0)

Quarter 3 Fall

MN4053 - Defense Budget and Financial Management Policy (4-0)
OS3701 - Cost Estimation I: Methods and Techniques (3-0)

Quarter 4 Winter

MN3510 - Defense Financial Management Practice (3-0)
OS4702 - Cost Estimation II: Advanced Concepts in Cost Estimating (3-0)

Quarter 5 Spring

OS4012 - Cost Estimation III: Risk and Uncertainty Analysis (3-0)
OS4703 - Systems Engineering for Acquisition Managers (3-0)

Quarter 6 Summer

SE3100 - Fundamentals of Systems Engineering (3-2)
OS4080 - Cost Estimation V: Cost Estimating and Analysis Cases and Cost Economics (3-0)

Quarter 7 Fall

SI3400 - Fundamentals of Engineering Project Management (3-2)
OS4081 - Cost Estimating and Analysis Capstone I (MCEA Thesis Equivalent) (3-4)

Quarter 8 Winter

OS4013 - Cost Estimation VI: Decision Analysis for Cost Estimators (4-0)
OS4082 - Cost Estimating and Analysis Capstone II (MCEA Thesis Equivalent) (3-4)


Eligibility and Admissions Standards

The following are eligible for this program:

  • US Government Civilians (GS)
  • US Military Officers*
  • Enlisted Personnel
  • DoD Contractors
  • International Students**

*Per OPNAVINST 1520.23C, a Navy officer will incur a 3 year service obligation upon completion or withdrawal from the Master of Cost Estimating and Analysis (MCEA) program.

**International Students: Ensure that you read and understand the eligibility requirements and application process.


  • Baccalaureate Degree
  • GPA of 2.7 or better
    • A GPA Waiver will be considered based on an applicant’s work.
  • Differential and Integral calculus course with C or better average.



$2000 per course per quarter for all Federal Government students; $2200 per course per quarter for all Department of Defense Industrial contractor students. Tuition must be paid by your command. A funding agreement between NPS and your command, using either the SF1144 or SF7600A/B, must be in place prior to the exchange of tuition funds; this signed agreement may require five weeks of lead time to complete.  Personal checks and the GI Bill may not be used. Commands may pay ahead to meet fiscal year budget concerns as long as their students are funded before a quarter starts.

Please refer to the tuition page regarding general information on tuition for DL programs. You may also contact the tuition-collection POC for this program directly: Tuition@nps.edu


Contact Information

For additional information specific to the program, please email the Academic Associate.

For general questions about CED3 supported programs, please email the CED3 Student Coordinator at CED3StudCoord@nps.edu.