Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is frequently confused with several other acronym expressions that begin with either "Model-Based" or "Model-Driven". The short answer is that Model-Based Systems Engineering is a subdiscipline of the more generic Model-Based Engineering system development paradigm. MBE is a system development paradigm that emphasizes the use of rigorous visual modeling techniques throughout the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC); MBSE is a specialization of MBE that applies MBE principles and best practices to Systems Engineering applications.

For a longer and more thorough explanation of the relationships among Model-Based Systems Engineering, Model-Based Engineering, and related MBE subdisciplines check out the Model-Based Engineering Forum and the Model-Based Engineering Visual Glossary.