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Swanson School of Engineering—Department of Industrial Engineering

Contact Information

Department Chair: Bopaya Bidanda
Main Office: 1048 Benedum Hall
Fax: 412-624-9831

Additional information concerning the department's graduate program may be obtained from the graduate secretary at the above address, or e-mail

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Industrial Engineering’s graduate programs prepare engineers to assume leadership positions in industry, government, and service organizations. With the Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, the department provides several choices of specialization areas, including:

  • Operations Research
  • Product Development and Manufacturing Systems
  • Engineering Management and Assessment

In addition, the department also offers a dual degree (MSIE/MBA) program in cooperation with the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, the option of obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Health Systems Engineering in cooperation with the Graduate School of Public Health, and the option of obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering in cooperation with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is the department’s flagship graduate program. Currently, the primary areas of research include all aspects of operations research, manufacturing science and nontraditional manufacturing, and suppl chains. Doctoral graduates are qualified for academic research careers as well as technical leadership positions in industry.


Applicants must possess an undergraduate or graduate degree from an ABET-accredited program in any engineering discipline, or a degree in a complementary technical discipline, such as mathematics, physics, or computer science. The department also requires undergraduate knowledge of probability and statistics, calculus, linear algebra, and proficiency in computer programming.

Applicants for admission must submit the application form and fee, transcripts of all college-level work, three letters of recommendation, a statement of career goals/objectives, and scores on the verbal, quantitative, and writing assessment-analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants to the part-time master’s program are generally not required to take the GRE. International applicants whose first language is not English must take the TOEFL administered by the Educational Testing Service with a minimum score of 550 (paper-based test)/213 (computer-based test) and 80 internet-based test). It is desirable for PhD applicants to have an interview with a faculty member, although this is not a requirement for admission.

The deadlines for domestic applications are as follows: fall term – June 1; spring term – October 1; and summer term – February 1. The deadlines for international applicants are as follows: fall term – March 1 and spring term – July 1.  International applicants are not accepted for enrollment beginning for a summer term.

Applications may also be completed online by going to

Applicants to the MSIE-MBA program must apply through the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Financial Assistance

All full-time students are eligible to apply for financial aid and it is the department’s policy to provide graduate teaching or research assistantships to as many PhD students as possible. However, these awards are limited in number and highly competitive, and are awarded on the basis of merit and departmental research/teaching requirements. Financial support comes from the department, not individual faculty, and is generally restricted only to students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree. All decisions on assistantships are made centrally by the departmental graduate committee. Barring unforeseen circumstances, students who are awarded financial support will have their financial support continued as long as they maintain their level of academic excellence and make satisfactory progress toward their degree objectives. For full consideration, students must apply early for financial support and in no case later than January 31 for the fall term and August 31 for the spring term.

Requirements for the MSIE Degree

The Master of Science in Industrial Engineering program is very flexible and requires 30 to 31 credits of graduate study. It may be obtained with or without a thesis option. With either option, the student is required to take three core courses (IE 2001, IE 2005, and IE 2006) that count for 9 credits, and at least two courses from the elective core (IE 2003, IE 2004, IE 2007, IE 2100) that count for an additional 6 credits. In addition, students who do not have an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering are required to take IE 2000 (1 credit).

  • With the non-thesis option, the remaining 15 credits may be freely chosen from the elective core or other departmental graduate courses based on the student’s individual interests and the approval of his or her academic advisor. With the permission of the advisor, the student may also take up to 6 of the 15 credits from other relevant graduate offerings outside the department.
  • With the thesis option, 9 of the 15 remaining credits may be freely chosen from other departmental graduate offerings. In addition, the student must complete a 6 to 8-credit thesis. With this option, no out-of-department electives are permitted.

In both cases, students who have already taken one or more of the core courses as undergraduates or as part of another graduate program are expected to skip such courses and substitute them with more advanced course work in the same area.

Normally the program can be completed in three terms of full-time study or two to three years of part-time study. Many graduate courses are offered in the evening for the convenience of working professionals. Courses are also offered over the summer term. Information regarding the MS program can be obtained by going to:


Requirements for the PhD Degree

This is the department’s flagship graduate program and prepares the student for the rigorous demands of a career in research and development, or academia. It requires a strong background in mathematics, probability theory, optimization techniques and manufacturing systems. The PhD student is expected to be a full-time student. Although it is possible to seek candidacy as a part-time student, the PhD candidate must spend at least one academic year on campus full time. The graduate faculty typically works closely with individual doctoral students to create a flexible program tailored to individual needs.

Entrance to the PhD Program: To be admitted to the doctoral program, students must pass the PhD qualifying examination. The student must seek faculty approval to take this examination, which is typically given once a year in early May and encompasses Operations Research, Probability, Statistics, Stochastic Processes and Manufacturing Systems.  A cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or better in graduate course work is required in order to be able to take the exam.  The examination allows the department to assess the student’s academic preparation and creative ability to conduct doctoral-level research. Students are expected to take the examination in May of the calendar year following the one in which they entered the graduate program, although it is acceptable to take the examination earlier.

Doctoral Course and Dissertation Credit Requirements: In addition to the basic core courses, doctoral students take additional courses that may be required in preparation for the PhD degree and the student’s dissertation topic. These courses are selected in conjunction with a program approved by the student’s advisor. According to University regulations, the PhD requires at least 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree or 42 credits beyond the master’s degree, including 18 credits for dissertation research. Currently, course credits typically include the following:

  • IE 2000 (for students with non-IE undergraduate degree): 1 credit
  • Other required courses (IE 2100, 2084, 2088): 9 credits
  • Qualifying core ( IE 2006, IE 2007, IE 2072, IE 2081, IE 2011 OR IE 2084): 15 credits
  • Additional course work (at least 6 credits of which must come from offerings outside the Department of Industrial Engineering): 20-24 credits
  • Dissertation research (IE3997/IE 3999): at least 18 credits

Additional Doctoral Requirements: All full-time students must enroll in and attend IE 3095 (Graduate Seminar) each term they are in residence; the credits for these do not count toward the 72-credit requirement.

The comprehensive examination is taken by students after completing the course work in their concentration. The PhD comprehensive exam has a three-fold purpose: (1) test the student's proficiency (knowledge and skills) in the student's major area of interest; (2) identify deficiencies in the student's background and suggest remedial work; and (3) test the student's ability to prepare an acceptable dissertation in the student's area of concentration.

All doctoral students are expected to pursue research by working with individual faculty in areas that can lead to a potential doctoral dissertation. A PhD candidate must demonstrate the ability to conduct research of an original nature by completing a dissertation and preparing a paper of publishable quality. The dissertation topic is selected by the student in some theoretical or applied area of interest in consultation with a faculty advisor. A faculty committee must approve the dissertation proposal before the student embarks on dissertation research. Information regarding the PhD program can be obtained by going to

Certificate Programs

The certificate in Health Care Systems Engineering is intended for individuals pursuing careers in health systems management and process engineering. Primarily designed for Master's degree students in the Department of Health Policy & Management and the Department of Industrial Engineering, this program will provide a rigorous and multi-disciplinary education as a complement to the core curriculum of both programs. With a focus on enhancing innovation, effectiveness and efficiency in health care and public health, the Certificate's ultimate goal is to produce well-educated professionals and leaders in their disciplines. The credits to complete this certificate program range from 16 to 22 credits.

A certificate in Engineering and Technology Management is also available. A total of 15 credits are required to complete this certificate.

Graduate Industrial Engineering Courses

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