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Industrial Engineering Degree

Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering that is concerned with the optimization of complicated systems and processes. It deals with the planning, development, improvement, implementation and monitoring of various integrated production and manufacturing systems.

Industrial Engineering Programs

To go into the field of industrial engineering, you need to have certain educational qualifications. Different degree levels will lead you to different career paths.

Industrial Engineering Certification 

Even though it is not a compulsion to be certified in the field of industrial engineering, it is considered an added benefit. You can choose from several programs offered by the Institute of Industrial Engineers including engineering management, enterprise risk management, industrial engineering professional skills and lean supply chain management. All certificate programs consist of professional seminars, and may include an examination.

Associate Degree in Industrial Engineering 

This degree will provide a basic level understanding of the concepts relating to industrial engineering in the manufacturing sector. Students might have the option of designing their program with courses they wish to pursue. These could include specialized courses in industrial, environmental or safety engineering with a basic understanding of ergonomics, lean and process management. Here is a list of potential industrial engineering courses that you might have to study:

  • Precision Measuring
  • Industrial Leadership
  • Lean
  • Economics
  • Ergonomics
  • Equipment Justification
  • Work Measurement

Keep in mind though that this is not an exhaustive list.

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering 

With a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, you would have the option of selecting your area of specialization. It could be anything on the lines of systems engineering, manufacturing systems, supply chain logistics, general business management and economics and finance. Students are taught how to design computer software, work with clients and manage projects. In some programs, you might be required to conclude your studies with a capstone project.

To get admitted into a bachelor program in industrial engineering, you need a high school diploma or a GED. A strong background in math and science is an added benefit.

As far as the curriculum is concerned, industrial engineering courses might include some of the following:

  • Probability Assessment
  • Randomization
  • Mathematical Modeling
  • Inventory Management
  • Optimization

The courses would be relatively basic in nature, since this is the undergraduate level of studies. If you wish to pursue more advance topics in this field, you should look into industrial engineering graduate programs.

Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering

A master’s degree in industrial engineering will expose you to advance training options in areas including quality, efficiency, productivity and efficiency. This program will cover topics in  engineering management, manufacturing processes, human factors, operations research and enterprise computing.

To be eligible for admission into a master’s program, you must hold a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering or its equivalent from an accredited college or technical school. In addition to that, GRE scores may also need to be submitted. And for international students, TOEFL may be a mandatory requirement as well.

Course structure for a master’s program would revolve around:

  • Design and Analysis of Allocation Mechanisms
  • Network Analysis
  • Production Scheduling
  • Simulation Modeling and Analysis
  • Wind Energy Manufacturing
  • Geometric Variability in Manufacturing
  • Occupational Biomechanics
  • Human Factors in Production Design

PhD in Industrial Engineering

If you wish to go for a program that allows you to explore research possibilities in the field of industrial engineering, a PhD in industrial engineering might be the degree for you. This program will include rigorous studies revolving around statistics, systems design and more. The program structure will involve preliminary, comprehensive and oral examinations, along with a dissertation proposal. The program would end with the submission of a doctoral dissertation.

For the admission purposes,  you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or a relevant field, letters of recommendation, a minimum of 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a cumulative verbal and quantitative score of 1200 on your GRE.

The coursework might include the following courses:

  • Integrated Systems
  • Variance Analysis
  • Product Flow
  • Factorial Design
  • Industrial Engineering Management

Industrial Engineering Degree Online

Even though an online industrial engineering degree is rare, there are some universities that offer programs via virtual channels. Students have the ability to interact with instructors online, go through online notes and lectures, submit their assignments online and participate in online discussion boards.

The ideal degree in this field would be the one that combines industrial engineering online courses with on-campus learning; a hybrid program. There are some aspects of this degree that cannot be covered via the internet. Practical knowledge is just as important as theoretical knowledge. Therefore, a program that combines the online courses with a few on-campus visits for labs and practical assignments is the perfect option for most students looking for a feasible and convenient way of education.

Industrial Engineer Career Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median pay for industrial engineers was $78,860. The employment of these professionals is expected to grow 5% from 2012 to 2022.

As for the importance of industrial engineers’ work, they find ways to decrease wastefulness in the production processes by devising efficient methods to utilize human resource, materials, information and energy to create a product.

Their work environment depends on the sort of tasks that are assigned to them. They could either work in offices or on location.  For example, they may be required to report to the site itself and watch workers assemble parts in a factory, or supervise staff carrying out their tasks in a hospital. On the other hand, when solving problems, coming up with developmental plans, and making arrangements to deal with problems, they may work in an office, analyzing data that they or others have collected.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What does an industrial engineering masters degree coursework include?

A:As part of an industrial engineering masters degree, you will be taught courses such as design and analysis of allocation mechanisms, analysis of stochastic systems, linear programming, geometric variability in manufacturing, computer aided design and manufacturing, reliability and safety engineering, human factors in product design, occupational biomechanics and production scheduling. Keep in mind though, that this is not an exhaustive list of courses. Variations might arise from college to college.

Q:What courses does an associate degree in industrial engineering include?

A:During the course of your associate degree in industrial engineering, you will be exposed to subjects such as manufacturing management, cost analysis and estimation and industrial safety. These foundational courses will teach you how to manage personnel and production processes in a manufacturing unit. The courses will also teach you how to estimate costs of labor, raw materials and equipment to carry out the production process in an efficient manner.

Q:Could you give an overview of a bachelor of science in industrial engineering?

A:A bachelor of science in industrial engineering prepares students to develop the capacity to handle basic engineering problems. An intermediate understanding of subjects such as calculus, statistics, computing, accounting, psychology, economics, physics, chemistry and engineering graphics is given to the students. Courses are also designed to give students a practical experience through projects and educational internships in relevant workplaces.

Q:How is an industrial engineering online bachelor degree covered?

A:Typically, the coursework of an online degree in industrial engineering is completed via online videos, lectures, conferencing, and tutorials. Students will need a laptop/computer and an internet connection to study. Some schools may require students to take a few classes at the campus for practical training and hands on experience.

Q:Why should I get an industrial engineering certification?

A:Getting an industrial engineering certification gets you the mark of a professional. It helps create a clearer understanding of the role of an industrial engineer in the society. In addition to that, licensure or certification is looked for by employers who are evaluating their potential workers. Besides that, it enhances your status in the eyes of the public by ensuring that you have passed at least a minimum screen of competence. And last but not the least, it adds credibility and polishes your reputation as a qualified industrial engineer. (Source: Industrial Engineers Certification Board)

Q:What are some of the research areas for a phd industrial engineering?

A:Students in a PhD industrial engineering program are encouraged to research into a wide variety of subjects and pick their area of specialization after much thought. Areas where these students can conduct focus research include energy systems, aviation human factors, service engineering, information visualization, nonlinear optimization, distributed, group work and communications, financial engineering and digital human modeling.

Q:What courses should I have cleared before applying for a phd in industrial engineering?

A:Before you can be considered eligible for a PhD program in industrial engineering, you will need to demonstrate a solid understanding of linear algebra, real analysis, statistics, probability and a programming language. The exact course requirements for different PhD programs may vary for different universities. You are advised to check with various colleges to find the one that offers your ideal program.

Q:What areas can I specialize in industrial engineering graduate programs?

A:Different universities offer a vast variety of industrial engineering graduate program specialization options. These include the likes of advanced manufacturing, human systems engineering, manufacturing systems engineering and information systems engineering. These are also a few broad categories, sub-categories of these areas are also offered as specialization options depending on the university's faculty and research facilities.

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