Industrial / Manufacturing Engineering

Industrial engineering (IE) is the discipline of applying scientific principles to large commercial and industrial systems for optimization purposes. Here, optimization refers to maintenance of the efficiency and productivity of processes and inputs in supply chains, including machines and human labor. As quality control specialists, industrial engineers connect operational goals and measurable performance. They are essential workplace leaders, applying critical thinking skills to solve problems under pressure.

Industrial engineering is one of the most multidisciplinary and people-oriented branches of engineering. The universality of the IE skill set means these professionals can work in nearly any sector or setting. A bachelor's degree is considered the entry-level qualification for industrial engineering positions, but some industrial engineer jobs are available to associate degree-holders, too.

Aspiring industrial engineers are encouraged to seek a major in this specific area, as well as pursue a broad selection of communications and business courses to prepare for the unique diversity of industrial engineering careers. Programs should be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Degrees in Industrial Engineering

Associate Degrees

About 13 percent of industrial engineers have a terminal associate's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Associate degree programs are designed to prepare individuals for employment in manufacturing. Graduates qualify for some entry-level positions, from industrial engineering technicians to staff engineers.

Often competing with bachelor degree-holders for the same jobs, associates with several years of solid work experience can achieve parity of opportunity in some markets, making the associate's degree in IE a bargain for those who find gainful employment after receiving the credential.

An associate-level track in Industrial Engineering includes courses in:

  • Quality Assurance 101
  • Statistical Process Control
  • Interpreting Engineering Drawings

What careers are open to those with associate degrees?

  • Industrial Engineering Technician
  • Industrial Engineer I
  • Industrial Engineering Assistant

Bachelor Degrees

A Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering is the prevailing entry-level qualification for entering the workforce as a new industrial engineer. The business focus of this undergraduate degree also opens up job opportunities in areas like commercial consulting and even entertainment.

During their undergraduate years, students become immersed in topics like quality management, material handling, systems integration, engineering economy, computer-aided design, machining analysis, and advanced statistics.

Bachelors learn how to sustain cost-effective manufacturing operations without compromising product quality. They develop a team mindset that facilitates efficient problem-solving on the shop floor. The top industrial engineering schools afford students access to cooperative or internship opportunities, enhancing both their employability and prospects for getting into graduate school.

Bachelor coursework in Industrial Engineering typically includes:

  • Introduction to Differential Equations
  • General Physics I & II
  • Engineering Graphics & Design

What can you do with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering?

  • Industrial Engineer II
  • Supply Planner
  • New Product Introduction Quality Engineer

Master Degrees

At the master's level, students choose between a terminal professional degree like the Master of Industrial Engineering (M.I.E.) or a master's that can prepare students for further doctoral studies, like the Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (M.S.I.E.).

For those seeking a terminal professional degree, it is important to have graduated from an undergraduate program accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Additionally, most students need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to get into graduate school.

Industrial engineering majors deepen their communication, problem solving, and analytical skills with an eye towards their own professional development. The best industrial engineering schools designed to launch students into doctoral study require a final examination or thesis research.

Master's coursework in Industrial Engineering might include:

  • Economic Analysis & Decision Making
  • Human Factors & Ergonomics
  • Systems Analysis & Optimization

Which jobs are accessible to master degree-holders?

  • Biometrics & Human Factors Engineer
  • Supply Chain Optimization Engineer
  • Continuous Improvement Engineer

Doctoral Work

Doctoral study supports intensive research investigations for aspiring academics. Doctoral candidates focus on a relatively narrow concentration within industrial engineering, such as human factors, manufacturing, operational research, production systems, or energy science.

Doctoral programs require at least a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or a closely related engineering, applied mathematics, or science discipline. Some programs allow fresh graduates of bachelor's programs; others have stricter admissions requirements. Engineering management candidacies, for example, often make several years of industry experience a key admission requirement.

Master degrees may count as credit towards a doctoral credential; those without a master's degree may need to prove that they would qualify for one as a precondition for doctoral candidacy. Students may also need to submit a dissertation proposal for committee approval and take preliminary exams to become a doctoral candidate.

Doctoral dissertations in Industrial Engineering might be on topics like:

  • Geometric Modeling & Analysis
  • Multifractal Analysis of Market Returns
  • Object-Oriented Frameworks in Healthcare Simulation

A Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering can lead to positions such as:

  • Professor of Industrial Engineering
  • Director of Industrial Engineering
  • Senior Lean Manufacturing Engineer

We found 163 schools offering industrial engineering degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 163 Industrial / Manufacturing Engineering Colleges in the U.S.

Industrial Engineering Schools Ranked By US News and World Report

Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus
Atlanta, GA  |  Total Enrollment: 14805

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 38103

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of California - Berkeley
Berkeley, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 31277

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
Stanford University
Stanford, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 18549

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 16952

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA  |  Total Enrollment: 10090

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  |  Total Enrollment: 12043

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison, WI  |  Total Enrollment: 40658

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, VA  |  Total Enrollment: 27869

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Purdue University - Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN  |  Total Enrollment: 39667

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree

Browse All 163 Colleges With Industrial Engineering Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Alfred University Alfred NY 1607
Andrews University Berrien Springs MI 2749
Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus Tempe AZ 44126
Auburn University Main Campus Auburn University AL 21860
Boston University Boston MA 28318
Bradley University Peoria IL 5951
Brigham Young University Provo UT 32554
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo CA 16877
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona CA 18424
California State University - Fresno Fresno CA 19056
California State University - Northridge Northridge CA 29066
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland OH 9304
Central Arizona College Coolidge AZ 4536
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant MI 26845
Central Missouri State University Warrensburg MO 10936
Central Ohio Technical College Newark OH 1832
Central State University Wilberforce OH 1103
Clemson University Clemson SC 17465
Cleveland State University Cleveland OH 15294
Colorado State University - Pueblo Pueblo CO 5531
Columbia University in the City of New York New York NY 19639
Cornell University Ithaca NY 12043
Drexel University Philadelphia PA 13128
Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown PA 1825
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee FL 12126
Florida International University Miami FL 31945
Florida State University Tallahassee FL 33971
Gannon University Erie PA 3377
George Mason University Fairfax VA 23408
George Washington University Washington DC 20527
Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta GA 14805
Harcourt Learning Direct Center for Degree Studies Cambridge MA No Data
Hennepin Technical College Brooklyn Park MN 5843
Hofstra University Hempstead NY 13144
Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago IL 6003
Indiana Institute of Technology Fort Wayne IN 2293
Iowa State University Ames IA 26845
Kansas State University Manhattan KS 21929
Kent State University - Kent Campus Kent OH 21924
Kettering University Flint MI 3331
Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland WI 2742
Lamar University Beaumont TX 11550
Lansing Community College Lansing MI 16011
Lawrence Technological University Southfield MI 4087
Lorain County Community College Elyria OH 10521
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge LA 31527
Louisiana Tech University Ruston LA 10363
Manchester Community College Manchester CT 5135
Marietta College Marietta OH 1238
Marquette University Milwaukee WI 10892
Mercer University Macon GA 6908
Miami University - Oxford Oxford OH 16757
Michigan State University East Lansing MI 43366
Midwestern State University Wichita Falls TX 5809
Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee WI 2620
Mississippi State University Mississippi State MS 16561
Morgan State University Baltimore MD 6269
New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark NJ 8820
New Mexico State University - Main Campus Las Cruces NM 14958
New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus New York NY 2501
New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury Old Westbury NY 5898
North Carolina A & T State University Greensboro NC 7748
North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh NC 28619
North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo ND 9902
Northcentral Technical College Wausau WI 3821
Northeastern State University Tahlequah OK 8082
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Northern Illinois University Dekalb IL 23248
Northern Michigan University Marquette MI 8427
Northwestern University Evanston IL 16952
Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus OH 47952
Ohio University - Lancaster Campus Lancaster OH 1585
Ohio University - Main Campus Athens OH 19920
Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Stillwater OK 18676
Oregon State University Corvallis OR 16758
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus University Park PA 40571
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Great Valley Malvern PA 1613
Pima Community College Tucson AZ 28078
Polytechnic University Brooklyn NY 3059
Portland State University Portland OR 18889
Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette IN 39667
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy NY 8022
Robert Morris University Moon Township PA 4620
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester NY 14106
Rutgers University - New Brunswick/piscataway New Brunswick NJ 35236
Saint Ambrose University Davenport IA 3011
Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud MN 15181
San Jose State University San Jose CA 26698
Seattle University Seattle WA 5852
Sinclair Community College Dayton OH 19026
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Rapid City SD 2307
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Edwardsville IL 12193
St Marys University San Antonio TX 4137
Stanford University Stanford CA 18549
Suny at Binghamton Binghamton NY 12473
Suny at Buffalo Buffalo NY 24830
Suny Maritime College Bronx NY 776
Syracuse University Syracuse NY 18186
Tennessee Technological University Cookeville TN 8410
Texas A & M University College Station TX 44026
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