The major in industrial engineering requires a strong foundation of courses in engineering science, mathematics, design, manufacturing, social science, and humanities. Advanced work includes specialty courses in human factors and ergonomics, management, information systems, manufacturing, quality control, and operations research. Design is an integral part of the undergraduate program; all students complete a comprehensive design experience.
The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering offers a host of options for each engineering student. From the undergraduate engineering degree, a dual Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) degree, focus areas, and extracurricular activities, there are many options available to explore and develop professional skills. The industrial and systems engineering undergraduate program emphasizes a broad education in engineering fundamentals and the opportunity for in-depth learning in a focus area.
Focus Areas and Specialized Opportunities
As part of the mission to help students be engineers and something more, the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering offers a variety of focus area options so that students can pursue specialized interests. Industrial engineering focus areas include big data analytics, computer and information systems, design and manufacturing, entrepreneurship, human factors and ergonomics, management, and an option to tailor a focus area to an individual student's interests.
Big Data Analytics
Big data analytics is the process of examining big data in an effort to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, and other useful information—95% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few.
Computer and Information Systems
Industrial engineers have a natural role to play in this field by using quantitative system analysis, manufacturing system knowledge, and human factors skills to help design and refine computer systems that are becoming ever more complex. The field offers substantial opportunities for technical skill development, travel, and interaction with a diverse range of professionals.
Design and Manufacturing
Many graduates find careers in manufacturing industries that include the use of computer-aided design and manufacturing, virtual and physical prototyping, 3D design, design and simulation of manufacturing processes, and manufacturing systems. They find employment in diverse industries, including the supplier manufacturing industry (e.g., John Deere, Caterpillar, Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, Boeing), health care (e.g., Johnson & Johnson, Zimmer), software, and the information industry (e.g., Pro/Engineer, CATIA, SolidWorks, AutoCAD).
Entrepreneurship allows engineering students to explore venture capital, marketability of products, and technology transfer. They gain exposure to understanding sound business practice, acquire team-building skills in both small and large companies, understand the entrepreneurial approach to acquiring and managing resources, learn how to create a business plan, and obtain valuable contacts and networking opportunities with businesses and industries.
Human Factors and Ergonomics
The human factors and ergonomics focus area represents an increasingly important engineering specialty. The dramatic increase in netcentric computer technology makes system performance increasingly dependent on the match between system characteristics and human capabilities. Graduates find employment in diverse industries that include health care (e.g., GE, Medtronics, Guidant), original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and supplier manufacturing industry (e.g., Rockwell Collins, Boeing, John Deere, Caterpillar), computer systems (e.g., Microsoft, Intel, IBM), the government (e.g., NHTSA, NTSB, NASA, the Department of Defense), and consulting (e.g., Accenture, Battelle). Human factors considers cognitive characteristics, and ergonomics considers physical characteristics. This focus area provides advanced education in psychology, systems, statistics, and biomechanics.
Industrial engineers are often assigned managerial tasks, project management, and financial assessments as they relate to project budgets, cost calculations, and optimization criteria. This focus area prepares students for a career in business management.
Students work with an advisor to tailor a program that is specific to their individual needs. For more information about guidelines for tailored focus areas, see EFAs and Specialized Opportunities on the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering website.
Student organizations can have an enormous impact on an undergraduate student's career. The College of Engineering is home to a number of student organizations and clubs. Popular organizations for industrial and systems engineering students include the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES).
Undergraduate resources are available to students to pursue research, access professional services available in the college and across the university, and participate in or view sports and arts events on campus and around town.
A variety of engineering scholarships and funding opportunities are available to industrial and systems engineering students.
The undergraduate program in industrial engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
The following educational objectives of the program are defined in conjunction with the accreditation process.
Within a few years of graduation, industrial engineering graduates will:
- continue learning;
- lead and inspire others; and
- engage in the community and society.