Industrial Engineering

What Is It?:

Industrial Engineering solves complex system problems by addressing how systems and how components fit together. Due to the human component, industrial engineers draw upon a variety of discplines, including not only mathematics, computer science and process control, but also communciations, psychology and production management.  These skills are needed in order to design efficient, productive systems in a wide range of business, industrial, and governmental settings.

A combined B.S.-M.S. Industrial Engineering degree program is available. Its admission and course requirements are described in the College of Engineering program information section

Students can specialize further when selecting a department-approved track option or petitioning for a customized track option:  

  • Economics and Finance
  • Industrial Engineering Fundamentals
  • Operations Research
  • Quality Engineering
  • Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Logistics

For more information, please visit the Department of Industrial and Enterprise System Engineering

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CHEM 102/103—General Chemistry I / General Chemistry Lab I
  • MATH 221—Calculus I
  • MATH 231—Calculus II
  • PHYS 211—University Physics: Mechanics
  • PHYS 212—University Physics: Electricity & Magnetism

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

The kinds of projects that industrial engineering graduates could find themselves working on include:

  • Designing the admissions procedure at a hospital.
  • Developing a hardware protection program for spacecraft.
  • Developing a supplier quality program.
  • Developing and launching a complete material handling system.
  • Developing prototype units for the cellular phone car adapter market.
  • Developing the conceptual layout of a dockyard and ship repair facility.
  • Discovering a new way to assemble a product that will prevent worker injury.
  • Implementing lean manufacturing concepts.
  • Performing motion and time studies.
  • Representing a company in the design and construction of a new plant.
  • Representing manufacturing and purchasing issues on a design team.
  • Simulation modeling.
  • Teaching industrial engineering courses.
  • Working on a design project to make a medical device to treat sleep apnea.

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Consultant
  • Design Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Operations Manager
  • Product Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Production Planning Systems Manager
  • Salesman

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Society: honors academically outstanding students at the University of Illinois in the area of Industrial Engineering. In addition to awarding achievement, we aid the IESE department and help the community with service projects.
    • Institute of Industrial Engineers: discusses topics related to Industrial Engineering and socialize with other IE's

Related Skills:

  • Ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs
  • Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • Ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • Apply techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
  • Broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
  • Communicate effectively
  • Core knowledge of mathematics and physical sciences, and the ability to apply that knowledge in engineering practice
  • Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • Knowledge of contemporary issues with a broad emphasis on the arts, humanities, and sciences
  • Recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning
  • Understanding of professional and ethical responsibility

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Industrial Engineering, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Industrial Engineering.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Industrial Engineering.  These organizations include Institute of Industrial Engineers and Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Industrial Engineering, visit Undergraduate Programs.