Industrial engineering is all about maximizing efficiencies while controlling costs, two objectives common to virtually every business, government, and nonprofit organization. The diversity and versatility inherent in industrial engineering create numerous job opportunities, and students who earn master’s degrees in this multidisciplinary field are well suited for management, leadership, and other specialized roles. Read on for more information about the best online master's in industrial engineering programs, the importance of accreditation, recommended certification and licensure, and frequently asked questions for industrial engineers.
2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Master's in Industrial Engineering Degrees
The following 24 schools offer the best online master's in industrial engineering programs, based on their low tuition rates and high mid-career salary potentials. Graduates of the #1-ranked school, Clemson University, reported a median salary of $151,300. Tuition for Clemson University's Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering is $12,960 per year. In the #2 spot, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus offers a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management for only $13,146 per year, making it an affordable choice for distance learners who are looking for a high quality and affordable education.
Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.
The Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering degree at Clemson University offers a concentrated, multidisciplinary education in supply chain logistics. The program is designed for professionals in the field who seek to advance their knowledge and skills in the discipline while maintaining full-time employment. The curriculum combines the fundamentals of industrial engineering, civil engineering, and management, with coursework in logistics modeling, prescriptive and descriptive analytics, quality control, human health and safety, and environmental impact and remediations. Students are enrolled in one course per semester, and the curriculum is sequenced so that each subsequent course builds on the last. The 30-credit hour program is delivered entirely online and self-paced, with no set login times.
#2 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
Annual Tuition: $13,146
Median Salary: $131,400
Locations: Stillwater (OK)
The Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management program at Oklahoma State University-Main Campus instructs students in the advanced fundamentals of engineering design and productivity and quality management. Online students can choose to concentrate in engineering management or general industrial engineering. The engineering management track includes coursework in finance, quality management, probability and statistics, supply chain management, and inventory control. The general industrial engineering concentration provides a broader education in project management through instruction in optimization, warehousing, modeling, and assessment and improvement. Both tracks offer a thesis and a non-thesis option. The thesis option requires the completion of 30 credit hours, including six thesis research credits, while the non-thesis option requires 33 credit hours.
#3 North Carolina State University
Annual Tuition: $22,876
Median Salary: $133,500
Locations: Raleigh (NC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
North Carolina State University's Master of Industrial Engineering (MIE) program provides students with undergraduate degrees in engineering, science, or mathematics the opportunity to begin or advance their careers in the field. Students are instructed in the fundamentals of industrial engineering, with courses in economics, human factors, manufacturing, production, systems analysis and optimization, and computer science. This broad, foundational curriculum offers graduates the flexibility to work in a number of fields, including bio-, nano- or traditional manufacturing, health care, and shipping and logistics. Graduates can also choose to enter a consulting role, lending their expertise in improving productivity and quality to a variety of clients. The master's in industrial engineering online program requires the completion of 33 credit hours, six of which can be substituted with faculty-approved project work.
#4 Georgia Institute of Technology
Annual Tuition: $16,500
Median Salary: $127,700
Locations: Atlanta (GA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Students pursuing the Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE) at Georgia Institute of Technology are instructed in the most dynamic concepts and practices in improving productivity and quality by faculty involved in advanced research in the discipline. Through online coursework in systems analysis, optimization, simulation, modeling, and statistics, students complete the program well-equipped to enter a management or leadership role in engineering, manufacturing, production, warehousing, or supply chain programming. Graduates have gone on to begin careers with Google, Tesla Motors, Delta Airlines, Habitat for Humanity, IBM, Nike, Procter and Gamble, UPS, and Cisco Systems. The online MSIE degree is completed in 30 credit hours and does not require a thesis or capstone project.
#5 Columbia University in the City of New York
Annual Tuition: $31,560
Median Salary: $132,700
Locations: New York (NY)
Columbia University in the City of New York's Master of Science in Industrial Engineering - Systems Engineering program offers students instruction in the design, operation, and management of efficient engineering projects. The curriculum includes coursework in systems engineering applications, optimization, probability and statistics, and stochastic models. In addition to these core courses, students enroll in electives that best match their academic or career interests. These electives include instruction in management, biological systems, infrastructure and sustainability, and mechanical, electrical, and computer systems. The 30-credit hour MSIE in systems engineering degree is completed part-time, entirely online.
#6 Purdue University - Main Campus
Annual Tuition: $20,220
Median Salary: $125,500
Locations: West Lafayette (IN)
At Purdue University, there are two online master’s in industrial engineering programs. An Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering (MSE/MS) with a concentration in Industrial Engineering, and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE). Both programs are 30-credit, non-thesis degrees that can be completed in three to four semesters. Students in the IE Master’s Program work with their academic advisor to create a plan of study suited to their career goals and interests. Courses cover topics such as linear programming, industrial applications of statistics, economic analysis, stochastic models, industrial robotics, human factors in engineering, and systems simulation. Although the application details for each program differ, both require an application form and fee, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a current resume. There are also prerequisite course recommendations (requirements for some programs), which include mathematics through multivariate calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra; applied probability and engineering statistics, and computer programming. Once admitted, Purdue offers a range of technical and academic support services to online students.
#7 Kansas State University
Annual Tuition: $11,473
Median Salary: $121,300
Locations: Manhattan (KS)
The online Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE) at Kansas State University is a 30-credit hour thesis or coursework-only program. Students can take up to six years to finish, but most finish much faster. With classes available in the fall, spring, and summer, some students take one class at a time, and some two, but very few students take more than two. The MSIE program is for students who already have their Bachelor’s in Engineering, Physical Science, or Mathematics, and already understand the basics of industrial engineering. The curriculum advances that knowledge with the scientific, analytical, and mathematical skills needed to solve complicated business issues in multiple industries. Core courses cover topics such as production and inventory control, operation research, applied stochastic processes, and multiple criteria decision-making. Students may also choose from a range of electives within IE or from computer science, mathematics, statistics, and other engineering departments. The entire degree can be earned online, with students only needing to come to campus once for an oral examination at the end of their program. K-State Online students may access all the same resources and support as on-campus students.
#8 University of Missouri
Annual Tuition: $10,290
Median Salary: $116,600
Locations: Columbia (MO)
At the University of Missouri, the Master of Science (MS) in Industrial Engineering online degree is a 30-credit program that can be finished in two years by students taking two classes per semester. With a curriculum that blends technical engineering expertise with leadership and business training, this online master's program prepares professional engineers to progress into managerial roles. The coursework covers topics such as industrial energy efficiency, smart manufacturing and supply systems, productions and operations analysis, supply chain engineering, big data, and advanced integrated production systems. Classes are 100% online, but some courses require synchronous sessions. Admission requires an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, official transcripts, GRE for applicants who did not graduate from an ABET-accredited bachelor's program, statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, a CV or resume, and an online application. The university offers many online support services, including online learning tech support, and a range of career services.
#9 Texas A&M University-College Station
Annual Tuition: $26,402
Median Salary: $122,700
Locations: College Station (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
At Texas A&M University - College Station, the online Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering (MEng in IE) is a 30-credit degree without a thesis requirement. This program is structured and professional-oriented, with a curriculum that emphasizes basic sets of knowledge, tools, and methods of IE. Most students with this degree enter the industry after graduation. IE is a field devoted to optimizing systems of technology, materials, facilities, and people that produce the things we need for quality of life and economic development. Industrial engineers are uniquely trained to use math and science to solve the issues that arise when humans work within complex technical systems, making for a wide range of career opportunities post-graduation. The Distance Learning program allows students anywhere to earn the same MEng in IE degree as students on campus, with the same standards from admission to graduation. Students also get to access university facilities, student-priced software, and software in the systems and industrial engineering cloud. Most students in the program have a bachelor’s in engineering. Other degrees are acceptable, provided applicants have taken the prerequisite coursework in science and mathematics.
#10 Illinois Institute of Technology
Annual Tuition: $25,200
Median Salary: $121,800
Locations: Chicago (IL)
The Master of Science (MS) in Manufacturing Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology allows industrial engineers to earn a 32-credit online degree. There is a thesis option and a non-thesis option, with both requiring an oral comprehensive exam. In their first semester, MS students will choose an emphasis in Materials Science and Engineering or Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, as well as a permanent advisor. The advisor and student work together to design a curriculum that reflects the emphasis and the student’s interests and needs. Coursework covers topics such as statistical quality process control, integrated manufacturing systems, physical and mechanical metallurgy, computational fluid dynamics, design optimization, finite element methods, and computer-aided design. Admission for this online industrial engineering degree requires an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, official transcripts, a professional statement, a resume, recommendation letters, and an online application. As of spring 2020, the GRE/GMAT and application fee requirements were waived, but applicants should check current guidelines. Technical support services are available to online students, as are academic support and advising and career services.
#11 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Annual Tuition: $24,983
Median Salary: $121,600
Locations: Ann Arbor (MI)
There are two master's in industrial engineering online degrees offered by the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor: the Master of Engineering in Manufacturing (MEM) and the Master of Engineering in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (MEGAME). Both are 30-credit MEs that can be earned entirely online in an average of 2.5 years, although part-time students are allowed to take up to five years to finish. Applications are accepted to start in the fall, winter, and spring/summer. Topics covered in the MEM curriculum include manufacturing design and sustainability, nano/digital/additive manufacturing, industry safety and ecology, marketing strategy, finance, and data analytics. MEGAME coursework also touches on business topics, as well as subjects like integrated vehicle systems design and manufacturing systems design, advanced powertrains, electrification, and intelligent vehicle systems and design. The classes are taught by world-class faculty in ways that allow distance learners to benefit from authentic interaction anywhere in the world. Applicants must submit an online application and fee, an official undergraduate transcript showing a 3.0 minimum GPA in an Engineering discipline from an ABET-accredited institution, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and a resume showing relevant industry work or internship experience. Although GRE scores are not required, they are encouraged.
#12 Arizona State University
Annual Tuition: $10,108
Median Salary: $113,000
Locations: Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
Arizona State University offers an online Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE), which is 30 credit hours and nine total classes. It also offers an online dual degree that combines the MSIE with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) for 56 credit hours and 18 total classes. Students in this concurrent program earn their degrees faster—in three years—and at a lower cost than pursuing each program separately. The MSIE curriculum focuses on the quantitative and qualitative abilities needed to comprehend, analyze, and solve problems in diverse organizations. Career opportunities in this field can be found in almost every industry. Core coursework covers topics such as simulating stochastic systems, design engineering experiments, and regression analysis. The concurrent degree program combines MBA curriculum with advanced engineering coursework. This degree is ideal for working professionals who want up-to-date expertise in engineering while also enhancing their business acumen. Applicants to the MS program must meet the admission requirements for the graduate college and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Applicants to the concurrent MBA/MS program must also meet the competitive W. P. Carey MBA requirements. ASU Online offers a number of student resources from academic support to career development.
#13 New Jersey Institute of Technology
Annual Tuition: $19,605
Median Salary: $116,600
Locations: Newark (NJ)
The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s online Master of Science (MS) in Industrial Engineering degree requires a minimum of 30 credits. Thesis or independent research is optional. This online industrial engineering degree allows students to work with graduate advisors to design an individualized program by selecting three areas of specialization from the following areas: Service Systems Engineering, Supply Chain & Logistics, Information Systems Design, Operations Research, and Quality Systems Engineering. MS students at NJIT prepare for professional advancement through studies in subjects such as statistics, simulation, production planning, industrial economics, scheduling, and human factors. Students can also design their course plan to ensure that they earn a 12-credit Operations Productivity graduate certificate as they work toward graduation. To apply, prospective students must submit an application and fee, official transcripts, GRE scores, and a letter of recommendation. Check with NJIT for any current guideline changes.
#14 University of Florida
Annual Tuition: $11,040
Median Salary: $112,900
Locations: Gainesville (FL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The Industrial and System Engineering (ISE) Department at the University of Florida offers two online Master's degrees in Industrial Engineering: a Master of Science (MS) and a Master of Engineering (ME). Both degrees may be completed with or without a thesis, but the ME requires students to have an undergraduate degree in engineering. Both the ME and MS in ISE degrees are 31-credit online programs that must begin in the fall or spring semester, although spring admission is rare. The UF ISE Graduate Program trains engineers in advanced skills to organize work in industry, education, and science for maximum efficacy and results, and to solve complicated real-world problems. The curriculum covers human and system performance measurement, methods design and implementation, systems design, simulation probability methods, optimization modeling, and how to apply skills to a range of systems, from health to human, to transportation, and more. The eLearning environment is accessible and flexible, and there are extensive support services available to quickly resolve any issues that students may encounter.
#15 Texas Tech University
Annual Tuition: $5,670
Median Salary: $107,900
Locations: Lubbock (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Texas Tech University offers two master's in industrial engineering degrees online: a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE) and a Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering (MSMfgE). Both degrees offer thesis and non-thesis options, but while the MSIE program requires 36 credit hours, the MSMfgE is only 30. The MSIE curriculum covers operations research modeling and principles of optimization, systems theory and systems engineering, statistical data analysis, and ergonomics and human factors in engineering and design. The MSMfgE curriculum covers advanced manufacturing processes and engineering, sustainable manufacturing, manufacturing facilities planning and design, and biomedical design and manufacturing. There is overlap in coursework between the two programs, and both can be completed 100% online. Applicants must submit transcripts, GRE scores, a reference letter, and a departmental questionnaire for admission. A statement of purpose and resume/CV are optional. A Bachelor Degree in Engineering is not required, but three hours of college Physics with lab and Calculus I, II, and III are. Students who have not taken undergraduate Probability and Statistics may be admitted, but must take a leveling course at TTU.
#16 Iowa State University
Annual Tuition: $10,425
Median Salary: $109,100
Locations: Ames (IA)
The Master in Industrial Engineering online degree at Iowa State University is a 30-credit hour ME program offering advanced training to industry professionals looking to progress further on or change their career path. The curriculum focuses on a range of topics in operations research, human factors, engineering management, manufacturing and operations, and enterprise computing. Coursework covers occupational biomechanics, inventory control and production scheduling and planning, computer-aided design, stochastic systems analysis, simulation modeling, and more. Online learning can be accessed 24/7 through a web portal that provides interaction with professors, assignments, lectures, online discussions, and other features that match the experience of a face-to-face classroom in a more flexible format. Lectures may be viewed online or downloaded to be viewed later. Admission to the ME program requires a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. Other degrees may be considered individually. Other requirements include an application fee, transcripts, GRE scores, resume or CV, a statement of purpose answering four questions, three recommendation letters, and completion of undergraduate Calculus through Differential Equations.
#17 Oregon State University
Annual Tuition: $14,145
Median Salary: $109,700
Locations: Corvallis (OR)
The Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering (MEng IE) degree at Oregon State University is a 45-credit, course-only, non-thesis online program. With four start terms per year, students taking one to two classes per term can finish in approximately two years. The program has a transcript-visible option in Engineering Management, reflecting the curriculum’s focus on the practical and business applications of graduate-level engineering expertise. MEng IE coursework examines subjects such as systems engineering, project risk management, professional responsibility and ethics, legal issues in engineering, and economic analysis. This online industrial engineering degree is offered entirely online through an Ecampus system that can be previewed on the OSU website through a demo trailer and a multimedia showcase of the range of technical features available to the virtual classroom. Admission requires an application, statement of personal objectives, reference letters, and undergraduate transcripts showing an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited US program. Students without an ABET-accredited degree will need to submit GRE scores. All admitted students need a full understanding of calculus, matrix algebra, and probability and statistics. Students without this background will need to take leveling courses that will not count toward their degree.
#18 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign
Annual Tuition: $19,512
Median Salary: $110,400
Locations: Champaign (IL)
At the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign, the Master of Science (MS) in Industrial Engineering is an entirely online degree that students may start in the spring, summer, or fall semester. There is a thesis option that is 32 credit hours and a non-thesis option, requiring additional coursework, which is 36 credit hours. There is also a transcript-visible Advanced Analytics concentration available. The MS online industrial engineering degree requirements are kept flexible to allow students to tailor their degree plan to their preferred research/interest area. The curriculum allows for varying levels of focus across a range of industry specializations, such as Decision and Control Systems, Data Analytics, Design and Manufacturing, Financial Engineering, and Operations Research. Students opting for the Advanced Analytics concentration will take courses in topics such as big data and clustering, algorithms, optimization, big graphs and social networks, stochastic processes, applied nonlinear programming, and more. For admission, applicants need an undergraduate degree from an accredited engineering program with a 3.25 GPA for the last two years of study. Also required are official GRE scores, online application and fee, resume, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts.
#19 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Annual Tuition: $12,464
Median Salary: $107,100
Locations: Knoxville (TN)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The Master of Science (MS) in Industrial System Engineering (ISE) at The University of Tennessee – Knoxville is an online industrial engineering degree that requires 33 credits, no thesis, and a three-hour capstone project. This MSISE degree also offers a four-course concentration in Engineering Management, and taking these courses will earn the student an Engineering Management Graduate Certificate. Candidates must finish the degree in six calendar years, but most students finish faster. The fully online program made available through the Department of ISE at UT - Knoxville and the UT Space Institute utilizes video electronic media and distance interactive teaching methods. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in engineering or of other technical curricula that satisfy prerequisites from an ABET-accredited program with at least a 2.7 GPA during senior year. Applicants with work experience are given greater GPA flexibility. The UT Center for Advanced Systems Research and Education (CASRE) is a place where industry practitioners improve systems while sharing the educational benefit of the experience. Facilities include the Natural Interface Laboratory (human-machine interaction), Ideation Laboratory (rapid prototyping), and Smart Production Laboratory (process development), as well as software tools addressing systems analysis from modeling to simulation to visualization.
#20 New York University
Annual Tuition: $28,035
Median Salary: $113,100
Locations: New York (NY)
New York University has a 30-credit, online Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE) degree program. Industrial Engineers are professionals who understand the inner workings of industrial systems, and this program helps those professionals improve expertise and explore new methods of developing efficient and effective delivery of products and services. The curriculum focuses on systems simulation, analytic modeling, queuing systems, facilities design, project planning, quality management and control, work design, and other practices and are rapidly becoming indispensable to the global industry. Students are also taught key lessons that help prevent the waste of time, energy, resources, and labor. With the guidance of exceptional faculty and alumni, and with extensive resources available, MSIE online students are taught skills to be leaders of the industry. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (with ABET-accredited programs given preference) and knowledge of engineering economics and probability and statistics. Those without prerequisites will have to be provisionally admitted until appropriate coursework is taken. GRE scores are only required for full-time applicants. NYU MSIE students benefit from a mentorship support program and extensive career resources and alumni networking.
#21 University of Central Florida
Annual Tuition: $10,422
Median Salary: $105,600
Locations: Orlando (FL) (and 7 others)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The University of Central Florida offers two online industrial engineering degrees at the master’s level: a Master of Industrial Engineering (MSIE) and an MS in Industrial Engineering. The MS offers the following six concentrations: Healthcare Systems Engineering, Human Systems Engineering/Ergonomics, Management Systems, Quality and Production Systems, Simulation, Optimization and Modeling, and Systems Engineering. Both the MSIE and MS program are 30-credit degrees with thesis and non-thesis tracks. In both programs, the curriculum focuses on skills that improve efficiency, productivity, quality, and safety, while reducing waste and cost. These flexible programs allow students to explore the human side of technological advancement, how to evaluate and develop alternative solutions to existing operating systems, how to attain a fundamental comprehension of simulation design in service and manufacturing, and more. Entrance into the MISE program requires an undergraduate engineering degree, while the MS degree will also accept a Bachelor’s in Statistics, Physics, Mathematics, Quantitative Management, Computer Science, or similar field. Students with other degrees may be considered for both programs if they are strong in other application areas but will need to take prerequisite courses. Support services include the UCF Online Connect Center team, available to coach online students through to graduation.
#22 Missouri University of Science and Technology
Annual Tuition: $18,000
Median Salary: $105,700
Locations: Rolla (MO)
The Missouri University of Science and Technology offers a 30-credit hour online Master of Engineering (ME) in Manufacturing Engineering degree, which can be finished in one year, and a 30-credit hour online Master of Science (MS) in Engineering Management degree that can be customized to focus on Industrial Engineering. The ME curriculum provides an education on modern manufacturing technologies across a range of industries, such as biotechnology, aerospace, marine, and electronic equipment. The MS curriculum teaches students the convergence of management and engineering within high-technology industry environments. Many employers provide benefits or cover costs for workers who pursue these degrees due to the real-life applications for the knowledge and skills acquired in coursework. Although live class participation is possible through video streaming, classes are also recorded and archived for more flexibility. Both programs require GRE scores, transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA for the final 60 credits. The MS program also requires a BS in Engineering, Physical Science, or Math, and undergraduate courses in Physics I and II or Chemistry, Calculus I to III, Differential Equations, Statistics, and Engineering Economy. Applicants who cannot meet these requirements can contact the school for advising.
#23 University of Southern California
Annual Tuition: $31,125
Median Salary: $105,000
Locations: Los Angeles (CA)
The Master of Science (MS) degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California requires 30 credits that can all be taken online. MS students can apply to begin studies in the fall or spring semesters. This online program is designed for working professionals in engineering and related technical fields who want to progress to high levels of leadership and responsibility in their careers. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required to graduate. The curriculum covers a range of industry concerns, such as project management, inventory systems, information systems, linear programming, quality management, and performance analysis. Coursework is made available online through the DEN@Viterbi program, which provides an interactive academic experience equivalent to an on-campus degree, with full administrative, academic, and technical support. Program admission requirements include official transcripts showing an undergraduate degree in engineering or related field (such as Logistics or Mathematics), official GRE scores, resume or CV, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
#24 Auburn University
Annual Tuition: $15,184
Median Salary: $95,700
Locations: Auburn (AL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
At Auburn University, the 31-credit Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering (MISE) online degree can be completed in as few as two semesters, although working students may want to take longer. There is also a 55-credit MBA/MISE dual-degree option administered jointly by the ISE and MBA programs, which saves students 6 hours of coursework compared to finishing the degrees separately. The MISE curriculum teaches in-depth cutting-edge industrial engineering approaches and techniques in a range of settings, including healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, telecommunication, and supply chain. Students in the dual-degree program also take nine business courses. MISE/MBA students without two years of full-time work experience must complete a three-credit internship. For admission, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in industrial or other Engineering disciplines. Degrees in related Science, Mathematics, and Technology disciplines are accepted. However, students may need to complete Auburn undergraduate leveling courses such as Calculus I-II, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Engineering Economy, Stochastic Operations Research, and Probability and Statistics. Students without a 2.75 or higher GPA in an ABET-accredited engineering program will also need to submit GRE scores. Applicants to the MISE/MBA degree must apply to each program separately, but need only pay one application fee.
Online Master's Degrees in Industrial Engineering
Students with an analytical mind and a knack for understanding systems may want to consider pursuing an online master’s degree in industrial engineering. Broadly speaking, this complex field combines elements of business, technology, mathematics, and science to solve the issues that arise when humans work within technical systems. More specifically, industrial engineering focuses on optimizing the systems of technology, materials, facilities, and people used in nearly every major type of organization to produce the goods and services we need.
Online master’s degree programs in industrial engineering are generally open to students who have earned undergraduate degrees in engineering, science, or mathematics. Although students who have earned bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines may be accepted into an IE master’s program, they may be required to complete prerequisite courses, such as calculus, probability and statistics, and computer programming, before starting on the core courses of the industrial engineering program.
When applying to an online master’s in industrial engineering program, students are typically asked to submit letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a current resume in addition to the application form and fee.
An online master’s in industrial engineering program can take anywhere from two to five years to complete. The core courses in online industrial engineering degree programs vary widely but often include production methods, quality management, systems analysis, statistics, and computer software in engineering systems. The exact mix of courses often depends on the areas of concentration offered. Popular concentrations in this major include logistics or supply chain management, facilities management, manufacturing engineering, and operations. Some programs also invite students to choose electives in math, business, or computer science.
Choosing a Master’s in Industrial Engineering Program
It’s important to choose the right degree program when pursuing a master’s degree in industrial engineering. Not all online programs are the same in this field, so it is essential to do thorough research about a prospective degree program and choose one that fits with the student’s interests and career goals. Students should consider what the program entails, such as courses of study and areas of concentration offered.
Other factors to consider relate to a student’s personal needs and preferences, such as schedule of classes, part-time options, duration of the program, and whether the program requires field experience, on-campus residencies, or internships. The school's graduation rates and hiring percentages are also important indicators of students' experiences. Finally, applicants may want to research potential instructors and their expertise in the field of industrial engineering.
Financing a Master’s in Industrial Engineering Degree
One of the challenges of going for a graduate degree is figuring out how to pay for it. Fortunately, students have plenty of options for financing their online master’s in industrial engineering online degrees. For most students, it is possible to pay for education by seeking out grants, applying for financial aid via the FAFSA form, taking out student loans, and applying for scholarships. There are many scholarships specific to the engineering field available through professional engineering organizations, and other scholarships offered by the private sector.
Why is Accreditation Important for Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Degrees?
Accreditation is an important aspect that students should take into account when considering enrolling in an online industrial engineering degree program. The accreditation process involves a thorough, independent evaluation of all aspects of an undergraduate or graduate degree program. For industrial engineering programs, students should look for accreditation from ABET.
Students who choose an accredited school can feel confident that they will receive a quality education and that their degree will be recognized by other academic institutions and potential employers. Although accreditation from ABET isn't required for an industrial engineer, enrolling in an unaccredited program can negatively impact both academic prospects and future employment opportunities. In addition, in order to apply for student loans or to transfer credits to another institution, students must attend an accredited school.
What Specializations are Available in the Field of Industrial Engineering?
Because the field of industrial engineering is broad, many people choose to specialize within the field. Some potential areas of expertise include:
Ergonomics: Within the broader scope of manufacturing processes, there is a concern for workers related to their productivity, safety, comfort, and job satisfaction. This is the domain of ergonomics, which deals with creating an optimal working environment. Industrial engineers who specialize in ergonomics analyze, for example, how work stations can be arranged to maximize a worker’s productivity while safeguarding the employee from accidents or injuries. They also study how overall systems can be arranged to benefit employees and the employer and ensure efficiency.
Manufacturing Engineering: Manufacturing systems use a variety of technologies and processes, many of which are automated, to make a product. Manufacturing engineers study these systems to determine how to maximize efficiency, cut costs, and maintain a safe work environment for employees. Manufacturing engineers typically need familiarity with computerized systems, robotics, AI, and other advanced technologies.
Operations Research: Operations research, decision science, and management science are terms often used interchangeably to describe the application of mathematical techniques to decision making in industrial settings. Some of these techniques include mathematical modeling and statistical analysis. The objective of operations research, as with all industrial engineering, is to aid in making business decisions that maximize efficiency and quality while minimizing risks and costs.
Quality/Reliability Engineering: As important as efficiency is, quality and reliability are equally critical to the success of any organization, which is why some industrial engineers choose to specialize in this area. Quality engineers focus on developing tests and control systems to maintain quality levels. They also interact with suppliers and customers, using feedback and information to continually improve their quality levels and processes.
What Certifications Can Help a Career in Industrial Engineers?
Besides earning an online master's in industrial engineering, professionals in this field can also add certifications and licenses to their resume that may enhance their reputations and help them stand out from other job candidates. Here are some credentials that industrial engineering professionals can earn during their career:
Certified Quality Engineer: To earn this credential, individuals must have at least eight years of experience in the field. Graduate degrees can substitute for five of those years.
Certified Production Technician: This certificate shows a high level of commitment to the standards of the industry, including safety, quality control, and green practices.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master's in Industrial Engineering
What do industrial engineers do?
Industrial engineers find ways to maximize efficiency in production processes. They study the systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and other resources to make a product or provide a service, and they look for ways to eliminate any wastefulness or inefficiencies. With so many variables involved, industrial engineers must possess a fairly broad base of knowledge in diverse subjects such as production processes, computer systems, and math and statistics. To be successful, they must also have strong communication skills, the ability to work well with others, and an analytical mind with a propensity for problem-solving.
Among the many tasks involved in industrial engineering are:
Analyzing production processes to understand the activities involved and how they can be enhanced
Reviewing production schedules for improved efficiency
Developing control systems to monitor time and quality
Establishing procedures for resolving problems and minimizing expenses
Industrial engineers will often confer with other employees or clients in order to better understand processes and systems and to communicate changes meant to improve systems.
What can I do with a master’s degree in industrial engineering?
Earning an online master’s degree in industrial engineering may open the door to better-paying jobs, particularly in management or other leadership positions, in a wide range of industries. Production and manufacturing probably offer the most job opportunities, but there are many openings in healthcare, transportation, and logistics as well. Some graduates prefer to work with one particular employer, while others may choose to work as consultants, offering their expertise to many clients. Additionally, master’s graduates with a great deal of experience may be able to move into academia, especially after the completion of a doctoral degree in industrial engineering.
What is the job outlook for graduates with online master’s degrees in industrial engineering?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for industrial engineers is promising. In the United States, industrial engineer jobs are expected to grow by approximately 8% over the next decade, which is slightly faster than average. As of May 2019, the median salary for an industrial engineer was $88,020 per year, and the highest 10% earned more than $134,070. Master’s degree holders usually go into management-level positions, which often translate into higher salaries.
Are there any professional associations for industrial engineers?
In the field of industrial engineering, there are several industry associations or organizations governing professional practices and setting standards. Students and graduates may want to consider the networking and continuing education benefits of joining one or more of these organizations:
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers: Since 1948, the IISE has been a global association for productivity and efficiency professionals who specialize in industrial engineering, healthcare, ergonomics, and other related professions. IISE creates a forum in which professionals working in these varied fields can network, obtain additional training, and share their knowledge.
Society of Manufacturing Engineers: The SME is a nonprofit group with members at all levels of the manufacturing industry, from students to executives. In addition to networking and career advancement opportunities, the SME provides members with resources and information on trends and new developments and creates a forum through which members can share and resolve pressing issues and problems.
Society of Women Engineers: Women engineers can find leadership opportunities and more in this society dedicated to promoting diversity and the inclusion of women in the engineering and technology professions. Members stay up-to-date on professional development, outreach, and advocacy programs through the organization’s rich blog and magazine content.
National Society of Black Engineers: The National Society of Black Engineers is dedicated to bringing more people of color into the engineering profession. Memberships are available to professionals, college students, and youth. Academic support, networking opportunities, and job search assistance are among the many benefits available to members.
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