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10 Best Master’s in Industrial Engineering

masters industrial engineering

As the use of technology continues to expand across economic platforms, the need for industrial engineers with advanced degrees grows too. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a career-leading 8% growth in jobs for industrial engineers from 2020-2028. That’s 3% higher than the average of all other career paths. The industry is expected to add 23,800 new jobs over the next eight years. 

Thanks to renewable energy and growth in the robotics industry, the expected increase in jobs for industrial engineers is likely to hold steady beyond 2028. A Master’s in industrial engineering can help pave the way for numerous roles and responsibilities, including team leadership in large corporations, the healthcare system, non-government organizations, manufacturing plants, and distribution systems.

If you love solving problems and have the drive to help the world around you, getting your Master’s in industrial engineering can take you nearly any place you want to go on a rewarding career path.

Common Application and Admission Questions

Acceptance into Master’s programs for industrial engineering can be a rigorous process. At the graduate level, you’ll be expected to demonstrate a level of competence that assures prospective schools you’ll be able to adequately progress through their demanding program.

Numerous colleges offer a one to two-year degree program ranging from accelerated no-thesis tracks to full two-year thesis options. Which track you decide to follow depends largely on your scholarly and career goals. If you desire to use your degree program to help fund a research project that can form the basis of your thesis, you’ll want to choose the thesis-track. If your focus is primarily on enhancing your knowledge base without researching specific real-world problems, you should opt for the no-thesis option.

Students in thesis tracks can take full advantage of on-site laboratories, undergrad student assistance, and full-time faculty aid, especially in schools with low student-to-faculty ratios. No-thesis track graduate students should expect a course load just as rigorous as their thesis-track contemporaries, but with several more classes in place of research units.

Either track will help you build upon the quantitative and qualitative reasoning, evaluation skills, and problem-solving abilities first learned during your undergraduate program. While it is not necessary to have an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering to apply, an undergraduate degree related to engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, physics, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering gives you a much better chance of being accepted. If your undergraduate degree has nothing to do with the engineering field, acceptance is granted on a case-by-case basis, and professional engineering work can help to supplement missing degree requirements.

To apply for a Master’s degree program in industrial engineering, you’ll need to submit the basic materials required for standard college entrance, including transcripts with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher, and letters of recommendation. You’ll also need to take the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination. This test will help your schools of choice to determine whether you are capable of handling their rigorous program and course work. 

The general GRE test contains questions and exercises that mirror the type of learning, experimenting, and thinking you’ll do during your graduate coursework. Test areas include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. If you’re applying to a university as an international student, you’ll be required to submit TOEFL scores in addition to the above. Most schools require a minimum score of 90 on the TOEFL.

What About Financial Aid & Scholarships?

All colleges listed in this article offer numerous financial aid and scholarship opportunities for Master’s degree students. Most colleges award applicants during the application process, but it’s important to note that awards are only considered for students after they have applied. A few colleges offer very little help, so if tuition supplementation is a priority, read each section thoroughly to determine which school can offer the most assistance. 

Tuition assistance generally comes in the form of scholarships, assistantships, fellowships, grants, work-study, and traditional loans.

Scholarships are generally merit-based and funded to help finance a student’s education who shows particular promise in their field of study. Most colleges offer multiple scholarships at the graduate level, and you can typically apply to more than one simultaneously. Some colleges consider students for merit-based scholarships automatically during the application process. Each program is different, so it’s crucial to seek information from your school’s financial aid office regarding rules, application guidelines, and deadlines for submission.

Assistantships are a form of paid employment similar to undergraduate work-study. The biggest difference, however, is that many assistantships offer the ability to work for twenty hours in exchange for full tuition, room, and board. Another perk of assistantships is that you will be able to work with faculty and staff in your chosen area of study, further supplementing your time and coursework. It’s vital to note that assistantships are seen as a salary by the local state and the federal government, and tax contributions will be automatically deducted.

Fellowships work similarly to scholarships. They are merit-based positions that offer funding for tuition, fees, and other school essentials. The difference is that fellowships are usually short-term professional and educational development opportunities that last from a few months to a few years. They do not offer as much funding as assistantships, but funding is not taxable and is seen solely as a financial aid award.

Grants operate similarly to scholarships but are typically need-based, as opposed to merit-based. They are awarded based upon federal determination of need via the FAFSA. Need is based on the remaining tuition after the amount you or your family is expected to pay. You can apply for grants during your application process.

Work-study is less common among graduate-level students, but some colleges offer it if there are not enough assistantships or scholarships to go around. Work-study functions like an assistantship without the benefit of working within your field of study. Work-study students work for any department completing a variety of tasks in return for tuition, housing, and educational funding. This funding is seen as taxable, and state and federal contributions are deducted automatically.

Traditional loans can be acquired based on the FAFSA through government programs or private loan companies. There are numerous loan-forgiveness programs offered through the federal government to help after you graduate when your bills come due. When looking into loans, inquire about loan forgiveness options to determine whether you might qualify for federal forgiveness programs.

How Much Can I Make With A Master’s in Industrial Engineering? 

Obtaining a Master’s in industrial engineering will not only help you grow as a professional in your chosen field, but it will open doors for greater career opportunities, increased salary, and leadership positions. Here are four examples of excellent career paths that you can choose with a Master’s degree in industrial engineering: 

Industrial Engineer: Work to improve the production processes in numerous fields. Directly influence company systems and organizational methods, impacting employees, machines, production efforts, waste management, and efficiency. The median salary for this job is $85,880, with expected job growth of 10%.

Architectural and Engineering Manager: Manage operations in architectural and engineering companies. Improve the development and production of products, define long-term company goals, use analysis and organizational skills to improve the efficiency of companies. The median salary for this job is $137,720, and jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 6.75% yearly.

Logistician: Manage a company’s supply chain, oversee the product lifecycle from manufacture to disposal. Work in the allocation of materials, inventory management, distribution, disposal, and maximize company efficiency. The median salary for this position is $74,590, with expected job growth of 7%.

Health and Safety Engineer: Create and implement systems to prevent workplace injury and harm. Ensure proper use of chemicals, equipment, and machines to avoid injury and damage. Influence a company’s entire manufacturing process. The median salary for this position is $88,510, with an expected job increase of 9%.

As you can see from these four examples, prospective salaries and career opportunities for those holding Master’s degrees in industrial engineering are quite promising. MSIE holders are needed in virtually every field. If you’ve yet to find your niche, consider using your degree in one of the following industries.

Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing: Work to produce aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites. Opportunities are available for both civilian and military contractors. The average salary is $101,520.

Architectural Services: Work in civil construction, environmental, or petroleum engineering. Work as a consultant is plentiful. The average salary is $99,020.

Motor Vehicle Manufacturing: Work in the automotive industry to increase assembly-line efficiency. The average salary is $84,820.

Semiconductor and Electronic Component Manufacturing: Work with companies who specialize in electronic devices such as computers and industrial equipment. The average salary for this type of job is $98,980 and is expected to increase due to demand.

Manufacturing Engineer: Optimize the production of goods for a company. Directly influence and design assembly systems for efficient production. Work to reduce the cost of a company’s total production system. The average salary for this position is $68,105. 

Machinery Manufacturing: Work to increase production efficiency for agriculture and mining equipment, engines, turbines, and industrial machines. The average salary is $86,490.

What Are the Best Industrial Engineering Degrees?

We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of Master’s Programs Guide utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:

40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni 

30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and National Accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year 

30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school

At Master’s Programs Guide, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals. 

Check out our ranking of the 10 Best Master’s in Industrial Engineering! 

#1. Georgia Institute of Technology

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)

Georgia Institute of Technology first opened its doors to a total of 84 students in 1888 in an effort to rebuild the south after it had been devastated by the Civil War. Beginning as a trade school, the focus shifted and it was recognized nationally in 1948 as an institution of technological advancement and scientific research. Today, Georgia Tech is a national leader in industrial engineering and is leading the charge in the global transformation from an industrial economy to an information-based economy. 

Students at Georgia Tech university attend classes scattered throughout the lush 400-acre campus centered in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. The campus is ranked among the top 50 Green Colleges in America for its efforts on reducing emissions and minimizing its carbon footprint. 

Outside the classroom, Georgia Tech students participate in a variety of educational, cultural, and entertaining events. Atlanta is home to a diverse population and year-round events reflect the cultural heritage, cuisine, arts, and entertainment preferences of Atlanta’s many inhabitants. Whether you enjoy outdoor recreation, off-broadway plays, history, museums, or fine dining, Atlanta has it all. 

Georgia Tech’s Master of Science in industrial engineering consistently ranks first nation-wide according to U.S. News and World Report. The school boasts a population of more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six colleges and 28 schools. The student-to-faculty ratio ensures plenty of one-on-one time throughout your graduate degree program.

Tuition varies for in-state vs. out-of-state attendees coming in at $15,798 for Georgia residents and $30,578 for non-residents. Aid for tuition comes through scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, sponsorships, out-of-state tuition waivers, in-state tuition assessment, traditional loans, and work programs.

To apply for the MSIE program, you must have a BS or equivalent, complete a GRE General Test, and submit official scores with transcripts. A personal statement describing relevant work and professional career goals should also be submitted along with letters of reference. If entering as an international student a TOEFL score of 90 or higher is required. 

As a student in the MSIE program, you have two track options: thesis or non-thesis. If you’re completing a thesis track, your program is broken down into a minimum of 12 credit hours in a basic field of IE knowledge, a minimum of 12 credit hours at the 6000-9000 level, and six thesis hours for a total minimum of 30 credit hours.

Non-thesis track options require the approval of the school chair and include a minimum of 18 credit hours in a basic field of IE knowledge, a minimum of 21 credit hours at the 6000-9000 level, and a minimum total of 30 credit hours.

#2.  Texas A&M University

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)

Texas A&M first opened its doors in 1876 as the Lonestar State’s first public institution of higher learning. Since then, it has grown to provide 133 undergraduate programs, 175 Master’s degree programs, and 92 doctoral programs. Texas A&M’s main campus, located in the heart of the Houston-Dallas-Austin triangle, is home to over 69,000 students.

First established as a military school, the Corps of Cadets still plays an important role in the school’s development. The present-day corps proudly make up the largest body of uniformed students outside U.S. military academies.

Located in College Station, Texas, the university’s 5,200-acre campus is only a short drive from the hustle, bustle, and excitement of Austin, Dallas, and Houston. In short, you’ll only be minutes away from 126,000 of the 128,000 residents in the entire state of Texas. On weekends away from the classroom, you can access some of the best parts of Texas by simply going for a drive. 

Attending Texas A&M is on the more reasonable side, costing in-state students around $5,369 and out-of-state applicants $12,839. When you hit your mid-career stride, you can expect to earn around $96,000 on average as a graduate from Texas A&M’s MSIE program. If requiring financial aid, several options are available, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, assistantships, student employment, and outside loans.

For entry into the MSIE program, you’ll need to take the GRE General Test and submit official scores. Official transcripts and collegiate records are required along with your resume or curriculum vitae. Finally, three letters of recommendation in addition to your statement of purpose must be submitted. If attending as an international student, TOEFL scores of 90 or higher should be submitted along with the rest of your application packet.

To graduate with an MSIE, you will be required to complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours. You have the choice to opt for a thesis or a non-thesis option for graduating. If you choose a thesis, your proposal must first be approved by the applicable department chair for your specific area of study. The thesis must be submitted and defended before you are approved for graduation.

If you opt for the non-thesis option, the number of credits you are allowed to devote to research will be limited.

#3.  Clemson University

Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering

Since 1889, Clemson University has helped hundreds of students to reach their full potential in academics and in life. It has a long history of dedication to research, teaching, and service. 

Clemson first opened in the wake of the Civil War and a nearly-ruined south. Its founder, Thomas Clemson, donated his land and financial estate to start the university upon his death. What began as an agricultural college for men transformed into a coeducational research institution, providing diverse learning and research opportunities for students from all around the world. 

Situated on 20,000 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina, students can take advantage of an area rich with history, culture, and natural beauty. There are plenty of places to visit, from revolutionary war sites and museums to state parks and beaches. The area boasts a diversity of arts and entertainment as well as golfing, fishing, a vibrant nightlife, and diverse cuisine. When you’re not studying or researching, Clemson, South Carolina is a beautiful place to call home.

Clemson has a robust graduate program with over 5,500 graduate students across 120 graduate degree programs. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, providing plenty of opportunity for interaction with faculty and staff. As a leading research school, Clemson stewards more than 106M annually for research funding.

Tuition for Clemson will cost around $10,602 for those applying in-state, and nearly $21,000 for those with out-of-state residencies. The payoff, however, comes when you hit your mid-career stride. The average salary for Clemson grads is $109,700. For help with tuition, graduate students may apply for assistantships, fellowships, and departmental grants. If further aid is required, students are encouraged to apply for outside loans.

Application to the MEng program is straightforward and all documents are submitted online. You will need to take the GRE and submit scores, in addition to transcripts from undergraduate coursework, a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, and TOEFL scores if attending as an international student.

Clemson’s MEng program is made up of ten, three-credit-hour graduate-level courses. You’ll take five core industrial engineering courses, and another five focused on concept applications. The final course is a capstone design project. Though not a thesis-based MEng, you will be required to focus on an industry problem or need and apply methods, principles, and tools to solve the issue using the curriculum learned during your program.

#4.  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

MS/MEng in Industrial and Management Engineering

Tucked into Troy, NY, the tech valley of the upstate area, you’ll find Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Hailed as America’s first technological research university, undergrad and graduate students alike thrive on the lush campus. It boasts over 475 facilities used for classrooms, studios, and laboratories.

Troy, New York is home to a bustling community, a thriving nightlife, a diverse cultural scene, and cuisine from around the world. The last Friday of every month sees thousands exploring the streets of downtown Troy for shopping, musical performances, boutiques, and art installations, known to the community as “Troy Night Out.”

Not only is there plenty to do in town, but graduate students will also thrive on Rensselaer’s sprawling campus. There are 32 research centers with 105M in research expenditures yearly. Funding for graduate program research comes from federal government agencies, including the NSF, NIH, DOE, DARPA, DoD, New York State agencies, industry partners, and private foundations. 

Since its founding in 1824, Rensselaer has been dedicated to using science to improve every aspect of life. Faculty and students take pride in making advances in engineering, biotechnology, and life sciences through discoveries that impact sustainable infrastructure, including new polymers and biomaterials. RPI is also leading the way in energy harvesting and distribution, energy efficiency, and sustainability. 

Out of the total student population of around 7,000 students, 546 are graduate students. Graduate students are recipients of fellowships such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, DoE SMART, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, and GEM. Numerous internal competitive fellowships from Rensselaer are also available.

In-state and out-of-state tuition will cost the same at $55,440 per year. You’ll be able to recover some of this expense when you hit the average graduate mid-career salary of $138,600. For tuition aid as a graduate student, you have access to grants and scholarships based on need and determined by federal aid eligibility. Traditional loans also help students access needed funding.

To apply to either MS or MEng programs, you must carry a minimum GPA of 3.5 during your undergraduate career. A GPA of 3.2 is considered on a case-by-case basis. Submission of transcripts is required for confirmation of GPA. All applicants are required to take the GRE and submit documentation showing a minimum quantitative score of 146. Verbal scores of 156 are considered favorably. The minimum analytical score desired is 4.0. If unable to submit minimum score requirements, a waiver is offered on a case-by-case basis if able to prove academic or professional achievement. If applying as an international school, a TOEFL score of 90 or higher is required.

Both the MS and MEng require a minimum of thirty credit hours. Of the 30 credit hours, 24 must be from a list of approved industrial and management engineering courses. The MS requires a thesis, whereas the MEng does not. 

#5.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MS in Industrial Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, is a premier college known around the world for producing the brightest minds and latest innovations our world has seen. Notable people such as Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Astronaut Buzz Aldrin are graduates of MIT’s hallowed halls.

Nestled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT sits on 166 acres with over 30 of those acres in gardens and green space. The school boasts an outstanding number of awards for faculty and students alike with 95 Nobel laureates, 59 National Medal of Science Winners, and 77 MacArthur Fellows. From their founding in 1861 to the present day, MIT has held to its mission to promote education and facilitate growth in science, technology, and scholarship to improve life in the 21st century.

While the acceptance rate is one of the lowest of any college in the United States, MIT boasts an astounding student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1. The campus is incredibly diverse, with students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, three territories, and 118 foreign countries. Graduate students will thrive with access to nearly 20 research centers on campus and an annual entrepreneurship competition where the prize is start-up money for your business concept. 

Admission to this prestigious school of higher learning will set both in and out-of-state applicants back by $54,976 per year. The pay-off comes when you hit your mid-career stride and begin earning an average of $159,400.

Funding for your graduate studies can come from a variety of sources. Research assistantships, instructor and teaching assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, scholarships, grants, resident tutorship, and traditional loans all form the basis by which most Master’s level graduate students pay for their tuition.

Application to the MSIE program is straightforward and consists of five basic items. You’ll need a completed application form, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, GRE results, and an IELTS or TOEFL score for international students.

To graduate with your MS in industrial engineering, you will need to complete a minimum of 66 graduate-level course units. Of those 66, 42 must be Course III and approved by the department committee on graduate studies chair. The final thesis does not count toward the required 66 units.

#6.  University of Southern California

MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering

The University of Southern California is possibly the most iconic school on the west coast. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, it exists amid a thriving population of professionals, artists, students, and families in a melting pot of culture, diverse ethnicity, numerous languages, and every type of cuisine you can imagine. The campus is an hour from the beach and the mountains. It also sits in the middle of one of the hottest locations in all of California. If you want to study in a location that has a thriving nightlife, a robust culture, and a bustling community, you can’t get better than the University of Southern California.

The University of Southern California has a thriving undergraduate population of just over 20,000 students. The graduate population, however, more than doubles the total attendance. If you’re looking for a school that boasts a stronger graduate program than undergrad, you don’t need to look any further. The industrial engineering program earns a top-ten spot by College Factual.

In 1880, the University of Southern California began as a fledgling college with 53 students and ten teachers when Los Angeles still had dirt roads. Today, USC is one of the world’s foremost private research universities and boasts a faculty that includes five Nobel laureates, numerous recipients of the MacArthur Genius Award, the Guggenheim Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Tuition for USC graduate programs is the same whether you’re local or from out-of-state. It’s one of the higher tuitions, coming in just around $45,561. Pay-off will come after graduation when you hit your mid-career salary average of $128,600.

If seeking financial assistance, there are numerous avenues to take. The Viterbi School of Engineering offers merit-based funding opportunities to any student applying for Master’s programs. Research and teaching assistantships are not available to Master’s candidates. If further financial aid is required, you will be encouraged to apply for outside loans.

Application into the MSISE program requires a bachelor’s degree in any engineering or engineering-related discipline. You must upload undergraduate transcripts from all colleges and universities attended in addition to GRE scores. A resume or curriculum vitae, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation are also required. If applying as an international student, a TOEFL with a minimum score of 90 and no less than 20 on each section, or an IELTS score of 6.5 is required.

Required coursework for graduation includes 12 units of required courses, nine units of ISE elective courses, and nine advisor-approved elective courses. A minimum of 18 units must be from the ISE department, and 20 are required at a 500-level or above.

#7.  University of California – Berkeley

MS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research 

There’s nothing quite like going to graduate school in the heart of the Bay Area. If you want a location that provides opportunities for a social life full of culture, cuisine, arts, theater, nature, and forward-thinkers, Berkeley is the location for you. Situated on the ocean, you’ll have unlimited opportunities for weekend adventures up the coast and plenty of towns to explore when you need to take a break.

UC Berkeley started when a small group of pioneers gathered together in 1868 to start an academic movement that would forever change the outlook of California’s economy, industry, and scientific community. Contributions from the UC Berkeley community include the discovery of Vitamin E, the flu vaccine, the discovery of plutonium, immunotherapy for cancer treatments, malaria treatment, and the all-important wetsuit. 

Today, UC Berkeley has a thriving community of students in over 350 academic programs with a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. Eight current faculty are Nobel Prize winners, along with 31 alumni who also hold the prestigious distinction. U.S. News and World Report ranks UC Berkeley as the third in the nation for its engineering program.

Tuition for UC Berkeley differs for in-state vs. out-of-state students. If attending from in-state, you can expect to pay around $14,131. Out-of-state attendees pay over double the cost, around $29,233. Once you graduate, you should expect to receive a hefty return for the time and money you invested. Mid-career salaries for UC Berkeley grads are among the highest at $143,300.

If in need of financial assistance, you may apply for outside loans in addition to college grants. Every admitted student is automatically considered for the merit-based Fung Excellence Scholarship. The engineering department gives special consideration to full-time MEng students who apply for an MEng Opportunity Grant.

The IEOR program can be taken full-time or part-time. The full-time track provides an intensive industry-focused experience for those who have a year to dedicate entirely to their studies. The part-time track is completed in 2-4 years, depending on the availability of the student and courses offered.

Application for the IEOR program requires submission of transcripts, GRE scores, a statement of purpose, resume, and three letters of recommendation. If applying as a current UC Berkeley undergraduate or alumni with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, you are not required to submit GRE scores. International students are required to submit a TOEFL score of 90 or higher, or an IELTS score of at least 7. 

To graduate with an MS in industrial engineering and operations research, you must complete a minimum of 25 upper-division and graduate courses. Of the 25, eight are leadership units, five are capstone units, and twelve are technical specialization units. 

#8.  Purdue University – West Lafayette

Master of Industrial Engineering (MSIE) 

Purdue University is located in the lovely area of West Lafayette, Indiana. It’s spread across a lush campus that takes twenty minutes to walk from one side to the other. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Purdue is also the #1 location for international students to study in STEM disciplines.

West Lafayette serves as a gathering place for people from around the world to explore the arts, culture, and cuisine at over 275 restaurants, annual festivals, and a booming downtown. Purdue students enjoy year-round activities ranging from volunteering in the vibrant arts scene in the Indiana Cultural District to exploring the surrounding nature areas. Bike paths, nature trails, parks, and rivers are all waiting to be explored during your time outside of the classroom.

Beginning in 1874 with six instructors and 39 students, Purdue has positioned itself as a leading university across disciplines from agriculture to engineering. To date, the university handles approximately 418.3M in research funding, ensuring its students have access to the latest technology, equipment, and state of the art laboratories.

Purdue University consistently ranks in the top ten universities, according to U.S. News and World Report. As of 2019, they have been listed as the top 7th school in the United States for their industrial engineering program. 

If attending Purdue as a state resident, tuition is highly affordable, coming in just under 10K. Out-of-state students can expect to pay around $18,794. Mid-career salary, however, more than makes up for the tuition. Graduates make an average of $113,000 annually when they hit mid-career.

Funding for graduate students is available through fellowships, assistantships, and research projects. The majority of funding for MSIE students is determined during the application process. If further support is required beyond assistance offered, an MSIE student may apply for a TA position and outside loans.

Purdue’s MSIE program runs in two tracks: thesis, which is a research track, or non-thesis, which is an application track. Specialization is available for human factors, manufacturing, operations research, and production systems. There is also a dual degree option consisting of MS(E) plus an MBA.

Applicants who currently hold an undergraduate degree in engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, physics, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering are encouraged to apply to the MSIE program. 

To complete the application process, submit transcripts, GRE scores, your statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation. International students need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

The thesis-based research track offers opportunities for independent research, and if you want to continue on to a doctoral degree, this is the track for you. It requires a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours with a minimum of 12 hours in IE courses and 9 hours of your Master’s thesis research credits.

The non-thesis application track is specifically for students who want a deeper level of education in the practice of industrial engineering and do not intend to pursue a doctoral degree. This track requires a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours, including a minimum of 21 credit hours of coursework in industrial engineering and three related courses.

#9.  University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

MS in Industrial and Operations Engineering

Ann Arbor, Michigan, is known for its arts scene, restaurants, friendly downtown, and engaging museums. It is a place of cultural diversity, eclectic shops, gardens, and parks, making it a one-stop destination for nature lovers and those interested in culture and cuisine, alike.

The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor is on the map as a top-ten university for its graduate degree program in industrial engineering. It’s ranked #1 in research output among U.S. public research universities, with over 1500 students participating in undergraduate research opportunities. Five hundred and two inventions were recorded in addition to 22 new business startups in 2019. The University of Michigan handles 118M in industry-sponsored research that flows through their 2.8M square-foot lab space for research and teaching.

If you’re looking for an affordable graduate program, University of Michigan is rated #6 for the best value in the state by Kiplinger. Two out of three graduate students receive financial aid with a total of 634.6M in scholarships or fellowships awarded annually.

If you already reside in-state, your tuition is half that of out-of-state applicants, coming in at $23,456 for in-state graduate students and $47,006 for out-of-state students. You can expect to make an average of $118,500 when you hit mid-career salary levels.

Across all 275 degree programs, the student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. If your priority is personalized attention from professors and faculty, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor is an excellent choice.

The U.S. News and World Report ranked University of Michigan at the number two slot nation-wide for their industrial engineer program along with College Factual.

The University of Michigan boasts seven Master’s degree program options that fall under their Masters of Science in industrial and operations engineering including:

  • Occupational Safety Engineering and Ergonomics 
  • Production, Distribution, and Logistics
  • Quality Engineering and Applied STatistics
  • Financial Engineering
  • Operations Research
  • Engineering Management
  • Concentration in Healthcare Engineering

For an MS program with a wide variety of concentrations, University of Michigan offers an excellent selection.

Application to the MSIOE program is straightforward and consists of submitting official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a 1-3 page statement of purpose, a 500-word personal statement, GRE scores, and, if applying as an international student, TOEFL or IELTS scores. 

To receive your MS in industrial and operations engineering, you will proceed through 30 credit hours of University of Michigan graduate courses. Of the 30 graduate credit hours, 18 must be in IOE graduate courses, and 12 must be 500-level and above.

#10.  Lehigh University

Industrial and Systems Engineering (MS, M.Eng.)

Nestled in the middle of Lehigh Valley, Lehigh University is situated between Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is the third-largest metropolitan area in the state and is known for its fast-paced but friendly, welcoming, small-town feel.

For the adventurous type, Lehigh is located within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, or the Pocono Mountains. Enjoy weekend trips to Boston, Hartford, Washington, D.C., Richmond, VA, and Pittsburgh. Explore the cuisine, historical landmarks, nature trails, camping, hiking, and cultural events the eastern seaboard has to offer. Bethlehem is the 27th safest college town in America and has continual opportunities for students to be involved in the community of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley.

Lehigh University is recognized as one of America’s leading research universities and is home to over 7,000 students. Relatively small by many standards, Lehigh has an outstanding student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. On average, class sizes are 28 students strong. If you want a school where you’ll receive one-on-one attention, this is it.

Lehigh is the 6th university in the world recognized as a Non-Government Organization by the United Nations. It is the home to 56 UN-related programs each academic year. Students are prepared to solve real-world problems through internships and other experience-based opportunities. Nearly 90% of the student body participates in some form of outside project.

There is a thriving graduate student population of over 1,700 students. The sprawling 1,600-acre campus is home to 29 research centers and institutes, and graduate students have access to research facilities across the campus to work with students and faculty alike.

Lehigh University has been ranked in the top five colleges for their industrial engineering program by College Factual. Mid-career salary averages for Lehigh grads rank in the highest among post-graduate industrial engineer degree programs at $143,700. 

Average graduate tuition for out-of-state or in-state attendees comes out to $27,130. With combined internal and external funding, many graduate students receive tuition assistance for their industrial engineering program at Lehigh University. Funding for your Master’s degree comes from a combination of internal and external funding in addition to funded assistantships and loan programs. Due to Lehigh’s international presence, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of over one hundred fully-funded international internships ranging across thirty countries.

The application process for the MS and MEng programs requires the submission of transcripts, a bachelor’s in engineering or a related field, GRE test scores, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and TOEFL scores if applying as an international student.

The industrial and systems engineering degree is split into two paths: Master of Science and Master of Engineering. A Master of Science requires completing 24 credit hours in addition to a six-credit thesis. If your focus is research, this is the track you want. A Master of Engineering requires completing 27 credit hours and a three-credit project or a total of 30 credits of approved courses. If your graduate focus trends toward engineering design instead of research, this is the program you want.

Other Notable Programs

#11. North Carolina State University

Location: Raleigh, NC. 

Degree: Master of Engineering

Net Price: $15,390


#12. Mississippi State University

Location: Starkville, MS. 

Degree: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering

Net Price: $8,208


#13. Auburn University

Location: Auburn, AL. 

Degree: Master of Industrial Systems Engineering

Net Price: $9,342


#14. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: Champaign, IL.

Degree: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering

Net Price: $15,186


#15. Texas Tech University

Location: Lubbock, TX.

Degree: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering

Net Price: $5,724


#16. University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL.

Degree: Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Net Price: $10,770


#17. University of Arizona

Location: Tuscon, AZ.

Degree: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering

Net Price: $11,486


#18. Wright State University

Location: Dayton, OH.

Degree: Master of Science in Industrial and Human Factors Engineering

Net Price: $13,3880


#19. Kansas State University

Location: Manhattan, KS.

Degree: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering

Net Price: $9,960


#20. University of Alabama – Huntsville

Location: Huntsville, AL.

Degree: Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Net Price: $10,224



Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor