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Industrial Engineering

Administrative Unit:Industrial and Systems Engineering
College/School: College of Engineering
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Bier (chair), Brennan, Carayon, Lee, Linderoth, Radwin, Shi, Vanderheiden, Veeramani, Zhou; Associate Professors Alagoz, Krishnamurthy, Li, McLay, Wiegmann; Assistant Professors: Liu, Luedtke; Affiliate Professors Burnside, Carnes, Crnich, DeCroix, Ferris, Greenberg, Finster, Maravelias, Mutlu, Noyce, Pugh, Qian, Sesto, Shah, Smith, Steege, Thomadsen, Vanness, Wright


The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering offers opportunities for graduate study leading to the master of science and the doctor of philosophy degrees in industrial engineering. Five areas of specialization are available, each designed to produce graduates capable of leading new and developing areas within industrial and systems engineering. The five areas, each with its own courses of study and admission procedures, are: decision science/operations research, health systems, human factors and ergonomics, manufacturing and production systems, and quality engineering. Since each area offers faculty, research, and courses that are unique, both with respect to each other and to much of industrial and systems engineering taught elsewhere, it is advisable to see Graduate Program on the department website for further information.

The specialization in decision science/operations research seeks to train students in the methodology needed for research in decision science and operations research, and to prepare them for careers in research and teaching. Graduate study focuses on one or more of these areas: applied probability and statistics in decision making; psychology of judgment and decision making; evaluation and optimization of decisions; and decision support systems.

The health systems specialization seeks to train students to look at broad issues in health care, including long-term care, prevention, quality improvement, health care financing, and system evaluation. Understanding how people solve problems is a basic requirement for health systems engineers, who must apply scientific methods in a value-laden setting.

The specialization in human factors and ergonomics is concerned with the quality of work lives, ergonomics, and occupational safety and health for both workers and management. By examining, designing, testing, and evaluating the workplace and how people interact within it, human systems engineers can create productive, safe, and satisfying work environments.

The specialization in manufacturing and production systems is intended to provide the skills and knowledge necessary to compete successfully in a manufacturing environment. These skills include knowledge of the theory of manufacturing materials and processes and their control; knowledge of the essentials of manufacturing systems design and analysis; and knowledge of and hands-on experience with modern manufacturing technology.

The quality engineering specialization is designed to provide the necessary background for professional careers in industry or government. Emphasis is on the foundations of quality improvement, job and organizational design, and process control.

Graduate/Professional Certificate in Patient Safety

The certificate in patient safety is an interdisciplinary effort between the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, Department of Medical Physics, Law School, and Department of Population Health Sciences. Patient safety is of national and international importance and there is a shortage of people with expertise in the design of safe health care systems and technologies that can improve patient safety. Such expertise is important to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals, and engineers. The certificate in patient safety provides students with knowledge and skills in an array of topics necessary for the identification, analysis, and control of patient safety programs.


Although an undergraduate engineering degree is recommended, students from any discipline with a strong quantitative science emphasis are encouraged to apply. Applicants are strongly advised to review the prerequisites for each area of specialization at the department website.

Each application is judged on the basis of previous academic record, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores for the general test, three letters of recommendation, and the statement of purpose. Admission is very competitive.

For more information: Deidre A.Vincevineus (608-265-1452), e-mail: vincevineus@wisc.edu, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rm. 3182 Mechanical Engineering Building, 1513 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706;  www.engr.wisc.edu/ie; www.engr.wisc.edu/ie/prospective/grad/admission.html.