Engineering (Industrial Engineering) - Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Industrial Engineering offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering with a specialization in Industrial Engineering.

The program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree must include a minimum of 30 graduate credits plus 18 dissertation (I E 700) credits. Your program must also include 12 credits in related areas at the 500 level that are appropriate to your research. Typical areas include statistics, electrical engineering, mathematics, or mechanical engineering. You may not transfer in credits from your master’s degree to meet this requirement. Refer to for a program description and current research areas.

Ph.D. Admissions

Admission to the Industrial Engineering Ph.D. program requires that you have a master’s degree in industrial engineering or a closely-related (as determined by the IE faculty) field. Although individual situations vary, you should have earned the equivalent of a minimum 3.7 grade point average in that program. We require the TOEFL of international students. We do not require the GRE.

You must write a statement of intent describing your intended research. This statement should be 400-600 words.  It should discuss your doctoral research interests and suggest a faculty member who might advise your research. Refer to the research interests of IE graduate faculty for possible advisors. You will not be admitted if you do not submit this statement as it is part of your application for admission.

Time Line for a Ph.D. Program

Individual programs vary, however, you can expect to spend three to five years (mostly full-time) earning your degree. Below are the key milestones of every program:

  1. Admittance to the program and begin course work. In coordination with your academic advisor, select 500 level courses to help you prepare for the Qualifying Exam. This would include IE topics on the general part of the exam, as well as topics related to your intended research.
  2. Pass qualifying examination. If you enter the program in Summer or Fall, you must take the qualifying examination in January. If you enter in Spring, you must take the qualifying examination in August. Details regarding the examination may be obtained from the department office. If you do not pass the examination on your first attempt, you may be allowed, based on the recommendation of the faculty, to take the exam again the next time it is offered. If you do not pass the examination on your second attempt, you will be dropped from the Ph.D. program.
  3. Form your committee and prepare a research proposal. During this time, you are expected to be a full-time student. The Graduate School requires at least one academic year of residency as defined in the Graduate Catalog. You should take at least six credits of I E 600 level courses. At this time, you should expect to file your Program of Study with the Graduate School.
  4. Pass comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination consists of two parts: written and oral presentation of your research proposal. You must pass the examination within 24 months of passing the qualifying examination. You may not take 700 level courses until you have passed both parts of your comprehensive examination.
  5. Conduct research, write dissertation, pass final examination. During this time your advisor and committee guide your work. During this time, you are enrolled for I E 700 courses. Your program must include a minimum of 18 credits of I E 700 Doctoral Dissertation. There is a minimum time span of one year between the comprehensive examination and the final oral examination (e.g., the dissertation defense). If more than five years have passed since you passed the comprehensive examination, you may be required to pass another comprehensive examination.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam 

1. Format
  • Exam offered in two parts:
    • Foundations of IE, all day Thursday
    • IE Specific area exam: all day Friday.
2. Content
  • IE Foundation Portion of the Exam (all students will take identical exam for the foundation portion) Foundation portion consists of four areas:
    • Operations Research Deterministic and Stochastic
    • Probability and Statistics
    • Industrial Engineering Theory
    • Combination of questions from one or all of these four areas. Selection of Manufacturing, Engineering Economy, Process Improvement, Methods.
  • IE Research Topics Portion of the Exam (Each student taking the qualifier must select two of the topics listed below for testing at least 6 weeks before the exam is offered. The student will work with his or her advisor on selecting the topics. The advisor must submit the two selected areas to the Chair of the Examining Committee at least one month before the exam is offered.)
    • Manufacturing
    • Computer/Simulation Modeling
    • Stochastic Operations Research
    • Queuing Theory
    • Design Optimization (product, facility, process, etc.)
    • Algorithmic Optimization (Dynamic cases)
    • Quality Control
    • Systems Integration and Control
    • Facility Design and Layout
    • Reliability

Additional Requirements

Ph.D. candidates in the College of Engineering, who have successfully completed their Ph.D. Qualifying Examination after January 1, 2018, must satisfy a publication requirement which requires two papers:

Paper #1: An archival paper accepted or published in any journal listed in the source publication list for the Web of Science, or a refereed Journal or Conference Proceeding approved by the student’s doctoral committee and the cognizant Department Head(s), before the Doctorate of Philosophy final examination. The candidate should be listed as the lead author in Paper #1.

Paper #2: An additional archival paper submitted, accepted, or published in any journal listed in the source publication list for the Web of Science. Alternatively, one conference paper accepted or published in a national or international conference proceedings.