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DEGREE Industrial Engineering, PhD

Doctoral degree in industrial engineering

As a PhD student in our very highly ranked industrial engineering program, you’ll be able to specialize in one of four areas, each of which is designed enable you to be a leader in new and developing areas within industrial and systems engineering. You can choose advanced training in decision science/operations research, health systems, human factors and ergonomics, and manufacturing and production systems.

At a glance

Industrial and systems engineering department

1
faculty scholarly productivity index
7
undergraduate ranking among public universities
6
graduate ranking among public universities

Learn more about what information you need to apply.

Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline October 1
Summer Deadline December 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Students from any discipline that provides foundations for research in ISyE topics are encouraged to apply. For example, applicants may come from industrial, electrical, or mechanical engineering, or mathematics, statistics, computer science, psychology, or economics. 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 and application deadlines are extremely important.

Application deadlines:

  • Fall: Dec. 15th
  • Spring: Oct. 1st
  • Summer: Dec. 15th

Reentry applicants: July 15 (fall), December 1 (spring), and must notify an academic advisor.

Additional reentry information

Note: Although we accept summer applications we recommend applying for fall or spring as there are not many courses offered in the summer.

Application requirements

Application deadlines are strictly enforced and ALL application materials including transcripts, GRE and TOEFL scores MUST be included and submitted by the application deadline.

*Please note our office does not provide feedback to applicants as to their potential for admission – please review both the ISyE department and Graduate School requirements for admission and if you feel you meet the necessary criteria for applying, please do so.

  1. Applicants must first meet all of the requirements of the Graduate School. Click here for more information about these requirements.
  2. Applicants must also meet department specific requirements as outlined below:
  • B.S. degree or equivalent

Application steps

  1. Fill out an online application through the Graduate School website and pay the application fee.
  2. List three recommenders and their contact information as part of the online application. An email will be sent to the recommender, asking that they submit their letter online using the Graduate School’s recommendation form. Applicants can log back into their online application to re-send the email request if the recommender loses the email. Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically.
  3.  Submit a Statement of Purpose with your online application.
  4. TOEFL Exam Information: Ask ETS to submit your GRE and/or TOEFL scores to the UW–Madison Graduate School (Institution Number 1846). If you have your scores sent to UW–Madison, they will be available online to all departments to which you have applied. The institution code, therefore, is the only number needed. For more information please visit the Graduate School Requirements page. Please note: Exam information must be valid at start date of the semester that you are applying for (nonexpired).
  5. GRE Exam Information: The IE graduate program requires the GRE exam be taken by prospective students as part of the application. Note there are no specific scoring guidelines for the exam as the GRE is only one part of consideration for admission into the program. Please note: Exam information must be valid at start date of the semester that you are applying for (nonexpired).
  6. Electronically submit one copy of your official transcript with your application. Unofficial copies of transcripts will be accepted for review but official copies are required for admitted students.
Note: Please do not send materials/documents to the ISyE department or graduate school until you are recommended for admissions. All documents should be uploaded with your application. 

Questions?

Check out the Admissions FAQ or contact us at iegradadmission@engr.wisc.edu.

Tuition

Tuition and segregated fee rates are always listed per semester (not for Fall and Spring combined).

View tuition rates

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

All ISyE PhD students are provided funding and tuition remission, provided they are making satisfactory academic progress. This funding may be in the form of a teaching assistant, research assistant, or project assistant position, or as an external fellowship. The type position providing the funding support may change from semester to semester and is determined based on a combination of factors including the availability of research funds by the student’s faculty advisor and the need for teaching assistants in ISyE courses.

Requirements for students assigned teaching assistant positions 

Students hired into a TA position are required to attend the New Educator Orientation (NEO) training in late August. For more details, please see this website.

All international students assigned to a teaching assistant position must meet the UW–Madison Graduate School’s requirement for spoken English. This requirement can be fulfilled in two ways:

  • Pass the SPEAK—you can register for the SPEAK test through Aaron Webster in Room 3180 ME, aaron.webster@wisc.edu.
  • Receive a 26 or higher on the speaking portion of the TOEFL test (or equivalent). Provide a copy of your score to Aaron Webster in Room 3107 ME, aaron.webster@wisc.edu

The UW-Madison Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering is a national leader in research funding. At the cutting-edge of industrial engineering and systems research, the department offers state-of-the-art facilities for faculty, staff and students to work in. Our faculty are leaders in their fields, respected nationally and internationally for their research.

View our research

Minimum graduate school requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university’s Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Grades of C and D received by a candidate in any graduate course will not be counted as credit toward the degree. These grades will be counted in the graduate GPA.

See additional grade requirement for HFE Ph.D. students below.
Assessments and Examinations Qualifying exams, preliminary exams, and a final dissertation defense are required of all students. Details may be found in the program handbook.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements All doctoral students are required to complete a minor. The program also has additional breadth requirements. See details below.

Students choose one of the following research areas. Work with your faculty advisors to answer any questions and to form a plan of study.

Decision Science/Operations Research Area1

Courses Recommended for DS/OR Qualifying Exam:
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​E C E  524 Introduction to Optimization3
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​MATH/​STAT  525 Linear Optimization3
I SY E 620 Simulation Modeling and Analysis3
I SY E 624 Stochastic Modeling Techniques3
I SY E/​MATH/​OTM/​STAT  632 Introduction to Stochastic Processes3
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​MATH  728 Integer Optimization3
Courses Recommended for Optimization Qualifying Exam:
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​E C E  524 Introduction to Optimization3
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​MATH/​STAT  525 Linear Optimization3
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​MATH/​STAT  726 Nonlinear Optimization I3
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​MATH  728 Integer Optimization3
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​MATH  730 Nonlinear Optimization II3
Other Suggested Courses:
I SY E 412 Fundamentals of Industrial Data Analytics3
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​MATH  425 Introduction to Combinatorial Optimization3
I SY E/​M E  512 Inspection, Quality Control and Reliability3
I SY E 516 Introduction to Decision Analysis3
I SY E 517 Decision Making in Health Care3
I SY E 575 Introduction to Quality Engineering3
I SY E 603 Special Topics in Engineering Analytics and Operations Research1-3
I SY E 604 Special Topics in Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management1-3
I SY E 612 Information Sensing and Analysis for Manufacturing Processes3
I SY E/​MATH/​OTM/​STAT  632 Introduction to Stochastic Processes3
I SY E 645 Engineering Models for Supply Chains3
I SY E/​COMP SCI  719 Stochastic Programming3
I SY E/​COMP SCI  723 Dynamic Programming and Associated Topics3
I SY E/​COMP SCI  727 Convex Analysis3

Health Systems Engineering Research Area1

Highly Recommended Courses:
I SY E 417 Health Systems Engineering3
I SY E 517 Decision Making in Health Care3
I SY E/​MED PHYS  559 Patient Safety and Error Reduction in Healthcare2
I SY E 606 Special Topics in Healthcare Systems Engineering1-3
I SY E/​B M I  617 Health Information Systems3
I SY E/​POP HLTH  703 Quality of Health Care: Evaluation and Assurance1-3
Other Suggested Courses:
I SY E 412 Fundamentals of Industrial Data Analytics3
I SY E 415 Introduction to Manufacturing Systems, Design and Analysis3
I SY E 555 Human Performance and Accident Causation3
I SY E 575 Introduction to Quality Engineering3
I SY E 601 Special Topics in Industrial Engineering 21-3
I SY E/​PHARMACY  608 Safety and Quality in the Medication Use System3
I SY E 615 Production Systems Control3
I SY E 620 Simulation Modeling and Analysis3
I SY E 624 Stochastic Modeling Techniques3
I SY E/​M E  643 Performance Analysis of Manufacturing Systems3
I SY E/​PSYCH  653 Organization and Job Design3
I SY E/​M H R  729 Behavioral Analysis of Management Decision Making3
I SY E/​POP HLTH  875 Cost Effectiveness Analysis in Health and Healthcare3
B M I/​COMP SCI  576 Introduction to Bioinformatics3
B M I 773 Clinical Research Informatics3
B M I/​COMP SCI  776 Advanced Bioinformatics3

Manufacturing and Production Systems Research Area1

Possible Courses:
I SY E 412 Fundamentals of Industrial Data Analytics3
I SY E 415 Introduction to Manufacturing Systems, Design and Analysis3
I SY E/​M E  510 Facilities Planning3
I SY E/​M E  512 Inspection, Quality Control and Reliability3
I SY E/​M E  513 Analysis of Capital Investments3
I SY E 515 Engineering Management of Continuous Process Improvement3
I SY E 575 Introduction to Quality Engineering3
I SY E 601 Special Topics in Industrial Engineering 21-3
I SY E 603 Special Topics in Engineering Analytics and Operations Research1-3
I SY E 604 Special Topics in Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management1-3
I SY E 605 Computer Integrated Manufacturing3
I SY E 612 Information Sensing and Analysis for Manufacturing Processes3
I SY E 615 Production Systems Control3
I SY E/​M E  641 Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Systems3
I SY E/​M E  643 Performance Analysis of Manufacturing Systems3
I SY E 645 Engineering Models for Supply Chains3
STAT/​M E  424 Statistical Experimental Design3
I SY E 816 Special Topics in Systems Design1-3
I SY E 823 Special Topics in Operations Research1-3

Quality Engineering Research Area1

Possible Courses:
I SY E 412 Fundamentals of Industrial Data Analytics3
I SY E 417 Health Systems Engineering3
I SY E/​M E  512 Inspection, Quality Control and Reliability3
I SY E/​M E  513 Analysis of Capital Investments3
I SY E 515 Engineering Management of Continuous Process Improvement3
I SY E 520 Quality Assurance Systems3
I SY E 575 Introduction to Quality Engineering3
I SY E 601 Special Topics in Industrial Engineering 21-3
I SY E 612 Information Sensing and Analysis for Manufacturing Processes3
I SY E 620 Simulation Modeling and Analysis3
I SY E/​M E  641 Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Systems3
I SY E/​PSYCH  653 Organization and Job Design3
I SY E/​PSYCH  854 Special Topics in Organization Design1-3
M H R 700 Organizational Behavior3
OTM 770 Sustainable Approaches to System Improvement4
OTM 758 Managing Technological and Organizational Change3
STAT 333 Applied Regression Analysis3
STAT 349 Introduction to Time Series3
STAT 411 An Introduction to Sample Survey Theory and Methods3
STAT 421 Applied Categorical Data Analysis3
STAT 701 Applied Time Series Analysis, Forecasting and Control I3
STAT/​MATH  803 Experimental Design I3
STAT 849 Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I3

Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Area1

Possible Courses:
I SY E/​COMP SCI/​DS  518 Wearable Technology3
I SY E 552 Human Factors Engineering Design and Evaluation3
I SY E 555 Human Performance and Accident Causation3
I SY E/​MED PHYS  559 Patient Safety and Error Reduction in Healthcare2
I SY E/​B M E  564 Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics3
I SY E 601 Special Topics in Industrial Engineering 21-3
I SY E 602 Special Topics in Human Factors3
I SY E/​PSYCH  653 Organization and Job Design3
I SY E/​B M E  662 Design and Human Disability and Aging3
I SY E 699 Advanced Independent Study 21-5
I SY E/​PSYCH  854 Special Topics in Organization Design 21-3
I SY E/​PSYCH  859 Special Topics in Human Factors Engineering1-3
I SY E 961 Graduate Seminar in Industrial Engineering 21-3
CIV ENGR 679 Special Topics in Transportation and City Planning3
Tools and Methods Courses 3
HFE Ph.D. students must complete an additional coursework and exam component.

HFE Course Requirement

To take the qualifying exam, a student will have to have received a grade of AB or better in at least 3 credits in each of the three areas below. Courses taken during undergraduate studies can be used to satisfy this requirement:
Cognitive Ergononics:
I SY E 555 Human Performance and Accident Causation3
I SY E/​MED PHYS  559 Patient Safety and Error Reduction in Healthcare2
I SY E 601 Special Topics in Industrial Engineering 21-3
I SY E 602 Special Topics in Human Factors 23
I SY E 699 Advanced Independent Study 21-5
I SY E/​PSYCH  859 Special Topics in Human Factors Engineering 21-3
Sociotechnical Systems / Macroergonomics:
I SY E 555 Human Performance and Accident Causation3
I SY E/​MED PHYS  559 Patient Safety and Error Reduction in Healthcare2
I SY E/​PSYCH  653 Organization and Job Design 23
I SY E 601 Special Topics in Industrial Engineering 21-3
I SY E 602 Special Topics in Human Factors 23
I SY E 699 Advanced Independent Study 21-5
I SY E/​PSYCH  854 Special Topics in Organization Design 21-3
Physical Ergonomics:
I SY E 555 Human Performance and Accident Causation3
I SY E/​B M E  564 Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics3
I SY E/​B M E  662 Design and Human Disability and Aging3
I SY E 601 Special Topics in Industrial Engineering 21-3
I SY E 602 Special Topics in Human Factors 23
I SY E 699 Advanced Independent Study 21-5
I SY E/​PSYCH  854 Special Topics in Organization Design 21-3

Prior to defending their dissertation, HFE Ph.D. students must complete at least six seminar/special topics courses at the 700 level or above totaling a minimum of 12 credits; at least 6 credits of these must be in the Human Factors and Ergonomics area. Seminar credits outside the Human Factors and Ergonomics area may be used to satisfy the Industrial Engineering Breadth requirement. Other courses may qualify. Students may submit courses to the HFE Area group for consideration. Transfer students should submit a course syllabus or description and transcript for any courses from other institutions that they would like to have considered for satisfaction of this requirement. The HFE Area group will make this decision.

Additional Breadth Requirements for all ISyE PhD Students

  • Colloquium/Lecture Series: For at least two semesters, students must regularly attend a colloquium series. The appropriate colloquium series must be approved by the student’s faculty adviser. It is not required to meet this requirement by registering for a course (indeed some colloquium series have no associate course). Instead, attendance at the approved colloquium series must be confirmed by the student’s faculty adviser when the student submits their PhD Plan of Study prior to their preliminary examination. Example of colloquium series that can be used to meet this requirement include the ISyE Colloquia and the Systems, Information, Learning and Optimization (SILO) seminars.
  • Industrial Engineering Breadth Requirement: The breadth requirement is to make sure the Ph.D. student achieves minimum competence in multiple areas of industrial and systems engineering. It consists of taking at least two courses (6 credits) in two different areas outside of the student’s focus area. Students can choose from a select set of courses and must attain a grade of B or above in both courses. The courses selected by the student must be approved by the student’s adviser. These courses must be completed before a Ph.D. student can request their Preliminary Warrant. Courses the student has taken before entering the Ph.D. program can be counted toward this breadth requirement, including courses taken as an undergraduate. Students should submit the course title and syllabus to the student services coordinator who will then seek approval from the chair of graduate affairs.

Graduate Student Services
iegradadmission@engr.wisc.edu
Room 3182 Mechanical Engineering Building, 1513 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706

Jim Luedtke, Professor and Associate Chair of Graduate Affairs
jrluedt1@wisc.edu
608-890-2560
Room 3236 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706

View the Graduate Guide for program-specific information on admission, coursework, policies, rules and regulations.

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