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Industrial Engineering Major Guide for 2016-2017

What is Industrial Engineering

Originally, the industrial engineering profession focused on manufacturing. Today’s industrial engineer is involved in the design of systems and processes to produce and deliver goods and services not only in manufacturing, but also in the service industries and government sectors of the economy. Industrial engineers are concerned with the design of integrated systems involving people, materials, facilities, finances, equipment and energy to ensure the overall system functions efficiently and human needs are adequately met. Industrial engineering is distinctive in two respects: The industrial engineer typically works on problems or systems which include human beings as a major variable; and the industrial engineer is by definition a systems engineer, whose unique combination of skills can be applied to many working environments.

It is this emphasis on people, science and technology that distinguishes industrial engineering from the other engineering disciplines. The industrial engineer’s objective is to achieve the best possible results for the benefit of humankind, in terms of safety, quality and productivity. Industrial engineers create value through a total systems approach, scientific method, engineering design and integration of new technologies. In common with all engineering disciplines, industrial engineering is based on mathematics and the physical sciences. However, industrial engineering also emphasizes the life sciences and social sciences. This concern for the human element leads to system designs that enhance the quality of life for all people, both as producers and consumers of products and services.

The faculty members of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering pursue research in areas such as information engineering and data mining, lean manufacturing, manufacturing process improvement, computer simulation modeling, biomechanics of impact injuries, development and evaluation of criteria for athletic protective equipment, risk assessment models for cumulative trauma disorders, operations research and human performance analysis. Many of these research activities provide opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research.

The objectives of the industrial engineering program include enabling the students to obtain:

  • an understanding of fundamental engineering principles, mathematics, science, and statistics.
  • an understanding of and an ability to apply the following concepts to the multi-faceted problems associated with the production of, maintenance, and delivery of goods and services; fundamental human factors which influence engineering design, the economic analysis of alternative design choices, introductory economics and accounting, quality control techniques, manufacturing processes and materials, production and inventory system design and control, the mathematical modeling and simulation of complex systems, and the design and installation of information acquisition and control systems.
  • an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to function on multi-disciplinary teams, to have knowledge of pertinent contemporary issues, and to recognize the need for a commitment to life-long learning.  The university’s engineering programs are fully accredited by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Program.

Career Opportunities in Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineers have an almost unlimited range of career fields available, including retail distribution, banking, health-care delivery, corporate management, consulting firms, aerospace systems, research groups, government and military agencies as well as manufacturing. In all areas of manufacturing, service and government, there is increasing emphasis on the goal of improving quality and productivity. Industrial engineers work closely with the top management in these sectors to achieve this goal.  A good resource is the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook

High School Preparation

The College of Engineering has established admissions criteria for incoming freshmen based on several performance criteria, including completion of core academic subjects, GPA scores on these subjects and standardized test (SAT or ACT) scores. A Success Prediction Indicator (SPI) number of 60 and a math ACT of 25 or a math SAT of 570 are minimum standards used for admission to the College of Engineering. The admitted class may also be limited by space available in the College. The SPI is calculated by adding an individual’s ACT mathematics score to 10 times their core high school GPA (based on a 4.0 scale). For information on what constitutes core high school courses, please consult admission website

SPI EXAMPLE: A student with a high school core GPA of 3.5 and an ACT mathematics score of 28 would have an SPI of 63 using the formula (3.5 X 10) + 28 = 63. SAT scores are converted to an equivalent ACT score to perform this calculation.

Students who wish to pursue a degree in the College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but do not meet the college admission criterion may enroll as Arts and Sciences Exploratory students and complete appropriate mathematics, science, and other courses before applying for admission to the College of Engineering as an internal transfer student.

How to Major in Industrial Engineering

The industrial engineering degree program is administered by the UT Department of Industrial and Systems  Engineering. Students applying to the university should specify industrial engineering as their chosen major when completing the admission form. Students transferring from other departments within UT or from other educational institutions should contact the department for more information regarding the appropriate entry level and any additional required courses.

Requirements for Industrial Engineering

The IIE department currently does not have any special requirements for admission to the industrial engineering program, other than the general admission requirements for the university and the college. College of Engineering students at the freshman level and above are required to own laptop computers for class work. For more information, please visit

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

All UT freshman engineering students are automatically enrolled in the innovative Engage Engineering Fundamentals Program, designed to help students learn basic engineering concepts and teamwork skills through a series of hands-on projects and activities:

The College of Engineering’s Office of Professional Practice (EPP) provides income-generating opportunities for engineering students to experience real world engineering challenges through cooperative education (co-op) and internship programs. Both programs offer structured learning environments where students develop increasing responsibilities by holding full-time paid positions in a professional environment related to their academic and career goals:

In addition to financial and scholarship programs available to all students, the college also provides special scholarships and support programs to minority students, including:

The College of Engineering also participates in the University Honors Program, which is designed to give academically outstanding students a unique undergraduate experience consisting of special courses, seminars, mentoring and research projects: The College of Engineering has Honors concentrations in all majors

The UT Center for International Education collaborates with the COE to create opportunities for engineering students to study in other countries:

Highlights of Industrial Engineering

Students majoring in industrial engineering are encouraged to participate in professional societies, including the UT chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), which is open to all students with an interest in the discipline. Alpha Pi Mu, the industrial engineering honor society, and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, are pleased to invite students with outstanding academic records into their memberships. These organizations provide members the opportunity to gain valuable experience in time management, public speaking and teamwork.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

For more information about opportunities for majors in the College of Engineering, please see the section of the Engineering Outreach Office website which highlights study abroad programs for engineering students.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Experience Learning

Experience Learning LogoExperience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.

The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.

Learn more about Experience Learning.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, go to Industrial Engineering in the Undergraduate Catalog (

Honors Program in Industrial Engineering

Students, who wish to pursue the honors industrial engineering concentration, will normally be part of the Engineering Honors Program. Candidates for the honors concentration in industrial engineering must complete the following requirements.

  • Four first or second year courses for honors concentration in the engineering majors.
  • Two upper-division honors courses in industrial engineering (IE 317 , IE 407 , IE 408 , IE 428 ).
  • Minimum of 2-credit hours of an honors senior design course. This requirement is normally satisfied as part of their senior capstone design course (IE 422 *).

Five-Year BS/MS Program

The department offers a 5-year BS-MS program with a major in industrial engineering for qualified students. The primary component of the program is a qualified student may take up to 9 hours of approved graduate courses for their senior undergraduate courses and have them count toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Tennessee. This program is designed for students attending the University  of Tennessee for their Master of Science degree because other universities may not accept these courses for graduate credit since they were used to satisfy requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree. The student may also take an additional 9 credit of courses, while working towards their bachelor’s, which will count only for the master’s degree. Qualifications for admission to the program are:

  • The student must have an earned minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 to be considered for admission to the program. Conditional admission may be granted the student after completing 65 hours of the required course work.
  • Conditional admission must be obtained before taking a graduate course that is to be used to satisfy the requirements of both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Students admitted to the program must request permission from the Graduate School to take approved courses for graduate credit. Students admitted to the program must also follow the normal procedure for admission to the Graduate School.
  • Full admission may be granted after completing 96 hours of required course work and with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 in the required course work.
  • Conditional and full admission of a student into this program must be approved by the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, the College of Engineering, and the Graduate School.
  • Full admission must be obtained before taking a graduate course that is to be used to satisfy the requirements only for the master’s degree. These courses must be identified in advance, with the proposed master’s advisor or the Industrial Engineering Graduate Program Coordinator.
  • Any course taken for graduate credit prior to satisfying all requirements for the bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering must be approved by the department head or designee and the Graduate School.
  • A student will not be eligible for a graduate assistantship until the student is enrolled as a graduate-level student in the Graduate School, has satisfied all of the requirements for the bachelor’s degree, or the      student is in the final semester of the bachelor’s degree and has completed all undergraduate industrial engineering coursework.

For More Information

Industrial and Systems Engineering
525 John D. Tickle Engineering Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-0700
Phone: (865) 974-3333
Fax: (865) 974-0588

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