Best Industrial Engineering Programs

Industrial engineering requires high-level problem-solving and mathematical skills. Improve global manufacturing systems with a bachelor's in industrial engineering.

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by Meg Whitenton

Published on July 26, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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Industrial engineers use science, math, and engineering skills to design effective systems in industrial settings. A bachelor's in industrial engineering leads to careers in manufacturing engineering, production management engineering, and supply chain analysis.

Industrial engineers enjoy lucrative opportunities in manufacturing and transportation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that these jobs are projected to grow by 14% from 2020-2030. Industrial engineers earned a median annual wage of more than $95,000 in 2021, also according to the BLS.

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Ready to start your journey?

A bachelor's in industrial engineering typically takes four years to complete. However, many programs offer accelerated paths for students with transferable college credits or an associate degree. The top bachelor's in industrial engineering include a hands-on component and accreditation through the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Degree-completion programs and online degrees may offer benefits, including faster completion times and in-state tuition rates. Required tuition and fees at a public, four-year university cost between $10,000 (in-state) and $27,000 (out-of-state) in 2020-21, according to the College Board. However, the true program cost differs for each student.

Explore our ranking of the best bachelor's in industrial engineering programs below.

Our Top Pick

University of Southern California - Los Angeles, California

Why It's #1: USC ranks number one on our list of the Best Industrial Engineering Programs. USC maintains a high graduation rate of 92% and a 9-1 student-to-teacher ratio. Admission to USC is especially competitive, with an 11% admission rate and a 42% admission yield rate. Nearly three-quarters of USC students (69%) receive financial aid.

Read Our Rankings Methodology

Best Accredited Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $63,468
Out of State | $63,468

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

USC's bachelor's in industrial engineering integrates a composition/writing requirement into its curriculum consisting of general education and major coursework. The program covers topics like solving engineering problems via computer programming, engineering project management, and operations research.  

The degree culminates in a two-part senior design project. Applicants must respond to a short writing prompt and demonstrate completion of four years of math (preferably including calculus) and three years of physical sciences coursework. 

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#2

Georgia Institute of Technology

School Information
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Admission Rate 21%
Graduation Rate 90%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $10,258
Out of State | $31,370

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

Georgia Tech's bachelor's in industrial technology stresses foundational skills including statistics, probability, computing, and optimization. The curriculum combines traditional engineering principles in math and physics with business applications. 

Students can choose from seven concentrations including general engineering, supply chain engineering, and analytics and data science. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and optional standardized test scores through the Common App. First-year students may only apply for the summer or fall semester. 

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#3

Northeastern University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 18%
Graduation Rate 89%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $56,500
Out of State | $56,500

Credits to Graduate
137

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

Northeastern's bachelor's in industrial engineering blends traditional and contemporary engineering theory and skills. The curriculum emphasizes experiential learning through a six-month cooperative education component. 

Students can select a minor area of study to personalize their degree. Northeastern also offers an accelerated master's degree for undergraduate engineering students through the PlusOne program. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and optional test scores through the Common App or Coalition App. 

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#4

University of Washington

School Information
Location Seattle, Washington
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $11,187
Out of State | $39,687

Credits to Graduate
180

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

UW's bachelor's in industrial engineering emphasizes systems integration and the optimization of manufacturing and service systems. The curriculum explores topics like operations research, human factors and human interface technology, and quality and reliability engineering, culminating in a comprehensive senior design experience.

Applicants must complete at least 60 credits, including math, physics, chemistry, and English composition prerequisites. Students may only apply for admission in the fall semester. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA in individual courses and a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA for admission consideration. 

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#5

Lehigh University

School Information
Location Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 32%
Graduation Rate 90%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $58,970
Out of State | $58,970

Credits to Graduate
130

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

Lehigh's bachelor's in industrial engineering emphasizes traditional principles including operations research, probability and statistics, and work methods and measurement. Students can customize the program by choosing a thesis option or a technical minor in engineering leadership or manufacturing systems engineering.

Students must choose a specialized course in modern manufacturing methods, computer algorithm design, or both during their junior year. The program culminates in a senior project. 

Lehigh accepts admission materials, including high school transcripts and optional SAT or ACT test scores through the Common App or Coalition App.

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#6

University of Wisconsin-Madison

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $498
Out of State | $1,691

Credits to Graduate
120-122

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

UW's bachelor's in industrial engineering offers a choice of four focus areas: engineering analytics and operations research, healthcare systems engineering, human factors and ergonomics, or manufacturing and supply chain management. The program culminates in an industrial engineering design project. 

Applicants must declare a major in engineering to apply to the bachelor's program. UW accepts application materials, including high school transcripts and optional SAT or ACT scores, through the Common App or UW's application portal. Students may apply during the fall or spring semester.

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#7

North Carolina State University

School Information
Location Raleigh, North Carolina
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $380
Out of State | $1,286

Credits to Graduate
127

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

NC State offers a highly customizable bachelor's in industrial engineering through a variety of technical electives and focus areas. The core curriculum covers requirements like engineering in the 21st century, intro to engineering problem-solving, and physics for engineers. Students may also choose to minor in supply chain engineering.   

Students must apply through the Common App or Coalition App online. Required application materials include high school transcripts and short-answer questions to a writing prompt. NC State maintains a test-optional admission policy regarding SAT and ACT scores.

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#8

University of Miami

School Information
Location Coral Gables, Florida
Admission Rate 27%
Graduation Rate 83%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $55,440
Out of State | $55,440

Credits to Graduate
129-143

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

UM's bachelor's in industrial engineering incorporates a socio-ethical component through arts and humanities coursework. The curriculum explores core skills, including engineering project management, computer-aided manufacturing, and inventory and supply chain management. The program culminates in a senior design project.

First-year admission requirements include high school transcripts, a supplemental essay, and a personal statement, all submitted online through the Common App. Students may opt to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission consideration. UM also offers a five-year dual-degree program resulting in both a BS and MS in industrial engineering.

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#9

University of South Florida

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 48%
Graduation Rate 75%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester
In State | $2,571
Out of State | $6,937

Credits to Graduate
113

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

USF's bachelor's in industrial engineering imparts field-specific problem-solving, complex communication, and collaboration skills. The program includes an optional yet strongly recommended summer internship opportunity. Students complete a year-long senior design project to conclude the degree.  

Preferred applicants must declare a major in industrial engineering and earn a minimum "C" grade and a 3.0 GPA in prerequisite calculus, calculus-based physics, and chemistry coursework. General undergraduate admission requirements include high school transcripts, a minimum 2.5 GPA, and SAT or ACT scores.

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#10

California Polytechnic State University

School Information
Location San Luis Obispo, California
Admission Rate 28%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $11,022
Out of State | $30,942

Credits to Graduate
190

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission

Cal Poly's bachelor's in industrial engineering combines major courses and diverse technical electives in topics like basic electronics manufacturing, human factors engineering, and facilities planning and design. The program culminates in a three-part senior design project. 

Cal Poly accepts student-reported information about high school and college-prep course completion and only requests official transcripts in some cases. Applicants must also declare a major and submit any extracurricular experience for admission consideration.

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Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 117 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Industrial Engineering Programs

Is a bachelor's in industrial engineering worth it?

Yes. A bachelor's in industrial engineering leads to the widest variety of generalist and specialized industrial engineering jobs. According to the BLS, these professionals enjoy a faster-than-average job growth of 14% compared to the average growth rate of 8% for all occupations.

Schools offer bachelor's in industrial engineering programs to prepare students for versatile engineering careers. An undergraduate industrial engineering degree typically offers hands-on learning opportunities in a concentration of the student's choice. Some schools offer online programs with perks like accelerated courses and set tuition rates.

What can I do with a bachelor's in industrial engineering?

Graduates of a bachelor's in industrial engineering program can become industrial engineers or manufacturing engineers. While most industrial engineers work in transportation equipment manufacturing, others may pursue careers in academia, consulting, or research and development.

A bachelor's in industrial engineering also prepares students for specialized positions. For example, graduates may pursue jobs as supply chain analysts, manufacturing technicians, or quality assurance inspectors.

What continuing education is available for industrial engineering graduates?

Students who complete a bachelor's in industrial engineering do not require a higher degree to qualify for most entry-level positions in the field. However, some students may choose to earn a graduate degree on the path toward a career in engineering management or postsecondary teaching. Professional licensure is a popular continuing education choice for bachelor's degree graduates.

Students commonly seek continuing education opportunities to keep their skills sharp and stay on top of the latest field technology and trends. Many national industrial engineering organizations offer continuing education through scholarly publishing, annual meetings, and professional networking events.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in industrial engineering?

Graduates of a bachelor's in industrial engineering program can earn more than $95,000 a year. These professionals enjoy more widespread opportunities than their counterparts in other engineering specialties.

The BLS reports a range of salaries for industrial engineers, starting at roughly $60,000 and exceeding $129,000 for the top 10% of professionals in their field. As in any occupation, factors such as a job's location and education requirements can influence salaries.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in industrial engineering?

According to the BLS, engineering managers are some of the top earners in the field of engineering. These professionals earned median annual wages of $152,350 in 2021. Professionals typically need several years of experience in the field to qualify for these positions.

Transportation equipment manufacturing employs the largest concentration of industrial engineers. While this industry technically pays industrial engineers a higher-than-average salary of $97,090, according to the BLS, senior managers may earn more based on their education and experience.

Feature Image: Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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