From aerospace manufacturing to health services, industrial engineers work to maximize production, eliminate waste, and streamline a variety of business processes. An industrial engineering online master's degree will enable you to work for any company that needs strategies to improve production speed, quality control, and worker safety. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial engineering positions will grow 1% between 2014 and 2024. The competitive salaries, large number of open positions, and ability to live anywhere in the country make industrial engineering an attractive option for many students.

What are the best industrial engineering programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA
2 Columbia University New York, NY
3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
4 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
5 New York University New York, NY
6 Texas A&M University College Station, TX
7 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
8 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
9 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
10 Clemson University Clemson, SC

The Best Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Programs of 2019

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

Georgia Tech serves more than 25,000 graduate and undergraduate students. The university primarily focuses on technology-based programs in business, liberal arts, and STEM fields.

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Georgia Tech's online master's in industrial engineering number one in the United States. The program's 30-credit curriculum includes core coursework in warehousing, supply chain systems, and manufacturing. The curriculum does not include a capstone or thesis requirement.

Georgia Tech prefers applicants with a bachelor's degree in engineering, science, math, or computing, although all students are welcome to apply. Online learners may begin the program in the fall or spring semester.

2

Columbia University

New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 96%

Columbia contributes to national research through its School of Engineering and Applied Science. Additionally, launched in 1986, the Columbia Video Network offers more than a dozen online graduate engineering programs to distance learners.

Columbia's 30-credit master's in industrial engineering features an emphasis in systems engineering. This program focuses on the management, design, and operations of professional engineering projects. Core courses explore systems engineering, applied systems, and probability and statistics.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, math, science, statistics, or a related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must also submit GRE scores. Columbia charges all learners in the program the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of residency.

3

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 92%

A private research institution, USC operates more than 20 academic schools, including its School of Engineering. USC serves more than 44,000 students, and it offers over 100 online degrees and certificate programs through USC Online.

The university's MS in industrial and systems engineering emphasizes the acute technical skills required of industrial engineers in the field. The 30-credit curriculum includes core courses in inventory systems, engineering project management, and advanced production planning and scheduling. Students in the program must consult an academic advisor before choosing elective courses.

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or an engineering-related discipline. Prospective students must also submit GRE scores, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. USC admits students in the fall and spring semesters.

4

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

NC State's College of Engineering employs more than 16 faculty members who belong to organizations like the National Academies of Science and the National Science Foundation. The university ranks among U.S. News & World Report's best in the nation for its online graduate engineering programs.

NC State's master's in industrial engineering is suitable for students seeking careers in biomanufacturing and nanomanufacturing, shipping and logistics, and telecommunications. The 33-credit program includes core courses and electives in math, statistics, and/or computer science. The program does not require a thesis or final project.

NC State admits students into this online program in the fall, spring, and summer. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or an engineering-related discipline with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must also submit GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

5

New York University

New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 85%

NYU's School of Engineering and Polytechnic Institute serves more than 5,000 students and offers five online graduate programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks NYU's online graduate engineering school among the best in the nation.

The university's MS in industrial engineering teaches students to draw comparisons across diverse fields of engineering. The 30-credit curriculum explores quality control and improvement, factory simulation, and production science. Companies like Con Edison and Rubicon Technology hire NYU engineering alumni.

NYU accepts applications on a rolling basis and admits students in the fall, spring, and summer. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, with priority given to individuals who have ABET-accredited and regionally accredited engineering degrees. Prospective students must also submit GRE scores.

6

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

Texas A&M offers five online graduate degrees and certificates in engineering, including programs ranked among the top 10 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Texas A&M's engineering department serves nearly 1,000 students.

Students can earn the university's 30-credit master's degree in industrial engineering online, completing coursework related to essential modeling techniques and tools. The program culminates in a final exam, though this requirement may be waived for some students. The curriculum does not include a thesis. Texas A&M also offers an online master's in engineering management.

Applicants should have an undergraduate engineering degree and at least some work experience. Students may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer.

7

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

UCF serves more than 68,000 students across 11 regional campuses and a comprehensive online division. A distance learning provider for over 20 years, the university now offers more than 90 online programs through UCF Online.

UCF's online master's in industrial engineering requires 30 credits in six primary focus areas, including systems engineering, simulation modeling and analysis, and human systems engineering/ergonomics. Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option. UCF also offers a graduate certificate in systems engineering online.

Applicants work with a UCF success coach to assess potential transfer credits from their undergraduate coursework. All prospective students must submit transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores.

8

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

U of I offered its first online course in 1995. The university now offers nearly 90 online degrees and certificate programs across 12 academic colleges.

U of I's online master's in industrial engineering requires 32 or 36 credits, depending on whether a student chooses the thesis or non-thesis option. Non-thesis students can complete a concentration in advanced analytics. Both non-thesis and thesis students complete courses in industrial quality control, human factors, and engineering design analysis. Students can complete the program in 2.5 years.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have earned a minimum 3.25 GPA over their last two years of undergraduate coursework. Prospective students must also submit GRE scores. The program admits new learners in the fall, spring, and summer.

9

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

In addition to its main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue operates 10 satellite locations and an online division. The university's distance learners can choose from more than 200 online graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs across 15 schools and colleges.

Purdue offers its online master's in industrial engineering with thesis and non-thesis options. In both cases, students complete 30 credits, taking courses like human factors engineering, operational research, and production systems engineering.

Applicants must hold an ABET-accredited undergraduate degree and submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a statement of purpose. Students with a bachelor's degree in a non-engineering field must meet mathematics prerequisites to qualify for admission.

10

Clemson University

Clemson, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

With an enrollment of nearly 26,000 pupils, Clemson operates a sprawling campus in South Carolina and an online division. The university's students can choose from more than 80 undergraduate and 120 graduate programs across seven academic colleges.

Clemson's online master's in industrial engineering includes an emphasis in supply chain logistics. Students must complete 30 credits — 10 courses — split evenly between core industrial engineering courses and supply chain coursework. The program culminates in a capstone design project.

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with coursework in engineering or business calculus. Prospective students must also have at least three years of relevant industry work experience. Clemson charges all online graduate students the same per-credit tuition, regardless of residency.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Program?

While the details and requirements of each program vary, industrial engineering online master's programs generally expect applicants to have completed a bachelor's in industrial engineering or a related field. Some universities require applicants to have earned a particular GPA to apply. Most coursework requires a high aptitude in mathematics and engineering-specific software.

Curriculum For an Online Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering

The list below is a small sampling of the courses common to industrial engineering online master's programs. Bear in mind that the university you select may offer different courses.

  • Information Systems Engineering: Covering topics such as programming, data structures, and data mathematics, this course prepares students to work in computer-related fields. Software engineering is a large component of this course.
  • Regression Analysis: Regression analysis applies to all industrial engineering careers. In these courses, students learn how dependent and independent variables interact. On the job, industrial engineers use regression analysis to research how proposed changes might affect their company's future.
  • Production Systems: For future industrial engineers who plan to go into manufacturing, a course in production systems teaches you how to turn raw materials into finished products. For example, an industrial engineer working at an automobile plant might study the most efficient methods for workers to turn parts into completed automobiles.

How Long Does it Take to get an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering?

Every industrial engineering online master's degree program is unique. The same goes for individual students. These two factors influence the length of time required to earn a master's degree. The vast majority of programs require students to earn at least 30 credits. Studying full-time, you can expect to earn your degree in two years. Studying part-time, it may take three or more years to finish your degree.

In certain master's in industrial engineering programs, students learn as a cohort. A cohort is a group of students that goes through the program at the same pace. Students working at an individual pace can choose when to view and complete course content. Whether you choose cohort or individually paced learning is another factor that influences the amount of time it takes to earn a degree.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Degrees

Before you choose where to earn an industrial engineering master's degree, it's important to verify that the program is properly accredited. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee a number accrediting bodies throughout the United States. These accreditation agencies evaluate schools for their academic quality, which takes much of the uncertainty out of your college search. Both regional and national accreditation agencies monitor U.S. colleges. Regional accreditation has stricter standards and is considered more desirable compared to national accreditation.

There are also accreditation bodies that are specific to certain disciplines. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is a CHEA-recognized agency that evaluates engineering programs throughout the United States, including industrial engineering programs. Be sure to check that your program is certified by ABET before you begin the application process. You can also check the CHEA website to verify a school's accreditation status. Accreditation not only ensures your program will be recognized by potential employers and other universities, but also guarantees your eligibility for federal financial aid.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Industrial Engineering Graduates

A master's in industrial engineering prepares you for careers in many industries. The vast majority of industrial engineering jobs are full-time positions that offer employees many paths for advancement. When starting a new job, an industrial engineer can expect to work under a more senior engineer until they prove their competency.

Architectural and Engineering Manager

These managers oversee company functions such as product design, staff hiring, and budgeting. They also lead research and development processes in order to design new systems or release new products. On top of an engineering degree, many professionals in this category possess master's degrees in engineering management or business administration.

Health and Safety Engineer

These engineers implement programs that increase employee safety. For example, a health and safety engineer might review proposed factory upgrades to ensure those upgrades meet all safety codes. When applying for a job in this category, a master's degree can qualify you for a higher-paying position.

Industrial Production Manager

When a factory must stay on its production schedule, it turns to an industrial production manager. These managers analyze data to improve their plant's production speed, worker training, and overall safety. They may also carry out quality control processes.

Logistician

In a production facility, an organized and efficient supply chain is crucial to success. Logisticians ensure that their facility has the materials it needs to finish production on time. They also design systems to minimize the cost of transporting goods that are used in industrial manufacturing processes.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

These specialists inspect different workspaces in their region and across the nation. They create routine procedures that improve workplace safety. They are also responsible for ensuring that workplace environments and equipment are in compliance with government regulations.

Master's in Industrial Engineering Salary

Over the course of their careers, industrial engineers' salaries can grow around 20%. Mid-level salaries exceed the $64,510 national median salary for master's degree holders. Toward the later stages of their careers, process engineers can exceed the salaries of others jobs in the category of industrial engineering.

Median Salary by Experience Level

Occupation Entry Level Mid-Level Late Career
Industrial Engineer $62,000 $74,000 $80,000
Safety Engineer $64,000 $79,000 $84,000
Process Engineer $69,000 $81,000 $87,000
Project Engineer $62,000 $77,000 $85,000

Source: Payscale

Financing Your Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Program

When researching how to finance your online master's in industrial engineering program, your first task is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines your eligibility for government scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study awards. Some companies will pay for you to earn an advanced degree if you agree to work at the company for a set number of years after graduation. Many organizations also sponsor scholarships for students entering the engineering field. For example, the ASCO Scholarship Program provides students $5,000 a year.


AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.