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Industrial Engineering Major Guide for 2008-2009

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 Information 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.

Salary Trends in Industrial Engineering

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual earnings of industrial engineers were $68,620 in 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $55,060 and $84,850. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,790, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $100,950.

Industrial engineers are expected to have employment growth of 20 percent for the decade 2006 through 2016. As firms look for new ways to reduce costs and raise productivity, they increasingly will turn to industrial engineers to develop more efficient processes and reduce costs, delays, and waste. This should lead to job growth for these engineers, even in manufacturing industries with slowly growing or declining employment overall. Because their work is similar to that done in management occupations, many industrial engineers leave the occupation to become managers. Many openings will be created by the need to replace industrial engineers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.

High School Preparation

Core academic subjects required for admission:

  • 4 units of English
  • 3½ units of mathematics including algebra, trigonometry, and geometry
  • 2 units of natural science (physics and chemistry recommended)
  • 2 units of a single foreign language
  • 1 unit of American history
  • 1 unit of European history, world history or world geography
  • 1 unit of visual or performing arts

Computer courses prior to the freshman year in engineering are also highly recommended.

Prospective students who want to enter the engineering program are also required to meet the criteria of the “Success Prediction Index” (SPI). The formula for SPI is 10 x high school core GPA + math ACT score. The college is gradually increasing the required SPI score. Check the UT Admissions or College of Engineering web sites to determine the current SPI required. Students who are unable to meet this requirement may register as “university undecided” students and complete appropriate mathematics, science and other courses before applying for admission to the COE. {note that this is not a valid URL}

How to Major in Industrial Engineering

The industrial engineering degree program is administered by the UT Department of Industrial and Information Engineering (IIE). 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.
For more information on the admissions process, visit

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 sophomore 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 (OPP) 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: {note that this is not a valid URL}
The UT Center for International Education collaborates with the COE to create opportunities for engineering students to study in other countries: {note that this is not a valid URL}

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.

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Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
Chemistry 120* or 128* 4
English 101* or 118*, 102* 6
Mathematics 141* or 147*, 142* or 148* 8
Engineering Fundamentals 105, 151 or 157, 152 or 158 9
Engineering Fundamentals 202  2
1 Social Sciences General Education Elective * 3
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Accounting 200 or 207  3
Statistics 251  3
Math 200, 231, 241, or 247  8
Physics 231* 3
Engineering Fundamentals 230  2
Industrial Engineering 202, 250  4
Materials Science and Engineering 201  3
Mechanical Engineering 231, 331 6
Junior Year Credit Hours
Economics 201* or 207* 4
Electrical and Computer Engineering 301  3
Industrial Engineering 300, 301, 304, 405  12
Industrial Engineering 310, 330, 340, 350* 10
Philosophy 244* 3
Senior Year Credit Hours
Industrial Engineering 401, 402, 404, 406  10
Industrial Engineering 421, 422, 427, 450  10
2 Technical Elective  3
3 Cultures and Civilizations General Education Elective* 6
4 Arts and Humanities General Education Elective* 3

* Meets General Education Requirement.
1 See Social Sciences – University General Education Requirement. Select one course from the list other than Economics 201 and 207.
2 Technical electives must be taken from the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering list of approved courses, or be approved by the advisor and the department head.
3 See Cultures and Civilizations – University General Education Requirement. Select two courses from the list or two courses in a foreign language at the intermediate level.
4 See Arts and Humanities – University General Education Requirement. Select one course from the list other than Philosophy 244 or Religious Studies 244.

For More Information

Industrial and Information Engineering
416 East Stadium Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996-0700
Phone: (865) 974-3333
Fax: (865) 974-0588



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.