Industrial and systems engineering is concerned with the analysis, design, and implementation of systems through optimal use of resources--human, materials, energy, information, and financial. Systems may range from small units to extremely large operations.

In order to accomplish these activities, the industrial engineer must be skilled in mathematics, physical sciences, management, and human relations, as well as manufacturing, computer systems, economics, optimization, human behavior, and systems analysis and design. 

Industrial engineers improve the quality of our lives by making systems and process better, faster, cheaper, and safer. They excel at exploring business challenges and developing ways to make industries, hospitals, education, and government more effective. They know how to work with others and how to help people work more effectively, and they're typically responsible for implementing the delicate and complex process of system change.

Why Iowa?

The BSE in industrial engineering is one of eight Undergraduate Engineering Programs in the College of Engineering, which offers excellent opportunities for students to participate in research, internships, study abroad, and student organizations.

Students choose to study engineering at Iowa because of the college's academic excellence, individual attention, small-college environment, camaraderie, and tremendous opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa's undergraduate program in the top 20 percent of engineering programs nationwide. 

Iowa admits incoming first-year students directly into engineering. About 525 first-year students and 100 transfer students enroll each year. Women account for over 29 percent of of Iowa's engineering students; the national average is 20 percent. 

Engineering student support services include free tutoring for your first two years of math, science, and engineering courses.


Industrial and Systems Engineering
Focus Areas
Big Data Analytics
Computer and Information Systems
Design and Manufacturing
Human Factors and Ergonomics
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
  Selective Admission
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Employment opportunities for industrial and systems engineers are among the most varied in the engineering field. There are opportunities for employment and service in manufacturing and energy firms, wind turbine manufacturers, government agencies, and service organizations such as airlines, banks, hospitals, health care groups, and consulting companies. 

Industrial and systems engineers hold positions as advisers to management or may participate directly in management decisions. Typical job titles include industrial engineer, manufacturing engineer, systems analyst, quality specialist, operations research analyst, internal consultant, human factors specialist, supervisor, and manager. 

Engineering is a well-respected profession that is used as a foundation for a variety of careers in industry, medicine, law, government, and consulting.

Engineering majors hold eight of the top ten spots on the list of top-paid majors for bachelor's degree graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Engineering Career Services develops and promotes experiential education and professional opportunities for students. Professional staff coordinate the college's co-op and internship program, engage in employer outreach, and host an engineering career fair each semester.  

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Engineering student organizations, fraternities and sororities, and national honorary societies offer many opportunities to develop your leadership abilities.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

Apply early for scholarships. The college offers Engineering First-Year Scholarships as well as many other scholarship opportunities for sophomore, junior, and senior students. Visit the College of Engineering Scholarships to learn more. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


The major in industrial and systems engineering requires a strong foundation of courses in engineering science, mathematics, design, manufacturing, social science, and humanities.  

Advanced work includes specialty courses in human factors and ergonomics, management, information systems, manufacturing, quality control, and operations research. Design is an integral part of the curriculum and all students complete a comprehensive design experience. 

The industrial and systems engineering program emphasizes both a broad education in industrial engineering fundamentals and the opportunity for in-depth learning. All BSE students complete the BSE core requirements, as well as the curriculum designed for their major program, which covers four major stems: mathematics and basic sciences, engineering topics, the general education component, and an elective focus area. Students may choose an approved focus area or work with their adviser to customize an area that aligns with their interests and career objectives. 

See Industrial and Systems Engineering in the UI General Catalog  to learn about required course work and graduating with honors. 

BSE/MS Fast-Track Degree Program

The BSE/MS fast-track degree program is for eligible students who seek to complete both the BSE and MS degrees in industrial and systems engineering at Iowa. Students interested in this program apply in the second semester of their junior year and, if admitted, enter that program in the first semester of their senior year. The fast-track program allows 12 hours to be counted toward both their BSE and MS degrees.