The first bachelor of science in industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison was awarded in 1972. Since that time the demand for industrial engineers has grown dramatically for one chief reason: the need for organizations to raise their level of productivity through thoughtful, systematic applications.

Becoming an industrial engineer (IE) places one in an exciting field of engineering that focuses on productivity improvement worldwide. It is a field that deals as much with human aspects of work as with today's sophisticated tools of work.

What sets industrial engineering apart from other engineering disciplines is its broader scope. An IE deals with people as well as things. The industrial engineer applies problem-solving techniques in almost every kind of industry, business, or institution. There are IEs in banks, hospitals, government at all levels, transportation, construction, processing, social services, electronics, facilities design, manufacturing, and warehousing.

An IE looks at the "big picture" of what makes society perform best—the right combination of human resources, natural resources, and human-made structures and equipment. An IE bridges the gap between management and operations, dealing with and motivating people as well as determining what tools should be used and how they should be used. Industrial engineering is concerned with performance measures and standards, research of new products and product applications, ways to improve use of scarce resources, and many other problem-solving adventures.

Because industrial engineering serves a broad cross-section of business, industry and institutions, the IE's work environment varies from office to plant to field. Choices can be made even after the IE begins his or her career. Few other vocations offer a graduating student such a wide selection of places to work or kind of work to perform. Need for industrial engineers makes this profession particularly attractive from the financial standpoint. Beginning salaries rank in the top group of high-paying engineering disciplines, and fast advancement is not unusual.

In the industrial and systems engineering department at UW–Madison, the course curriculum is set up to provide a diversified background and at the same time allow choices according to individual interests. Specialized coursework might be categorized in five main areas:

  • Decision Science and Operations Research
  • Health Systems Engineering
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Manufacturing and Production Systems
  • Quality Engineering

Although there is no sub major within IE, it is possible to achieve a degree of specialization through a judicious choice of IE technical electives. Courses focusing on teams and design projects prepare students to succeed in the workplace.

Admission to the College as a Freshman

Students applying to UW–Madison need to indicate an engineering major as their first choice in order to be considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering. Direct admission to a major means students will start in the program of their choice in the College of Engineering and will need to meet progression requirements at the end of the first year to guarantee advancement in that program.

Cross-Campus Transfer to Engineering

UW–Madison students in other schools and colleges on campus must meet the course and credit requirements for admission to engineering degree granting classifications specified in the general college requirements. The requirements are the minimum for admission consideration. Cross-campus admission is competitive and selective, and the grade point average expectations may increase as demand trends change. The student’s overall academic record at UW–Madison is also considered. Students apply to their intended engineering program by submitting the online application by stated deadlines for spring and fall. The College of Engineering offers group information sessions for students to learn about the cross-campus transfer process.

Off-Campus Transfer to Engineering

With careful planning, students at other accredited institutions can transfer coursework that will apply toward engineering degree requirements at UW–Madison. Off-campus transfer applicants are considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering by applying to the Office of Admissions with an engineering major listed as their first choice. Those who are admitted to their intended engineering program must meet progression requirements at the point of transfer or within their first two semesters at UW–Madison to guarantee advancement in that program. A minimum of 30 credits in residence in the College of Engineering is required after transferring, and all students must meet all requirements for their major in the college. Transfer admission to the College of Engineering is competitive and selective, and students who have earned more than 80 transferable semester credits at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer Admissions and Advising Coordinator in the College of Engineering: or 608-262-2473.

Second Bachelor's Degree

The College of Engineering does not accept second undergraduate degree applications. Second degree students might explore the Biological Systems Engineering program at UW–Madison, an undergraduate engineering degree elsewhere, or a graduate program in the College of Engineering.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

Industrial Engineering Curriculum (Fall 2016 and beyond)

The following curriculum applies to students admitted to the industrial engineering degree program beginning in fall 2016 or later. Required courses are indicated. The Industrial Engineering Undergraduate Curriculum Guide contains lists of courses that fulfill the requirements in the following categories: General Education Communication Elective, Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Science Electives, IE Required Courses, IE Technical Electives, Junior Design and Senior Design. For Liberal Studies Electives refer to the College of Engineering Liberal Studies Guidelines.

Mathematics and Statistics

MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 24
MATH 234 Calculus--Functions of Several Variables4
MATH 340 Elementary Matrix and Linear Algebra3
STAT 311 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I3
STAT 312 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics II3
Total Credits22


PHYSICS 201 General Physics 15
or E M A 201 Statics
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry5
COMP SCI 301 Introduction to Data Programming3
or COMP SCI 200 Programming I
or COMP SCI 300 Programming II
Total Credits18

E M A 201 Statics alone does not meet the prerequisite for PHYSICS 202 General Physics. Students who take EMA 201 must take either E M A 202 Dynamics or M E 240 Dynamics in addition to meet the PHYSICS 202 prerequisites. E M A 202 and M E 240 will fulfill Engineering Science credit requirements.

Engineering and Science Electives 

Engineering Science (non ISyE or EPD) 23
Statistics Elective3
Math, Biology flexible electives6
Computer Science Elective3
Total Credits15

INTEREGR 170 Design Practicum (or other eligible INTEREGR departmental courses) will count toward the Engineering & Science elective credits.

 Required ISyE Courses

ACCT I S 300 Accounting Principles3
or ACCT I S 100 Introductory Financial Accounting
I SY E 313 Engineering Economic Analysis3
I SY E 315 Production Planning and Control3
I SY E 320 Simulation and Probabilistic Modeling3
I SY E 321 Simulation Modeling Laboratory1
I SY E 323 Operations Research-Deterministic Modeling3
I SY E 348 Introduction to Human Factors Engineering Laboratory1
I SY E/​PSYCH  349 Introduction to Human Factors3
I SY E 350 Junior Design Laboratory3
I SY E 415 Introduction to Manufacturing Systems, Design and Analysis3
I SY E 417 Health Systems Engineering3
I SY E 450 Senior Design Project3
Total Credits32

ISyE Technical Electives 

Human Factors
Quantitative Methods
Quality Course Requirement
Introduction to Engineering 3

This course is not required for transfer students. INTEREGR 110 Introduction to Engineering will count as a 1 credit undesignated I SY E Technical Elective for ISyE students.

 Communication Skills and Liberal Studies

ENGL 100 Introduction to College Composition3
or COM ARTS 100 Introduction to Speech Composition
or LSC 100 Science and Storytelling
or ESL 118 Academic Writing II
E P D 397 Technical Communication3
Liberal Studies Electives (according to CoE regulations)11
ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics4
Total Credits21

Minimum Required Credits: 121

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

At the time of graduation, UW-Madison Industrial Engineering students will have attained:

  1. Apply knowledge of math, science, economics, and engineering principles to solve ISYE, social or business problems.
  2. Recognize, describe, predict and analyze systems behavior.
  3. Apply experimental design or data analytics.
  4. Demonstrate ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  5. Design effective and efficient human and technical work systems.
  6. Contribute to solving ISyE problems and cooperate with engineers to solve engineering and societal problems.
  7. Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems using appropriate information and approaches.
  8. Understand physiological, cognitive, and sociotechnical aspects of humans as components in complex systems.
  9. Identify opportunities and apply engineering solutions for evaluating productivity and quality improvement.
  10. Demonstrate an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  11. Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  12. Demonstrate knowledge of contemporary issues across various industries.
  13. Show proficiency and effectiveness in technical communications.
  14. Engage in continued learning and demonstrate an appreciation of the benefits of lifelong learning.
  15. Apply the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice, such as quality engineering, optimization, simulation, and project management.


First Year
MATH 221, 217, or 2755MATH 222 or 2764
Communications A3Liberal Studies Elective3
 14 16
Second Year
MATH 2344STAT 3123
PHYSICS 2025I SY E 3133
STAT 3113I SY E 3153
COMP SCI 3013MATH 3403
Engineering Science Elective3Engineering and Science Elective (Stats)3
 18 15
Third Year
I SY E 3233I SY E 3203
I SY E 3481I SY E 3211
I SY E/​PSYCH  3493I SY E 3503
ACCT I S 300 or 1003E P D 3973
Engineering and Science Elective (ENGR)3Engineering and Science Elective (Comp Sci)3
Liberal Studies Elective3ISyE Technical Elective2
 16 15
Fourth Year
I SY E 4153I SY E 4503
ISyE Technical Elective (Human Factors)3ISyE Technical Elective (Quantitative Methods)3
I SY E 4173ISyE Technical Elective (Quality)3
Engineering Science Elective3Liberal Studies Elective3
Liberal Studies Elective3 
 15 12
Total Credits 121


Each College of Engineering program has academic advisors dedicated to serving its students. Program advisors can help current College of Engineering students with questions about accessing courses, navigating degree requirements, resolving academic issues and more. Students can find their assigned advisor on the homepage of their student center. 

Engineering Career Services

Engineering Career Services (ECS) assists students in identifying pre-professional work-based learning experiences such as co-ops and summer internships, considering and applying to graduate or professional school, and finding full-time professional employment during their graduation year.

ECS offers two major career fairs per year, assists with resume writing and interviewing skills, hosts workshops on the job search, and meets one-on-one with students to discuss offer negotiations.

Students are encouraged to utilize the ECS office early in their academic careers. For comprehensive information on ECS programs and workshops, see the ECS website or call 608-262-3471.


Linderoth (chair)

Associate Professors


Assistant Professors

Del Pia

See also Industrial and Systems Engineering Faculty Directory.