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Industrial and Systems Engineering

Industrial and systems engineering provides the perfect blend of technical skills and people orientation. Industrial engineers address the overall system performance as well as productivity, responsiveness to customer needs and the quality of the products or services produced by an enterprise. They also are the specialists who ensure that people can safely perform their required tasks in the workplace environment.

Industrial and systems engineering involves designing, improving and installing systems that affect people, material, information, equipment and energy. Thus the nature of graduate study is highly interdisciplinary.

Opportunities for Students

The industrial engineering master’s degree program provides opportunities for individuals to expand their knowledge of industrial and systems engineering through a coherent program of study that includes a concentration in one of the three areas of emphasis (human factors/ergonomics, manufacturing processes and operations research) and a breadth of understanding in the other areas. The doctorate program provides opportunities for individuals to attain a high level of scholarly achievement and contribution to the discipline through advanced study and research. Graduate studies in industrial and systems engineering at Ohio State fall into the three following specializations that each emphasize a particular aspect of industrial systems:

Human Factors/Ergonomics

Human factors engineering, also known as ergonomics, has two focus areas:


Biomechanics is the physical analysis of the human-environment interaction including industrial and clinical interactions. Faculty: William Marras, Steven Lavender, Carolyn Sommerich

Cognitive Engineering

Cognitive engineering is the human-centered design of products and distributed work systems. This includes the designs of roles and responsibilities, procedures and advanced technologies to support decision making, communication and cooperative work, information analysis, training and distributed control. Faculty: Phil Smith, David Woods

Manufacturing Processes

Faculty members in manufacturing process engineering have interests in metal forming, injection molding, die-casting, composite manufacturing, automation and CAD-CAM/CIM. Faculty: Taylan Altan, Jerald Brevick, Jose Castro, Blaine Lilly, Rajiv Shivpuri, Allen Yi

Operations Research

The operations research graduate program has five focus areas: applied statistics, optimizations, stochastic modeling, production and engineering management. Faculty: Ted Allen, Shahrukh Irani, Marc Posner, Simge Kucukyavuz, Cathy Xia, Ramteen Sioshansi

Employment Opportunities

Industrial and systems engineering is about choices. While other engineering disciplines sometimes apply skills to very specific areas, ISE gives graduates the opportunity to work in a variety of businesses. The most distinctive aspect of industrial and systems engineering is the flexibility that it offers. Whether it’s shortening a roller coaster line, streamlining an operating room, distributing products worldwide, assessing back pain or manufacturing superior automobiles, all tasks share the common goal of saving companies money and increasing efficiencies.

Industrial and systems engineering graduate students are employed by a wide range of industries, service and health-related organizations, universities, national laboratories and independent research organizations. ISE graduates usually receive multiple job offers with some of the highest starting salaries in the College of Engineering.


The Department of Integrated Systems Engineering has extensive laboratory and research facilities, including:

  • Center for Resilience
  • Data-Driven Decisions Laboratory
  • Edison Joining Technology Center (in collaboration with Edison Welding Institute)
  • Engineering Research Center for Net Shape Manufacturing
  • Institute for Ergonomics

Faculty are also involved in many other interdisciplinary programs and research centers, including:

  • Center for Advanced Polymer and Composite Engineering
  • Center for Affordable Nanoengineering of Polymeric Biomedical Devices
  • Center for Occupational Health in Automotive Manufacturing (COHAM)
  • Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory

Annual research expenditures in the department exceed $6 million. Primary sources of research funding include the Federal Aviation Administration, National Science Foundation, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, State of Ohio and multiple industrial sponsors.