Industrial Engineering

What is an Industrial Engineer?

An industrial engineer (IE) is responsible for designing integrated systems of people, machines, material, energy, and information.

As an industrial engineer you may be responsible for the quality of automobiles coming off the end of a manufacturing line, the scheduling of a hospital’s emergency room, or even designing a better cockpit to improve the performance of a fighter pilot.

Industrial engineers figure out how to do things better. They engineer processes and systems that improve quality and productivity. They work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, energy, and other resources. This is why more and more companies are hiring industrial engineers and then promoting them into management positions.

Most of all, an industrial engineer is a person who is responsible for improving the overall effectiveness of an organization. To do this IEs utilize the latest advances in the following areas:

  • Computers and Simulation
  • Robotics and Automation
  • Materials Handling
  • Logistics and Distribution
  • Management Information Systems
  • Advanced Manufacturing Processes
  • Quality Control
  • Facilities Layout and Location
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Production and Inventory Control
  • Ergonomics and Human Factors
  • Operations Research
  • Reliability and Maintainability
  • Engineering Economic Analysis
  • Scheduling
  • Transportation Systems


Why Become an Industrial Engineer?

The Jobs Rated Almanac, a well-known and respected publication that rates occupations, ranks industrial engineering in the top 10% of careers based on overall salary, satisfaction, opportunities, work environment, and job demands.

If that is not enough to convince you, consider the following:

  • IEs are able to work for any type of organization. As a result, the current demand for IEs is extremely strong and consistent.
  • Employment of IEs is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2008, reflecting industrial growth, more complex business operations, and greater use of automation in factories and offices.
  • Because of their abilities to improve operations and reduce costs, IEs enjoy a high level of job security, especially during lean economic times.
  • IEs have an “inside track” to obtain management positions because they generally work directly with management as part of their day-to-day activities.
  • IE is the only engineering discipline that directly considers people as key elements of the systems they design. As a result, IE is truly a “people oriented” profession.
  • IEs improve the quality of life for everyone, by working to make higher quality goods and services that are less expensive, more readily available, and better designed to meet customer needs.


Who Hires Industrial Engineers?

Every type of organization - particularly those in the manufacturing, service, healthcare, and logistics and distribution industries - depend upon industrial engineers to design and operate their systems. If you looked at a list of companies with IEs in prominent positions, it would be long and would include names such as:

Instead of asking, “Who will hire me?” as an IE you will be able to ask, “Where do I want to work?”


Where Are Our Alumni?

Mr. Glenn M. Whitfield -Production Engineering Manager, Ford Kentucky Truck Plant

Mr. J. David Sharp - Director of Distribution, Stride Rite Corp.

Mr. David J. Adams - President and CEO, V-Trade

Dr. Mansooreh Mollaghasemi - IE Professor, University of Central Florida

Dr. Sue Ellspermann - Consultant, Basadur Applied Creativity


Industrial Engineering at Speed School

The University of Louisville offers the only Industrial Engineering program in Kentucky. Most students enter with the objective of pursuing the unique five year accredited Master of Engineering Degree. Both the Bachelor of Science and the Master of Engineering degrees are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

As a freshman, you will develop a solid foundation in engineering principles along with a background in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. After a few semesters, you will begin taking industrial engineering coursework and gain a close-up look at some of the hottest topics in industry today.

Our philosophy is that you must learn by doing it, not just reading about it. As a result you will have access to some of the finest facilities in the country, including labs for Logistics and Distribution, Factory Automation, and Industrial Ergonomics. You will work with robots, conveyors, machining equipment, and some of the latest in computer simulation technology to design actual systems.

You will get an even better view of the profession as you enter the Cooperative Education Program, working full-time in industry for three semesters. This will enable you to gain experience as an engineer and learn about interviewing, professional conduct and communication. Many of our students find that the salary they earn is actually sufficient to offset the majority of tuition costs at U of L.

Outside class and co-op, you will have an opportunity to interact with faculty in an  informal setting. Our student chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers is very active, organizing plant trips, speakers, picnics and parties.

Our faculty and staff work hard to provide students with the highest quality educational experience that will prepare them for a productive career in our exciting field.

Department Highlights

  • Two faculty recipients of the University of Louisville Distinguished Teaching Award
  • One faculty recipient of the University of Louisville Distinguished Research Award
  • Two endowed chairs, one in logistics and one in computer-aided engineering
  • Two recognized distinguished alumni
  • Four fellows of the Institute of Industrial Engineers
  • 80% of faculty are registered Professional Engineers
  • The Dean of Engineering is a member and former chairman of the IE department
  • Students have won national student design competitions as well as regional technical paper competitions.
For Additional Information

J. B. Speed School of Engineering
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

Department of Industrial Engineering
JB Speed Building, Room 304
University of Louisville
Visit department website
Phone: (502) 852-6342

Office of Admissions
Phone: (502) 852-4672