Doctor of Philosophy in IE (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering (Ph.D.) is a research degree offered by the Department of Industrial Engineering through the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.


Candidates for admission into the Ph.D. degree program must satisfy both the requirements for admission into the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and the requirements of the department. These requirements are summarized as follows:

  1. Completed application for University of Louisville graduate admission
  2. Application fee
  3. Official transcript(s) from all previous colleges and universities attended.  All transcripts not in English must be certified as authentic and translated verbatim into English
  4. Letters of recommendation (at least 2)
  5. Minimum GPA of 3.00/4.00
  6. A combined verbal and quantitative score for the GRE basic examination of at least 305 (or 1200 on previous scale).
  7. For international students, a TOEFL score of at least 80 on the internet-based test or an IELTS score of at least 6.5.

Prerequisite Requirements

A candidate with a baccalaureate of science (BS) degree in an area other than engineering (e.g., mathematics, physics, psychology) must demonstrate mathematical preparation comparable to that provided by an ABET accredited engineering program. Typically, an acceptable undergraduate record in mathematics includes calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.

Degree Requirements

Six courses are required for all Ph.D. students in industrial engineering. One additional course is required for those Ph.D. students who do not have a previous degree in industrial engineering. :

  • EM 613, Operations Management (3). This course is not required for students with a previous degree in industrial engineering.
  • IE 515, Operations Research Methods (3) or IE 610, Foundations of Optimization (3)
  • IE 541, Simulation (3) or IE 642, Statistical Methodology in Simulation (3)
  • EM 661, Engineering Statistics II (3) or IE 563, Experimental Design in Engineering (3)
  • IE 580, Principles of Occupational Ergonomics (3) or IE 581, Ergonomic Techniques in the Workplace (3)
  • IE 630, Advanced Production Systems Design (3) or IE 600, Advanced Manufacturing Methods (3)
  • IE 650, Material Flow Systems Design (3) or IE 657, Models for Design and Analysis of Logistical Systems (3)

A minimum of 78 hours of post baccalaureate credits are required. Up to 30 hours of credit may be granted for a master’s degree in industrial engineering from another institution. No more than 17 hours will be awarded for dissertation research.

The basic steps in securing admission to the Ph.D program and completing it are given below.

  1. The applicant completes an online application.  See above ‘Admission’ section. Each application is reviewed by a committee of IE faculty and a decision is made on whether or not to admit the student and provide financial aid.
  2. The admitted student takes the written doctoral qualifying exam (DQE) after satisfactorily completing 15 hours of graduate level course work plus any additional industrial engineering undergraduate or graduate deficiency courses required at the time of admission.  The DQE will be offered as part of a 1-credit readings course IE-693, called Doctoral Qualifying Exam and students must register for this course.  The DQE will be offered once per term, as needed. See information on ‘IE Doctoral Qualifying Exam’ posted to departmental website for specific details regarding the DQE.
  3. In the second year, the student selects a faculty research advisor to work with and forms a dissertation committee in consultation with his or her research advisor.  The dissertation committee will consist of at least four members of the graduate faculty. At least three of the committee members will be from the Industrial Engineering department and at least one from a department other than Industrial Engineering. The chair of the dissertation committee will be the student’s research advisor.
  4. The student submits a written proposal for dissertation research to their dissertation committee.
  5. An oral presentation of the dissertation proposal is made to the dissertation committee by the student.
  6. The dissertation committee votes on whether or not to admit the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree after an oral presentation of the dissertation proposal, passing the DQE, and completion of the course requirements of the PhD program. The dissertation committee will review the student’s transcript to verify the adequacy of the student’s course work preparation to successfully pursue research in the chosen area. The dissertation committee may recommend additional course work.
  7. The student submits and defends his or her Ph.D. dissertation to their dissertation committee.


The University of Louisville allows at most four years from the time a student is admitted to candidacy (step 6) to the time they defend their dissertation (step 7).


Entering Ph.D. students will be advised by the Director of IE Graduate Programs, Dr. Lihui Bai, until such time as the student selects a research advisor at which time the student will be advised by his or her research advisor.

Graduate Student Guidelines and Rules

There are primarily two sets of guidelines/rules for graduate students; those in the UofL Graduate Catalog and those in the Speed School Minimum Guidelines for Graduate Education documents.  All graduate students should read both documents thoroughly.  The UofL Graduate Catalog is located at:  Please note the Graduate Catalog contains many sections, all of which should be reviewed by students.  The Speed School Minimum Guidelines for Graduate Education document is located at:

Funding Opportunities for PhD Students

PhD students may be eligible to receive a Fellowship or Research Assistantship.  Once a completed application and all supporting documentation has been submitted, the IE Graduate Admission committee will carefully review the application and make both admission and funding decisions.  All application materials are due by January 15 for consideration for funding in the Fall semester.

Adopted by the IE faculty on November 20, 2009; minor edits made on December 17, 2009, April 2010, April 2011, and February 2013.