Welcome from the DEO

Welcome to the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Iowa! We provide an intimate, high-quality, learning environment with 145 undergraduate and 40 graduate students who enjoy the flexibility to pursue their individual interests guided by our 13 faculty members. We are proud of the deep learning that forms an excellent foundational knowledge of engineering while also offering a breadth of opportunities designed to meet the needs of each student as they design their future careers.

The breadth of the impact industrial engineers have on our world often goes unnoticed and industrial engineering isn’t often top of mind for students considering an engineering career. Did you know, for example, that the Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes 15% of all engineering employment in the U.S. as Industrial Engineering, yet the American Society of Engineering Educators reports that only 3% of all new undergraduate engineering degrees are in Industrial Engineering. Perhaps this supply and demand relationship is one of the reasons that our graduates enjoy a 97% placement rate and a median salary of $64,000, the second highest in the college.

But our graduates enjoy more than just a kickstart to their first job. Most industrial engineering careers quickly move from pure technical application to a position in management. Less than a third of all industrial engineering graduates hold a job with “engineering” in the title. By emphasizing group projects, real world applications, and a flexible, customizable curriculum, our program emphasizes training that goes beyond the types of problems where the correct answer is in the back of the book. We develop individuals who can overcome the messy challenges that regularly confront people outside academia. Most of our students complete minors in business, which also helps prepare them for broad career possibilities. 

Our approach to education has enjoyed decades of success. We are the second oldest, continuously accredited Industrial Engineering program in the Midwest. Although we are currently one of the smaller undergraduate IE programs in the US, we are ranked in the top 20, a remarkable fact given that rankings in the popular press are driven by program size and visibility. Similarly, at the graduate level, we are consistently ranked among programs five times our size. In a race focused on size, we are winning with quality and agility.


Geb Thomas
Professor and Chair, Industrial and Systems Engineering