What is Industrial Engineering?

 IE photos

Industrial engineering is a business-based and people-oriented field. The talents of industrial engineers: management, communications, technology and engineering skills are vital aspects of society.

Graduates of the University of Arkansas work for UPS, INVISTA, Georgia Pacific, Lucent Technologies,  Hewlett-Packard, Walmart, Baxter Healthcare, Walt Disney World and Lockheed Martin. In the complicated, interconnected world of the twenty-first century, industrial engineers are more important than ever, helping people cooperate and get things done.

NSF: Systems and Industrial Engineering in Healthcare

 Example Areas of Study

  • Engineering Management and Economic Analysis—Use science, engineering and management skills to make decisions that help companies become more competitive. For example, you could work as the corporate vice president and oversee the entire sales division of a company.
  • Operations Research and Simulation—Use mathematical and computer modeling to organize the purchase, storage, transportation and delivery of goods, and find ways to effectively use limited resources. You could work for a clothing company, deciding exactly how many items they should keep in stock at one time and creating a system to deliver the goods to stores.
  • Ergonomics and Work Measurement—Improve employee efficiency, safety and productivity by studying how the human body fits into the workplace. You could work in the manufacturing industry, designing new hand-held tools that reduce carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Quality Assurance—Improve the quality of finished products with statistics and management techniques. You could use statistical analysis to help a car manufacturing operation improve the overall quality of its vehicles.
  • Manufacturing—Study the way things are produced and the application of machines and robots in industry. In this field, you could design a new electronics production facility that uses automated circuit assembly, conveyors and machine vision robots that can check the quality of the electronic device.

IE at the University of Arkansas

  • A Community of Learning—With an open-door policy, the IE faculty at the U of A are always available to students. Class sizes are kept small, and questions are always welcome.
  • Ties to the Working World—As an IE student, you will solve real engineering problems for real companies. In addition, our faculty have many ties to industry which provides excellent employment connections for graduating students.
  • A-4-U—Funded by our alumni and department, Students Helping Undergraduate Retention provides free student-led tutoring and mentoring.
  • Student Organizations—The U of A chapter of the IE honor society, Alpha Pi Mu, consistently ranks among the top five chapters nationwide. Also, our student chapter of the professional society, IIE, (Institute of Industrial Engineers), is traditionally one of the top five largest chapters.
  • Accreditation—The BS degree in Industrial Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET; http://www.abet.org/.

Success stories

Bill Harrison


Bill Harrison
CEO of Harrison Energy Partners
“My industrial engineering coursework prepared me to accurately analyze engineering and business processes. Participating in seminar presentations and practicing leadership skills in student organizations prepared me for advocating for my positions after graduation. The faculty of the IE Department at the U of A takes a personal interest in the development of every individual student, and that produces confident and competent graduates. I recommend the IE department at the U of A to enrolling first-year students who want careers leading organizations.”

Thomas Duncan


Thomas Duncan
Wells Fargo Securities
“I loved my time at U of A, particularly in the Industrial Engineering Department! The rigorous technical engineering education with additional exposure to core business concepts is an ideal knowledge base for a variety of career choices. Throughout my undergraduate tenure, the IE faculty encouraged me to get involved in research projects and study abroad in addition to regular coursework. Several of the professors served as mentors who cared deeply about my goals and helped me to decide on graduate engineering studies at Stanford University and my ultimate career path.”

Future paths of IE graduates

Some other recent employers of our graduates include Baxter Healthcare, BNSF, Cameron, Cardinal Health, GE, General Motors, Georgia Pacific, Hewlett-Packard, International Paper, INVISTA, JB Hunt, Lockheed Martin, Lucent Technologies, Sam’s Club, Southwestern Energy, Texas Instruments, Tyson, UPS and Walmart. Graduates choosing to further their education elsewhere have attended UC - Berkley, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Penn State and Virginia Tech among others.