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Students Participating in Krawler's Edge senior design project

What is Industrial and Systems Engineering

While other types of engineers design things, industrial engineers design the systems that enable those things to work effectively.

Industrial engineers design, install, improve, and control large, complex systems that include the integration of people, materials, machines, and facilities. Applications are wide-ranging and include manufacturing, healthcare, public service, transportation, retailing, finance, construction, entertainment, and logistics.

As companies adopt management philosophies of continuous productivity and quality improvement to survive in the increasingly competitive global market, the need for industrial engineers is growing. The industrial engineering field is also one of the fastest growing professions in the US.

I originally entered UT thinking that I would be focusing on healthcare as an industrial engineer, but I am not so sure what I will focus on anymore. This is the best thing about industrial engineering. There are so many options with what you can do with an ISE degree that I have the ability to pick and choose from any variety of specializations.”

—Emily Diehl, senior

Students working in the Factory Floor Lab

Why Industrial & Systems Engineering

I love the camaraderie of the department. The industrial engineers here know each other well We hang out on the weekends together, and whenever you go into a class you always have someone to sit with because everyone is friends. The group projects that we do in class together help you develop that friendship further.”

—Sara Gamble, senior

Hands-On Student Projects

Our students have the opportunity to make a difference for local businesses by using problem solving skills to make them run more efficiently. As Thomas Kincer, owner of Krawler’s Edge said, “[ISE students] really made a big impact on how we do things. We’ve been able to save a lot of time in our workflow—time that we can use to do what we do best: build.” Check out some of our past senior design projects.

Global Perspective

Studying abroad is one way a student can stand out to an employer. ISE provides two such experiences: Supply Chain Engineering in China and Reliability and Business Excellence in Germany. ISE students receive study-abroad scholarships for these courses. Ultimately, ISE and the college strive to provide students with the opportunity to broaden their perspective, participate in experiential learning, and gain an edge for their future careers. Learn more about some of the study abroad opportunities for engineering students at UT.


Our department is located in a state-of-the-art building, named for alumnus John D. Tickle (IE, ’65), who has excelled in the business world. Our facilities provide exceptional opportunities for both classroom instruction and hands-on student research.

Lab spaces include the Factory Floor Laboratory, the Ideation Laboratory (iLab), the Logistics, Transporation, and Supply Chain Engineering (LTS) Lab and interdisciplinary spaces such as the HITS Lab (with the College of Nursing) and the BEAM Center (with the Haslam Collge of Business, and the UT Space Institute).

Research Opportunities

We strongly emphasize paid, real-world experiences through undergraduate research, co-ops, and internships with ORNL and other industry partners.

Student Organizations

The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers at UT provides students with outside resources regarding their future professional careers. Alpha Pi Mu, IE’s honor society, and WISE (Women in Industrial and Systems Engineering) are two other groups you can join while at UT. Check out our student orgs.

Career Readiness

Students are expected to have a range of skills and experiences when they step forward into their career. We strive to ensure all our students are ready to excel in their chosen career upon graduation.

Not Sure What You Want To Do?

ISE gives you the flexibility to work in virtually all industries. If you like the thought of solving large, difficult, multi-faceted, often multi-disciplinary problems in challenging environments, ISE is a good fit for you. The skills required in this field frequently lead to rapid progression into management and leadership positions. Learn more about who industrial engineers are.

Connect with our Students

Not too long ago our students were in your shoes. They can tell you what it’s like to be an ISE student at UT as you make your decision about college. Email for more information or to get in touch with a student ambassador.

Salary Outlook

Recent ISE graduates have experienced a high job placement rate. Employers include Google, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, AT&T, Shaw, Boeing, FedEx, Denso, Nike, Pratt & Whitney, ExxonMobil, USPS, Disney Cruise Lines, and countless others. The average starting salary for ISE graduates is $65,000 with potential for a signing bonus.