Director, Master’s Programs: Esra Agca Aktunc
The Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department at Rensselaer began in 1987 with the name Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems. The name was changed in 2009 but the goal of developing and deploying mathematical, statistical, and computational models to better understand and support engineering, managerial, operational, and physical processes continues. The integration of disciplinary perspectives yields a well-rounded professional with graduates placed in leading positions in their field. Our graduates work in diverse areas, including service systems engineering, adaptive supply chains, intelligent transportation, homeland security and industrial logistics.
The ISE department continues its high ranking in many national publications, including US News and World Report, and is situated within one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the country. ISE faculty are actively involved in leading edge research with funding from government sources including the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and state and federal Departments of Transportation.
The Master’s in Industrial and Management Engineering
ISE offers the Master of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in Industrial and Management Engineering. Both degrees require a minimum of 30 credit hours. The Master of Science degree requires a thesis. The Master of Engineering degree is a non-thesis option. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional for both master's programs. Both masters are not restricted to applicants with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering. Applicants with a strong quantitative undergraduate degree or with a quantitative master’s degree desiring a change in career path are encouraged to apply.
What preparation is desired?
Applicants with strong quantitative foundation bachelor degrees are considered favorably for admission. This foundation includes a sequence of calculus based mathematics courses. Applicants are better prepared for graduate study if courses in the bachelors include courses in probability, statistics, linear algebra, and mathematical optimization. Applicants who have also completed courses in operations management find that topics in graduate courses are grasped quicker.
How long and how many courses?
The master’s degree in IME can be completed in one academic year spanning 10 months starting in late August with a finish by graduation in May of the following year. This requires students to complete 9 to 10 courses in two semesters. For students who wish to complete a thesis or project as part of the master’s the completion time is a usually 12 months which includes study in the summer but often takes 3 academic year semesters at Rensselaer in Troy, NY.
How many students?
The master’s degree has approximately 10 graduates every year for the one year program of 30 credit hours typically completed through courses and projects. About 80 percent of the master’s students are Rensselaer undergraduates who stay an extra year and earn a master’s. The IME master’s degree does not have university based student financial aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships. Students are responsible for the full cost of the tuition, fees and living expenses.
What are the deadlines?
Rensselaer has a rolling admissions process so admission decisions are made often once a complete application is received. All admissions are done through the portal at http://admissions.rpi.edu/graduate/. The deadlines posted on this page are recommended and are generally followed but applications completed within 30 days of these deadlines are reviewed for admission. International students will require extra time for processing at both Rensselaer and with the US Immigration agency.
What is required for favorable admission consideration?
The desired minimum grade point average (GPA) using a 4 point scale is 3.5 but an applicant with outstanding credentials in other areas of academic performance with GPAs above 3.2 is considered for admission. The GPA is confirmed through review of transcript(s) (English translation transcripts required from non US colleges). Application processing is speeded up if the transcript shows grade equivalence to the letter grades of A though F or on a document from the university. For international applicants where the native language is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate degree in an US college or university, the TOEFL is required. The desired minimum TOEFL is 90.
Over 110 application for master’s degree graduate study in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department are received annually. The admission rate is around 15%.
What courses are taken for the masters?
The master’s degree is focused on the needs and interests of the student with the requirement that a sequence of courses form an application focus. The courses selected with the advice of an academic advisor are formalized on a Plan of Study which acts like a contract for the master’s degree. On completion of the listed courses the degree is awarded.
To complete the Master’s degree requirements, students must include a minimum of 24 credits from the list of approved Industrial and Management Engineering courses for the master’s program. The courses selected may include the two required prerequisite courses listed below but must simultaneously define an adviser-approved, application-focused concentration area, (e.g., manufacturing logistics, optimization, complex systems modeling, etc.). A minimum of 50% of credit hours in the plan of study must be at the 6000 level or higher.
Prerequisite requirements for the master’s programs include the following courses or their equivalents:
- ISYE 4140 - Statistical Analysis
- ISYE 6610 - Systems Modeling in Decision Sciences
The following courses may be included among the 24 credits of electives:
- ISYE 4200 - Design and Analysis of Work Systems
- ISYE 4230 - Quality Control
- ISYE 4240 - Engineering Project Management
- ISYE 4250 - Facilities Design and Industrial Logistics
- ISYE 4260 - Human Performance Modeling and Support
- ISYE 4310 - Ethics of Modeling for Industrial and System Engineering
- ISYE 4320 - Theory of Production Scheduling
- ISYE 4810 - Computational Intelligence
- ISYE 4960 - Topics in DSES
- ISYE 4962 - Complex Systems Modeling for Industrial and Systems Engineering
- ISYE 4964 - Ethics of Modeling for Industrial and Systems Engineering
- ISYE 496x - Human Performance Modeling and Support
- ISYE 6010 - Applied Regression Analysis
- ISYE 6020 - Design of Experiments
- ISYE 6100 - Time Series Analysis
- ISYE 6180 - Knowledge Discovery with Data Mining
- ISYE 6190 - Introduction to Big Data Analytics
- ISYE 6210 - Theory of Production Scheduling
- ISYE 6530 - Decision Support and Expert Systems
- ISYE 6600 - Design of Manufacturing System Supply Chains
- ISYE 6620 – Discrete Event Simulation
- ISYE 6760 - Combinatorial Optimization and Integer Programming
- ISYE 6770 - Linear Programming
- ISYE 6780 - Nonlinear Programming
- ISYE 6820 - Queuing Systems and Applications
- ISYE 6870 - Introduction to Neural Networks
- ISYE 6960 - Topics in DSES
What are the prerequisite courses listed in the prior section?
The two courses listed as prerequisites are desired in the undergraduate preparation of master’s applicants. These courses include the following topics:
ISYE 4140 - Statistical Analysis, a course covering topics of probability, statistics, and data analysis requiring application of these methods to data using computer based analysis packages.
ISYE 6610 - Systems Modeling in Decision Sciences, a course in operations research methods covering queueing models, linear programming, mixed integer linear programming, simplex algorithm, Markov models, and formal decision analysis in probabilistic settings.
Both course topics are part of an undergraduate degree in industrial and management engineering and are the foundation starting point for most graduate courses in the IME curriculum. For applicants who do not have an undergraduate preparation in these topics the courses become part of the master’s degree at Rensselaer raising the credit requirements for the masters to 33/4 or to 36/7 from the baseline 30 credit minimum. This often requires three semesters to complete the degree from the nominal 2 semesters of the degree.
What is the cost?
The projected full cost of tuition, fees including health insurance/fee, books, housing, and meals for 2018-19 is 74,500 US dollars for the academic year late August through May of the following year. Aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships is reserved for Industrial and Systems Engineering doctoral students only so no such aid is available to master’s degree students. Work opportunities for masters students are very limited on campus and should not be assumed when planning your attendance.
Where do I start?
The application process is completed through the Graduate Admissions site located at http://admissions.rpi.edu/graduate/