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Students who complete an online master’s in industrial engineering will learn more about the specialized skills necessary for an advanced career in this field. Most of these online programs are only 30 credit hours, which full-time students can complete within two years or, via accelerated programs, in as little as one year.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition for graduate school is $20,513 per year. Once students graduate, they may qualify for a position as an industrial engineer, where they can expect to receive an average salary of $99,380.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

A Master of Science (MS) is the most common graduate degree awarded in industrial engineering. Many online master’s in industrial engineering programs have specialized areas of study for students to choose from. These concentrations typically include manufacturing systems, industrial economics, operations research, production planning, quality engineering and management, and logistics and transportation systems. If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that closely match these career goals.

Research schools and programs

Since many schools offer an online master’s in industrial engineering, prospective students must know how to narrow their choices down.

For starters, you should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in industrial engineering program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). This programmatic accrediting organization has particularly high standards for engineering education.

Students may also wish to rule out schools that are out of their price range to reduce post-graduation debt, and students may decide to eliminate any programs that don’t offer the specific area of study they wish to specialize in.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. Many online master’s in industrial engineering programs require students to submit GRE test scores. It’s essential to review whether the application requires these scores and, if so, what the minimum scores in each section must be. If students have never taken the GRE before, they should know it can take up to three months to study, and it may take up to 15 days to receive their results.

In addition to checking on the GRE requirements, students should review applications and verify which additional paperwork is required for each school, which may include undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

To determine which programs they will apply to, students must consider further criteria to help make their choice(s).

Regarding degrees from similar schools, choosing the more affordable program is acceptable. Students may also apply to programs with impressive job placement rates for graduates. If this information isn’t posted on the school website, an admissions counselor may be able to provide the info. Students may also choose to focus on schools that seem to offer the most support for remote students, as this can ensure they receive the highest-quality education.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Do you want your program to be as online as possible, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a fair amount of in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Students worried about how they will pay for their online master’s in industrial engineering degree should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. After they submit this application, students may qualify for federal student loans, and having it on file can also help students potentially qualify for other forms of aid ranging from grants and scholarships to alternative loans from local banks. For further assistance, students should contact the financial aid office of schools they are interested in to inquire about special aid available through the college or the state. Those who already work in the field should see if their employer offers a tuition assistance benefit as well.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Programs

Best Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Degree Program

Purdue University College of Engineering

Penn State World Campus

Georgia Institute of Technology

Arizona State University

NC State University

Auburn University

University of Missouri

Texas A&M University College of Engineering

Drexel University

George Mason University

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

Virginia Tech Engineering

University of Wisconsin at Madison

George Washington University

Columbia University Engineering

USC Viterbi School of Engineering

University of Central Florida

Clemson University

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Iowa State University

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Texas Tech University

University of Arizona

Louisiana Tech College of Engineering and Science

Oregon State University

Texas A&M University at Kingsville

Mississippi State University

Kansas State University

New Mexico State University

University of Florida

Wright State University

The University of Texas at Arlington

Oklahoma State University

Lawrence Technological University

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How We Rank Schools

All of the programs featured in this guide can be completed online, although some are offered in on-campus/online hybrid formats. You can select the best delivery method for your schedule and learning preferences.

We only included regionally accredited programs, guaranteeing that they meet high standards of quality in higher education. Many of these options are also approved by ABET, which awards programmatic accreditation to engineering and technology programs.

Once we narrowed our list to the top programs, we evaluated them based on faculty, cost, course offerings, flexibility, and reputation. We then gave each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Program?

Students entering an online master’s in industrial engineering program can expect courses that provide advanced instruction in every level of industrial engineering.

They will learn more about the role played by humans and the role played by technology when it comes to engineering tasks, and they will also learn how the integration of man and machine makes modern industrial engineering a reality. Much of the coursework is designed to provide remote students with as much hands-on practice as possible, and these classes foster the creativity needed to develop dynamic problem-solving skills for addressing a wide range of diverse problems.

Typically, students who attend this program full-time can expect to complete all of the required coursework in two years. Students who can only attend part-time will likely complete everything in three years. Should students enroll in an accelerated program, they may be able to complete the coursework in just one year.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in industrial engineering program

  • Human Systems Engineering/Ergonomics. A significant factor in modern design is human comfort, and this course emphasizes the importance of considering the human body when designing future products.
  • Operations Research. The primary goal of this course is to teach students to discover the most efficient and effective design solutions. A combination of mathematics and computer-based systems helps students create different operation models and find optimal solutions through trial and error.
  • Systems Engineering. This course gives students practical instruction on designing and implementing networks, software, and computer systems. Students will also learn more about identifying system requirements and how to customize working parameters, processes, and system specifications for different needs.
  • Interactive Simulation and Training Systems. This course offers extensive instruction in simulation systems, including what those systems require, how to design them, and how to develop them from design to implementation.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering?

Career outlook

The most logical career path for someone with an online master’s in industrial engineering degree may be an industrial engineer, but this isn’t the only option. Students can choose to go into certain specialties, such as health and safety engineering, or work in management-level positions. Here are some potential industrial engineering career paths:

  • Industrial engineer — Design systems to help organizations manufacture products or provide services.
    • Median annual salary: $99,380
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 12%
    • New job openings projected: 22,800 annually
  • Health or safety engineer — Develop procedures and systems to help prevent illness and injury.
    • Median annual salary: $103,690
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 4%
    • New job openings projected: 1,300 annually
  • Architectural or engineering manager — Oversee projects in the fields of architecture and engineering, which may include research and development projects.
    • Median annual salary: $165,370
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 4%
    • New job openings projected: 13,600 annually

Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in industrial engineering degree program?

Students who wish to apply to an online master’s in industrial engineering program may do so by visiting the university website and accessing the online application. That application will specify the different requirements, which typically include submitting a cover letter, undergraduate transcripts, and GRE test scores. The application may also require admissions essays or letters of recommendation.

Students should contact the university’s admissions office to ensure they don’t accidentally leave out any necessary paperwork. An admissions counselor will be able to answer questions and generally verify whether an application is complete.

How much does an online master’s in industrial engineering degree program cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the average cost of graduate school tuition is $20,513 per year. Private schools are usually more expensive than public schools, and public schools tend to charge out-of-state students a higher tuition rate than in-state students.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in industrial engineering degree?

Most online master’s in industrial engineering programs can be completed within two years by students attending full-time. If a student can only attend part-time, completing all the required coursework will likely take about three years. Students in an accelerated program may only need one year to earn their degree. Ultimately, students should choose a program with enough support and schedule flexibility to help them balance their academic studies with any additional responsibilities they may have.

Is an online master’s in industrial engineering worth it?

Graduating with a master’s degree in industrial engineering can help you advance your career and improve your earning potential. This degree prepares students to manage large-scale engineering projects and mentor other team members in leadership positions.

Enrolling in an online master’s in industrial engineering degree program provides access to engaging, in-depth coursework, including classes on human systems engineering, operations research, systems engineering, and simulation and training systems. Students will have the opportunity to complete projects and internships with other students and interact with instructors.

An online graduate program in industrial engineering also prepares students for an increasingly global workforce. You will be well-equipped to work on remote or hybrid teams and liaise with coworkers, researchers, and executives around the world.