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25 Best Industrial Engineering Schools 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

These are the 25 best institutions offering industrial engineering degrees based on alumni earnings and median debt. Topping the list is Northwestern University, with a median salary of $76,400 for industrial engineering majors in their first year after graduation, followed closely by the program at University of Southern California. Graduates of Northwestern University also enjoy less student debt than graduates of the other top three institutions, making it a desirable option for aspiring industrial engineers.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Evanston (IL) Evanston (IL) $54,568 $14,000 $76,400
#2 #2 Los Angeles (CA) Los Angeles (CA) $56,225 $20,800 $73,600
#3 #3 Atlanta (GA) Atlanta (GA) $33,020 $23,500 $73,500
#4 #4 Ann Arbor (MI) Ann Arbor (MI) $49,350 $18,698 $73,000
#5 #5 Champaign (IL) Champaign (IL) $31,664 $27,000 $72,600
#6 #6 Troy (NY) Troy (NY) $53,880 $25,255 $72,200
#7 #7 Columbus (OH) Columbus (OH) $30,742 $24,250 $70,700
#8 #8 Houston (TX) Houston (TX) $21,273 $13,536 $70,600
#9 #9 Bethlehem (PA) Bethlehem (PA) $52,930 $25,000 $70,300
#10 #10 Madison (WI) Madison (WI) $36,805 $21,500 $69,700
#11 #11 Flint (MI) Flint (MI) $43,490 Not Reported $69,300
#12 #12 San Luis Obispo (CA) San Luis Obispo (CA) $21,696 $18,463 $69,100
#13 #13 West Lafayette (IN) West Lafayette (IN) $28,794 $23,337 $68,900
#14 #14 Raleigh (NC) Raleigh (NC) $28,444 $22,950 $68,500
#15 #15 Fayetteville (AR) Fayetteville (AR) $25,168 $24,000 $68,300
#16 #16 Rochester (NY) Rochester (NY) $42,345 $28,500 $68,300
#17 #17 Blacksburg (VA) Blacksburg (VA) $31,908 $27,000 $67,700
#18 #18 Pittsburgh (PA) Pittsburgh (PA) $32,052 $27,000 $67,300
#19 #19 State College (PA) State College (PA) $34,858 $27,000 $67,200
#20 #20 Mississippi State (MS) Mississippi State (MS) $23,250 $26,185 $67,000
#21 #21 Minneapolis (MN) Minneapolis (MN) $30,438 $20,341 $66,900
#22 #22 Iowa City (IA) Iowa City (IA) $31,233 $26,260 $66,500
#23 #23 Norman (OK) Norman (OK) $26,919 $22,028 $66,400
#24 #24 Corvallis (OR) Corvallis (OR) $30,141 $24,500 $65,900
#25 #25 Columbia (MO) Columbia (MO) $27,042 $26,327 $65,600

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

#1
Evanston (IL)
Median Salary $76,400
Median Debt $14,000
Annual Tuition $54,568
Graduation Rate 95%

Established in 1851, Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar. A Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering is offered at the institution’s McCormick School of Engineering (Evanston), where students hone their analytic skills and gain a better understanding of business. The core areas of study include probability and statistics, operations research, applied behavioral science, engineering economy, computer programming, and data management. The degree can be customized by choosing one of six concentrations: economics and finance, general business management, industrial behavioral sciences, mathematical sciences/graduate research, production and logistics, or statistics and quality control.

A total of 48 courses are required in the program; students take four courses per quarter — 12 per year — for four years. The major program is composed of 16 courses, including seven electives, and begins in the sophomore year. A two-quarter capstone project is required in the senior year. Students meet quarterly with an advisor to plan their courses, assess their progress, and discuss career planning.

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#2
Los Angeles (CA)
Median Salary $73,600
Median Debt $20,800
Annual Tuition $56,225
Graduation Rate 92%

Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is the oldest private research university in the state. The institution offers a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Over the course of the program, students develop the ability to work with integrated systems in the design, development, and implementation stages, as well as improve systems already in place.

A total of 128 credits are required to complete the degree, and students must have a cumulative 2.0 or higher GPA for all upper-division courses applied toward the major to graduate. Linear algebra and three calculus courses are included in the pre-major requirement. Required courses in the major include probability concepts in engineering, statistics, project management, operations research, database systems, and human factors in work design. Students take 23-24 elective credits, and at least 12 must come from work in a focus group; students can choose to work in either an operations group or an information systems group. Graduates of the program are ready to seek employment, pursue a graduate degree, or take on a leadership role at their place of employment or in the community.

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#3
Median Salary $73,500
Median Debt $23,500
Annual Tuition $33,020
Graduation Rate 87%

Established in 1885, Georgia Tech was founded as part of an effort to develop an industrial economy in the post-Civil War South. The university now includes six colleges with additional campuses in France, Ireland, China, and Singapore. Georgia Tech’s Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering blends mathematics, business, and physical sciences to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of industrial engineering. They can choose from seven concentrations that focus on areas like statistics, operations research, data science, economic and financial systems, and supply chain engineering. Additionally, students can opt for the university’s Co-op Plan, which focuses on education, employability, and earning potential, or the International Plan, which prepares students to work abroad or with international companies. The latter includes 26 weeks of international experience and requires proficiency in a foreign language. The BS program can be completed in three to six years. Depending on the concentration, 125 or 128 credits are needed for the degree.

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#4
Median Salary $73,000
Median Debt $18,698
Annual Tuition $49,350
Graduation Rate 92%

The University of Michigan is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state. Founded in 1817 in Detroit, it is now located in Ann Arbor. The school’s Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Operation Engineering combines engineering with analytics and business, and the program teaches students how to describe, predict, and improve how complex societal systems operate. It focuses on six major areas of study: computing and analytics, human systems integrations, management engineering, manufacturing and service system engineering, operations research, and quality engineering. Individual courses cover subjects such as calculus, chemistry, physics, algebra, probability and statistics, data processing, and linear statistical models.

A total of 128 credits are required to complete the degree, which follows a four-year, eight-semester schedule. Students also have the option of taking some graduate-level courses during the undergraduate program — two additional semesters for a minimum of 152 credits — so they can earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years.

Visit the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor's website.

Median Salary $72,600
Median Debt $27,000
Annual Tuition $31,664
Graduation Rate 84%

Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign is made up of 16 schools and colleges and offers more than 250 degree programs. The university’s Grainger College of Engineering offers a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering that teaches students how to design, develop, optimize, and manage complex integrated systems and their components. The flexible program allows students to choose an area of specialization in one of six track options: economics and finance, human factors/ergonomics, industrial engineering fundamentals, operations research, quality engineering, or supply chain, manufacturing, & logistics.

It is a four-year, eight-semester program, and 128 credits are required for the degree. First-year courses cover basic math, chemistry, and physics. In the second year, students study basic engineering and take courses on statistics, solid mechanics, and data analysis. Students begin their area of specialization in the third year. Senior-year students take technical elective courses and complete a capstone project in which three or four students, together with a faculty advisor, work to solve a real-world problem submitted by an outside company. The final results are presented in writing to the company, and many companies have implemented the students’ recommendations.

Visit the University of Illinois Urbana — Champaign's website.