In addition to the core courses required for the PhD qualifying examination, the doctoral student will specialize in one of the department's areas of concentration and take whatever courses may be required in preparation for research and the dissertation topic. These courses are selected in consultation with the student's advisor and his/her dissertation committee.

According to University regulations, the PhD requires at least 72 credits beyond the bachelor's degree or 42 credits beyond the master's degree, including 18 credits for dissertation research. The department requires at least 45 credits of technical coursework beyond the bachelor's degree (i.e., not including credits for research, seminar, English/technical writing, proposal writing workshops, etc.). Course credits typically include the following at a minimum:

    • Qualifying Core Courses(IE 2082, IE 2006IE 2117, IE 2084 (and for manufacturing students, IE 2011): 12-15 credits
    • Other Required Courses ( IE 2100, IE 2088): 6 credits
    • Additional Elective Courses (at least 6 credits of which must come from offerings outside the Industrial Engineering Department): 24-33 credits
    • Dissertation Research (IE 3997 / IE 3999): at least 18 credits, of which at least are from IE 3999.

Some course requirements might be waived for students with appropriate prior coursework (the credit requirements are not reduced however).

This examination allows the department to assess the student's academic preparation and creative ability to conduct doctoral-level research. It is given once a year in late April or early May. The typical student who enrolls in Fall must take this examination after the first two terms in the program. Students who start in Spring have the option of taking the exam at the end of the term or waiting a year until the next May. In order to obtain faculty approval to appear in this examination, a student is expected to have a good academic record (typically, a GPA of at least 3.67 across the required core courses), an eligible departmental faculty advocate, and demonstrated promise for doing independent research.

Currently, the qualifying examination consists of four separate oral exams that each run for 45 minutes to an hour.  These exams cover the core areas of (1) Linear Optimization, (2) Stochastic Processes, (3) Statistics & Data Analysis, and (4) Manufacturing Systems. Each exam is conducted by a committee of two to four faculty members.

The entire faculty then meets and discusses each candidate’s performance along with the recommendations each of the four examination committees to decide on whether the student passes or not.

A student will be admitted to PhD candidacy only after they have passed the qualifying examination. All doctoral candidates are expected to choose the area in which they will write their dissertations and identify an advisor who will guide the dissertation. They are expected to specialize in one of the department's areas of concentration and take whatever additional courses are required to prepare for the PhD comprehensive examination (typically combined wth the proposal examinaton) and the student's dissertation (including advanced courses that are targeted primarily at doctoral students). After sufficient progress has been made in their research, the student, under the guidance of the advisor is expected to appoint a committee consisting of a minimum of four members of the graduate faculty. At least two of them should be from the Industrial Engineering department and at least one of them should be from outside the department.

The purpose of this examination, which is typically taken at the end of the student's third year in the program, is to test the soundness and validity of the candidate's research topic, research plans, and methods that are described by the student in an oral presentation. A copy of the proposal document must be provided to each member of the student's examining committee at least two weeks prior to the date of the proposal exam. Passing this examination provides an affirmation by the committee that the proposed work when completed will lead to a PhD level dissertation.

After the proposed research is completed and the dissertation document is written, the student is required to present his or her work in a presentation that is open to the public and defend the dissertation before the student's examining committee.  A completed copy of the dissertation document must be provided to each member of the student's examining committee at least two weeks prior to the date of the defense.  It is expected that the dissertation will lead to at least two to three papers of publishable quality in respected scientific journals.

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