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College of Engineering

Industrial Engineering

Educational Objectives

The industrial engineering program is designed to achieve the following detailed objectives that are consistent with the mission of Purdue University and the College of Engineering:

  • Graduates should be prepared to take the lead in recognizing engineering problems in their organizations and designing solutions. Prominent in this area are skills in developing (possibly several) useful analytical formulations to gain insights into ill-structured problems and characterize the best solution obtainable within the limits of the available time, data and economic resources. However, developing an elegant solution is not sufficient; the engineer also should have a clear idea of issues related to the implementability of the proposed solution, make modifications required for acceptance of a proposal and be capable of guiding a project through the implementation process.
  • Graduates should be capable of identifying the best contemporary tools for the problem, applying them and interpreting their results to gain insight into industrial engineering problems and propose effective solutions. Graduates should be sufficiently well-trained in basic science and engineering to be able to read technical literature and become familiar with different tools that are available (computer software and modeling approaches/formalisms such as mathematical programming, simulation, etc.) to the point that they can identify when each tool is appropriate to use with a clear understanding of underlying assumptions and limitations; collect and analyze the data required for the selected approach, including understanding of the effects of missing and inaccurate data, and where appropriate, conducting experiments; interpret the results of the analysis in the context of the problem at hand; and use the analysis as an effective base for assessing the implementability of the proposed solution.
  • Graduates should be capable of operating effectively in today's dynamic, heterogeneous organizations. The accelerating rate of technological change is leading to organizations becoming global, culturally diverse and increasingly dynamic and goal-oriented in organizational structure. Often the basic organizational unit is the cross-functional team deployed to achieve a specific, tactical objective in a short period of time. This increasing lack of permanence in organization places new stresses on engineers' ability to rapidly achieve an effective level of professional collaboration with people of diverse skill sets and cultural backgrounds. Performance in this environment requires the ability to communicate effectively with technical and non-technical people at very different levels of the organization, the ability to rapidly establish working relationships and become familiar with new application domains, and the assumption of several different roles with the same people over time — perhaps even at the same time in different contexts. Effective problem definition, task breakdown and delegation are particularly important.
  • Graduates should have the basic skills required to maintain their professional knowledge over the duration of their career. Graduates should be able to take responsibility for their own learning, including identifying weak areas in their background and seeking out resources to remedy them. The ability to do this in a time-effective manner is essential in today's fast-paced engineering organizations. This results in many graduates pursuing a variety of advanced or professional degrees subsequent to their completion of the undergraduate industrial engineering program. Hence, students should graduate with a solid base of skills and knowledge upon which these further studies can build. Examples are knowledge of computer skills for problem solving, and basic literacy in science and engineering.
  • Graduates should be prepared to contribute as ethical and responsible members of society. Engineering graduates should be as well prepared as any other citizensto contribute as members of society. Still, the increasing importance of technology to our economic well-being and its pervasive presence in all aspects of our daily lives places a special burden on the engineering community to be cognizant of the social impacts of their actions. Furthermore, engineering practitioners are increasingly being called upon to address problems with broad social and ethical consequences. Students should be familiar with these issues and be prepared to address them with integrity and empathy for all stockholders involved.