Industrial Engineering

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy


There are two on-campus programs for advanced degrees in industrial engineering. Students can enroll in either the Master of Science (M.S.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs, which are briefly introduced below.

For a detailed description about the M.S. and Ph.D. programs, as well as the application process, financial assistance, and graduate student life at Clemson, please review the Graduate Handbook.

M.S. Degree

Students pursuing the M.S. in Industrial Engineering must select between the non-thesis and thesis options. These options are designed to provide each student with a strong foundation across the breadth of industrial engineering and sufficient flexibility so that the degree is tailored to his or her background and career objectives.

The non-thesis option is an excellent choice for most students and recommended for all students who enter the program without an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering. The non-thesis option provides a solid background for students seeking industrial employment after graduation as well as those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. following the M.S. degree. The thesis option is preferred by students with interests in research or who are actively working on research projects.

Our M.S. degree program is self-pay. Only in exceptional circumstances would a student be eligible to receive financial assistance during their first semester. Occasionally, at the beginning of the semester, there will be opportunities within the department for assistantships. This typically occurs after the student has demonstrated their ability to succeed, as well as having shown a desire to conduct research. In addition, you may find opportunities on campus for employment. However, there is typically no guarantee of financial assistance.

Ph.D. Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy is the highest academic degree offered. It is primarily for students interested in a career of research, teaching, or high-level technical work in academia, industry, or government. Therefore, the Ph.D. program emphasizes scientific and analytical foundations as well as concepts useful for practice at the highest professional levels. Work leading to this degree has the objective of developing competence in original research and teaching. In addition to formal course work, a Ph.D. student devotes time to independent study, participation in seminars, and preparation of a dissertation based on independent and original research. The basis for granting the Ph.D. includes:

  • A grasp of the subject matter contained in the broad field of industrial engineering as displayed in coursework and on the qualifying exam.
  • Competency to plan and conduct independent and original research that contributes to knowledge in a focused area of industrial engineering as evidenced through the dissertation. 
  • The ability to adequately and professionally communicate in oral and written English language as demonstrated in all activities related to pursuit of the degree.

Research and teaching assistantship offers are extended after the student has been admitted to the program. The department strives to fund all of its non-sponsored Ph.D. students through teaching or research assistantships, however it is not always possible to do so.

Orientation and Guidelines for the M.S. and Ph.D. Degree Programs

All incoming M.S. and Ph.D. students should review the orientation materials that are posted on the Orientation webpage. These presentations will be available year-round for your convenience.

Contact Information

If you have additional questions about either the M.S. or Ph.D. programs, please contact:

Kevin M. Taaffe, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Industrial Engineering
130-A Freeman Hall
Clemson University
Clemson, SC  29634-0920
864-656-0291 (office)


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Industrial Engineering Department, College of Engineering and Science
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