Graduate Student Handbook

M.S. in Industrial Engineering 

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in industrial engineering at Penn State is intended for those students who hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics and are interested in broadening their educational credentials and improving their marketability in the global workplace. The program tracks also serve as a gateway for those students interested in pursuing the Ph.D. degree at Penn State or elsewhere.

The program includes a broad range of research areas such as Human Factors/Ergonomics Engineering, Manufacturing, Operations Research, and Quality Engineering or some combination of these. A dual-M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research is also available and appears on the students' diplomas. Students should consult with their advisers regarding courses to be taken for the dual-degree. All applications for the dual-degree must be submitted to the appropriate authorities, at least one semester before the semester of graduation. 

M.S. - Non-thesis Track

M.S. - Thesis Track

Registration Requirements

All M.S. students must be continuously registered for at least 1 credit during fall and spring semesters until graduation, even after completing all credit requirements for the degree. This is a college and department requirement. There are no other departmental or university minimum registration requirements, except for international students. Please contact the Graduate School at 814-865-1795 for international student requirements.

GPA Requirement

A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for graduation with the M.S. degree.


A student who plans to graduate in a given semester must file his/her intent to graduate in LionPATH at the beginning of the semester. Students who fail to do this will not be able to graduate in that semester. The final version of master’s thesis should be delivered to thesis adviser sufficiently in advance of the deadline for the delivery to the Graduate School and the department. The student must obtain the signatures of the adviser, reader, and the department head or the graduate program coordinator and submit the final electronic copy of the thesis to the Graduate School with the completed M.S. Thesis Approval Page with all the signatures by the specified deadline in order to graduate in a semester.

Students seeking the M.S. degree with non-thesis track must submit their papers to the department at least four weeks before the end of their terminal semester.

If a student cannot meet the Graduate School and department deadlines for submitting the thesis, he/she can still complete other requirements for the degree and request for a letter from the Graduate School certifying that all other requirements for the degree have been satisfied. The letter will also indicate when the degree will be awarded after all Graduate School and department requirements are completed.

Transferring Academic Credits

In some cases, a student may be able to transfer credits from Penn State or other institutions. Please note that:

  • “Pass” grades cannot be transferred in general, unless the institution can substantiate that this is equivalent to at least a “B” grade.
  • Three credits from institutions with academic quarters are counted as two semester credits at Penn State.
  • Credits earned to complete a previous master’s degree cannot be used for a second master’s degree at Penn State. Instead, they can only be applied towards Ph.D. requirements. However, if a master’s degree was not completed at another institution, then some of those credits may transfer to a master’s degree at Penn State.
  • The department Graduate Program Coordinator must approve all credit transfers. The course syllabus, copy of its catalog description, and the transcript are required to transfer the credits of that course. In some cases, additional information may be required.
  • The credits earned in any course that substantially duplicates a Penn State industrial engineering (IE)-required undergraduate course cannot be transferred.
  • The transferred academic work must be of at least “B” quality.
  • The credits must have been earned within the previous five years. 
    • Penn State Non-Degree Graduate Credits to IE Degree Graduate Credits (15 credits maximum)
    • Approved Penn State Undergraduate Credits to IE Degree Graduate Credits (6 credits maximum; needs undergraduate program adviser verification that credits were not required for B.S. degree)
    • External Institution Graduate Credits, which were not used for any prior graduate degree, to IE Degree Graduate Credit (10 credits maximum), for the M.S. degree

Curricular Practical Training (International Students)

Students who have been in F-1 status for at least one academic year are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which is temporary employment in their field of study for purposes of gaining practical experience. Students are eligible for an additional year of CPT at each higher degree level (i.e. bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral).

There are also several types of Optional Practical Training (OPT) including:

  • Post-Completion OPT is the most common type of OPT; It begins after the completion of a student’s degree program.
  • Pre-Completion OPT is for work opportunities during the degree program for which CPT is not an option. This can include summer (as long as the student will return for fall semester) or during the academic year.

International students are referred to Penn State’s Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) for complete guidelines.



Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

We are Innovators. We are Makers. We are Excellence in Engineering. We are Penn State IME.

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

310 Leonhard Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-7601

FAX: 814-863-4745