Typical Time Sequence

The time required to complete a Ph.D. varies, depending on whether the student enters with a B.S. or an M.S. and many other factors. The following shows a typical sequence, including the M.S. For the purpose of illustration, it is assumed that a student has a half-time assistantship and takes 9-11 credits per semester.

  • Year 1: Begin graduate study
  • Year 2: Complete M.S. Degree Qualifying Examination and English Proficiency Examination; form Ph.D. committee by the end of the year
  • Year 3: Comprehensive Examination dissertation proposal
  • Year 4: Final defense completed

This time sequence should be reduced by approximately one year for students beginning the Ph.D. program with an M.S. In effect, these students start at the beginning of the second year. It is very important for these students to identify an area of interest and adviser soon after beginning the program.

Typical course work cannot be specified without making more assumptions. The most influential of these is the area of specialization of the student. The recommendations of the student’s committee also affect the courses he/she takes.

Contact Information:

  • Graduate Programs Office
    344 Leonhard Building
    University Park, PA 16802



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