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Industrial & Operations Engineering (IOE)

in·dus·tri·al and op·er·a·tions en·gi·neer·ing

The highly creative and collaborative study of the optimization of systems comprised of humans, machines, and processes, emphasizing critical thinking, global citizenship, and the pursuit of the common good.

A man climbs up an automated ladder while researchers work on computers in the background


  • No. 3

    Ranked Program in US News & World Report

  • 30+

    faculty with expertise in business, health, energy, mobility, and many other sectors of the economy

  • 9000+

    alumni spanning the globe

Gain skills at the intersection of analytics, business, and engineering.

Graduates are recruited to top companies in all major sectors of the economy.

students in job shop scheduling simulation

What do Industrial and Operations Engineers do?

We seek to describe, predict, and optimize the performance of complex societal systems. We use analytics, data science and human systems integration to have a positive societal impact for the common good.  We are highly multi-disciplinary and find career opportunities in a wide range of pursuits including engineering, business consulting, management, entrepreneurship, and more.


  • Computing and Analytics

    Learn the concepts needed to create decision support systems using advanced analytic techniques that transform raw data to information to aid engineers, managers, and executives in making decisions.

    Courses: Data Processing, Decision Analysis, Queueing Systems, Simulation, Productivity Analysis, & Performance Measurement

  • Human Systems Integration

    Understand the human factor- how our bodies and our minds impact our efficiency and our ability to work- and use this knowledge to design safe and efficient workplaces and organizations.

    Courses: Human Error & Complex System Failures, Automotive Human Factors, Human Motor Behavior & Engineering Systems, Occupational Biomechanics

  • Management Engineering

    Understand how people act as individuals and in groups and use this knowledge to maximize the efficiency of organizations. You will learn how to apply administration, group dynamics, and human motivation to managerial problems critical for success in today’s workplace.

    Courses: Corporate Finance, Occupational Safety Management, Supply Chain Management

  • Manufacturing and Service System Engineering

    Learn how to use principles of industrial and operations engineering to maximize profits, minimize costs, and improve health and human safety in a wide variety of manufacturing and service system contexts including emergency response, energy, finance, healthcare, mobility, supply chain, and transportation systems.

    Courses: Lean Manufacturing & Services, Production & Inventory Control, Facility Planning, Measurement & Design of Work

  • Operations Research

    Learn advanced methods for describing, predicting, and optimization system performance leveraging techniques from math, statistics, and computation to build data-driven models fundamental to all economic sectors.

    Courses: Optimization, Stochastic Processes, Operations Engineering

  • Quality Engineering

    Prepare yourself to cope with the uncertainty in the design of engineering systems. Apply design techniques and reliability analysis to design quality control systems that are resilient to sources of uncertainty such as weather events, market uncertainty, and emergencies.

    Courses: Quality Engineering Principles and Analysis, Statistical Quality Control

  • Areas in which a student, through the use of technical and free electives and in consultation with their advisor, could decide to focus.

Areas in which a student, through the use of technical and free electives and in consultation with their advisor, could decide to focus.

Graduate receiving hood during ceremony

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies Program (SUGS)

Complete your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years with SUGS by taking some graduate-level classes during your undergraduate years, so you can save yourself one semester and complete the masters with only two additional semesters.


Sample Course List



  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core Calculus I (Math 115)
    • CoE Core Engineering 100
    • CoE Core Chemistry (125/126 and 130 or 210 and 211)
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core Calculus II (Math 116)
    • CoE Core Engineering 101
    • CoE Core Physics (140 and 141)
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core Linear Algebra (Math 214)
    • CoE Core Physics (240 and 241)
    • Major Requirement Industrial, Operations Modeling (IOE 201)
    • Major Requirement Operations Modeling (IOE 202)
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core Calculus III (Math 215)
    • Major Requirement Engr Probability and Statistics (IOE 265)
    • Major Requirement Ergonomics (IOE 333)
    • Major Requirement Ergonomics Lab (IOE 334)
    • Major Requirement Non-IOE Engineering Course

Junior Year

Junior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • Major Requirement Optimal Methods (IOE 310)
    • Major Requirement Markov Processes (IOE 316)
    • Major Requirement Linear Statistical Models (IOE 366)
    • Major Requirement Technical Elective
    • Major Requirement Non-IOE Engineering Course
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement Data Processing (IOE 373)
    • Major Requirement Technical Communication in IOE (TC 380)
    • Major Requirement Technical Elective
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth

Senior Year

Senior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • Major Requirement Simulation (IOE 474)
    • Major Requirement Technical Elective
    • Major Requirement Technical Elective
    • Elective General Elective
    • Elective General Elective
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement Senior Design Course (IOE 424 or IOE 481 or IOE 499)
    • Major Requirement Technical Elective
    • Major Requirement Non-IOE Engineering Course
    • Elective General Elective

Individualized schedules will be made by students in consultation with an advisor who will tailor their classes to better fit the student's needs.

Practice Your Purpose

Apply the skills you are learning in class to the real world.

Student Design Teams

A student races an all-terrain baja car with enormous wheels on a dirt track with mountains in the background.
Michigan Baja Racing
3 students in scuba gear float next to a submarine in the water while a man on a platform above them gives instructions
U-M Human Powered Submarine
A maize and blue model airplane with a large block M takes off from the runway
M-Heal members gather around the rock painted with the M-Heal emblem.
M-HEAL - Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives
Concrete Canoe Logo
MCCT - Michigan Concrete Canoe Team
An electric racecar labeled with a large “Michigan” with a student driver wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet
Michigan Electric Racing
Members of Hyperloop pose for a photo in the North Campus Grove
Michigan Hyperloop
4 students wearing MRover shirts smile while carrying the rover, a machine platform with 4 tires and a robotic arm.
MRover - Michigan Mars Rover
A student with a facial welding shield stands behind a metal sheet smiling and giving a thumbs up.
MPEDD - Michigan Process Equipment Design & Demonstration
MVFT - Michigan Vertical Flight Technology
A sleek black student-driven racecar with maize accents and a large number 9 turns around the track
MRacing Formula SAE
Project Music Logo
Project Music
SFL Logo
S3FL - Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory
A large group of members of “Society of Women Engineers” pose for a picture in front of a wall-sized map of Minneapolis.
Society of Women Engineers
2 team members wipe the completed maize and blue solar car. The car has a sleek design and half covered in solar panels.
Solar Car Team
A student in a full-face motorcycle helmet sits nearly horizontally as he rides the maize electric motorcycle named “Chronos”
SPARK - Electric Racing
A student wears a powered exoskeleton. It is worn like a backpack and has metal pieces that extend down to the feet.
STARX - Strength Augmenting Robotic eXoskeletons
A student adjusts wires on a platform covered with circuitboards and wires on the inside of the team’s high-efficiency car.
A small vessel made up of two boxes sits in the NERS Fountain. The bottom box has a painted shark face
UM::Autonomy - Autonomous Boat

Professional Development

APM members stand together and smile for a picture which ice skating at Yost Ice arena
Alpha Pi Mu - Honors Society
Students in HFES wearing business professional clothing smile and gather for a picture with an award certificate
Human Factors & Ergonomics Society
A sphere broken up into squares in various shades of blue
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
A female team member of INFORMS gives a presentation in a conference room to a group of students.
Institute for Operations Research & Management Sciences
Student Leadership Board Logo
Student Leadership Board in IOE


Students wearing caps and gowns smile and pose for a picture
Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety

Alumni Biographies

Each of these alumni are real people who were once in your shoes, deciding a major. Explore their path and how a Michigan education set their life in motion.

  • Alex Riley headshot
    • Alex Riley
    • Timeline Technologies, Merit Hall, Detroit Training Center
  • James Melvin headshot
    • James Melvin
    • The Connable Office, Inc.
  • Kimberly Poniatowicz headshot
    • Kimberly Poniatowicz
    • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Kelsey Blake headshot
    • Kelsey Blake
    • United Airlines
  • Jeffrey yang headshot
    • Jeffrey Yang
    • Light Heart Company
  • Malika Chatlapalli headshot
    • Malika Chatlapalli
    • Google
  • Ryan Chen headshot
    • Ryan Chen
    • Orlando Magic
Alex Riley headshot

    Alex Riley

    Timeline Technologies, Merit Hall, Detroit Training Center

James Melvin headshot

    James Melvin

    The Connable Office, Inc.

Kimberly Poniatowicz headshot

    Kimberly Poniatowicz

    Walt Disney World Resort

Kelsey Blake headshot

    Kelsey Blake

    United Airlines

Jeffrey yang headshot

    Jeffrey Yang

    Light Heart Company

Malika Chatlapalli headshot

    Malika Chatlapalli


Ryan Chen headshot

    Ryan Chen

    Orlando Magic

Not sure what major to choose?

Tap into our network of 85k+ engineering alumni. Do you have questions you’d like answered? Our alumni are always eager to talk about engineering.
(Current and admitted UM students only.)

Speak to an Alum
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Industries & Occupations

  • Aerospace industry
  • Analytics
  • Automation
  • Automobile industry
  • Business consulting
  • Corporate or nonprofit management
  • Data Science
  • Finance
  • Healthcare operations
  • Industrial methods
  • Law
  • Manufacturing
  • Medical supply manufacturing
  • Medicine
  • Public administration/government
  • Quality control
  • Safety and ergonomics
  • Scientific research
  • Semiconductor/electronics industry
  • Telecommunications industry
  • Transportation
A professor looks up while sitting in her office with full bookshelves and two computer monitors


  • Accenture
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Bauer Controls
  • Delta Air Lines, Inc.
  • Detroit Lions
  • Ernst & Young
  • FedEx
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Goldman-Sachs
  • Google
  • Llamasoft
  • Manhattan Associates, Inc.
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Oshkosh Corporation
  • Tesla Motors
  • The MITRE Corporation
  • United States Postal Service


Alex Riley headshot

Alex Riley

  • Timeline Technologies, Merit Hall, Detroit Training Center
  • Founder

University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2011
University of Michigan, BS Mathematical Economics, 2011
Career Summary

I entered U of M in the Fall of 2006 as a Computer Science major in LSA. My Sophomore year I transferred into the College of Engineering to pursue Chemical Engineering. After a few weeks I could tell I was going to be a terrible chemical engineer, so I switched to Industrial & Operations Engineering in 2008. In 2009 I enrolled back in LSA to pursue a Joint Degree in Mathematics and IOE. As you can imagine, my transcript was a mess: MATH 451 (arguably the most difficult class in Mathematics) satisfied my Calc 1 requirement; MATH 417 satisfied my Math 217; GREATBOOKS 191 satisfied my ENG 100. ENG 101 was satisfied by EECS183. In hindsight, the fact that I became an Entrepreneur makes total sense.

During my last semester at U of M (Winter 2011) I co-founded my first company – MeritHall Staffing – as a result of difficulties staffing construction projects in my PM role at a local contractor. In 2012 I co-founded my second company – Detroit Training Center. In 2015 I co-founded a facilities maintenance company which I sold in 2018. I am launching my fourth company – Timeline Technologies – in 2019.

  • In 2015, MeritHall was recognized as the 165th Fastest Growing Privately held companies in America (#1 in Michigan).
  • In 2016 MeritHall was recognized at the ICIC 100 with the annual Chevron Dorothy A. Terrell Community Impact Award which highlights companies that have a significant impact on their communities through quality job creation and civic engagement.
  • Alex was included in INC’s “30 Under 30” list in 2018
  • Awarded the Michigan “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2015
  • Selected as a member of Crain’s “20 in their 20s” in 2013
  • Alex’s companies have been featured in INC, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Crain’s Detroit Business, and various other publications.
Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

As a founder, I’ve learned that you need 3 things to start a company: an identified opportunity, alignment of resources, and focused leadership. My professional journey has developed my skills in all three of those areas. U of M taught me to relentlessly pursue my passions in order to uncover opportunity, identify resources, and provide leadership.

Operations Research Track of IOE is amazing.

Favorite classes: IOE 310, IOE 510, and IOE 612

Advice to Students

Your major doesn’t define your path. College is for making connections, learning how to learn, and learning how to stay curious.

James Melvin headshot

James Melvin

  • The Connable Office, Inc.
  • President

University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 1986
University of Michigan, MBA Ross School of Business, 1990
University of Michigan, JD Law School, 1990
Career Summary

During my undergraduate studies I had a part time summer job in pharmaceutical manufacturing which really helped me better understand my engineering studies. After my graduate studies, I practiced law for two years focusing on corporate law, which helped round out my education. I found a job where I could use my engineering, business, and law degrees. I advise families that own or have own private businesses on money management estate planning while also advising the companies which they own.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

My engineering degree is used daily. I use it in investment advising using my knowledge of statistics and decision analysis. I use my computer engineer skills in managing the day to day business operations and software. My IOE skills help develop quality control programs, as I operate in a highly regulated industry.

Advice to Students

Engineering provides the basic skills to succeed in just about any business environment. I believe it is important to during school to focus on developing life skills and obtaining as many different life experiences as possible to enhance the technical skills that you will bring to the table.

Being able to relate and communicate with people from all backgrounds is extremely important. I have found travel, well abroad or in the USA is vital and helps you connect with people. The more life experiences you have the better!

Kimberly Poniatowicz headshot

Kimberly Poniatowicz

  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Senior Industrial Engineer

University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2012
Indiana University, MBA, 2020
Career Summary

When I started full-time with Disney, I first worked on a labor strategy team, ensuring that we have the right number of Cast Members, in the right place, at the right time, to meet our guests’ needs every day. I worked on labor strategy efforts with teams in California at Disneyland and with partners at the Shanghai Disneyland Resort. Working on projects with partners in different time zones and different countries was a great chance to build my communication skills.

In my current role as an Industrial Engineer at Walt Disney World, I work as an internal consultant to support analytical and process improvement projects for the parks and resorts, always striving to deliver a seamless and high-quality guest experience. I work with our Merchandise and Entertainment operations in our parks and am currently supporting opening plans for merchandise stores and experiences in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which will open in August 2019.

I am also currently working on my MBA by taking online classes. We regularly provide recommendations to leaders within the company based on analytics, but understanding other business concepts they might have to consider when making decisions makes me a better partner, and better able to understand implications of our recommendations.

Career Timeline
  • General Motors
  • Eli Lilly
  • Walt Disney World
What excites you about your career?

It is an exciting environment to work in because there is always something new to learn and always new challenges that need industrial engineering skillsets.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

I use skills every day that I learned from my IOE classes, especially statistics, optimization, simulation, and data processing. We apply engineering skills to projects, and work collaboratively with partners across the organization to inform business decisions.

Favorite Student Org

I was a member of the Michigan Marching Band, and really enjoyed my time performing at football games. It also offered me leadership experience that I have been able to draw on in my career.

Advice to Students

Seek out internships and professional work experience while you are a student. An internship is a great way to gain experience, and to make you a better candidate for a full-time position upon graduation. But it is also a great way to learn what type of work you like to do, what type of company you might want to work for, and what roles might be a good fit for you after graduation.
While in college I had a chance to work with several different companies on internships – General Motors, Eli Lilly, and Walt Disney World. These internships were a great way to see how my coursework applied to real work environments. Each internship also allowed me to explore a different type of work: manufacturing at GM, distribution warehousing at Eli Lilly, and a service-driven environment at Disney.

Kelsey Blake headshot

Kelsey Blake

  • United Airlines
  • Senior Strategy Analyst

University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2015
Career Summary

During undergrad, I interned at four different organizations in a variety of different roles. I found that I liked process improvement and helping people to solve the problems they faced in their everyday work. After graduation, I joined United Airlines’ Industrial Engineering consulting team and worked there for a few years before transitioning into a strategy role. The operational knowledge I gained in my first full-time role helps me better understand the needs of United’s employees and customers going forward.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

I came to Michigan interested in majoring in Computer Science, but quickly learned that I was not interested in the most theoretical parts of the EECS curriculum. Once I learned what IOE was, I realized that the field was a good fit for my problem solving mindset and varied interests.

Favorite Classes: Human Error and Complex System Failures (IOE 434) and Optimization Methods in Healthcare (IOE 410).

Favorite Student Org: the engineering sorority, Phi Sigma Rho.

I loved football Saturdays. Go Blue!

Jeffrey yang headshot

Jeffrey Yang

  • Light Heart Company
  • Business Owner

University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2003
Career Summary

My first job out of college was working in Wisconsin for an automotive supplier as an industrial engineer, where I implemented Lean Manufacturing principles on the factory floor to reduce scrap and improve production. I then moved on to an IT company in Shanghai, China as a business consultant performing project implementation, which consisted of helping clients to utilize application software to improve operation efficiency. Later I began working for an American international enterprise in Shanghai, China, where I once again implemented Lean Production principles at the factory and did a lot of cross communication work between the United States and China offices. I finally decided to start a footwear development business with my wife and moved to Guangzhou, China because most of the customers were located there. Currently the company has around 60 employees, and I worked with factories to produce over 6 million pairs of footwear last year, mainly for the China domestic market.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Whatever job I worked on, the education at U of M helped me to think analytically, whether looking at financial reports, improving product quality, or increasing production quotas.

I think back to my U of M engineering exams where they were mostly story problems, and we could use our small index card of formulas to crack open the problems. Solving problems in the real world is kind of like that. We need to assemble tools, whether it is assembling an actual team of people, learning new methods alone, or other ways to crack open old problems and solve new problems in order to progress forward.

Advice to Students

Along with having a personal belief and physically exercising, it is very important to do non-fiction book reading to increase time efficiency. Running a business requires constant learning not just from personal experience, but learning about the experiences and principles of others.

I recommend reading books written by Inamori Kazuo, a retired Japanese CEO. Lots of business people in China like him and the principles shared has also helped my company operations a lot because the principles are inclusive of different belief backgrounds.

Malika Chatlapalli headshot

Malika Chatlapalli

  • Google
  • User Experience Designer

University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2012
Career Summary

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2012, I started working in technology consulting at IBM. Through a rotational program I was able to learn about a variety of roles and industries early on in my career, and this helped me eventually find user experience (UX) design as my passion. I completed a UX bootcamp a few years later and officially started my design career at United Airlines,, and now Google.

Career Timeline
  • Google | New York, NY
  • | New York, NY
  • United Airlines | Chicago, IL
  • IBM | Chicago, IL
Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Although I didn’t learn about color theory or information architecture during my time at Michigan, skills like process optimization and ergonomics that I did learn through Industrial and Operations Engineering help me everyday with my design work. The exposure I received to other engineering disciplines like computer science and mechanical engineering allow me to collaborate with others and understand design in a whole new way.

Favorite Classes

IOE 481 (senior design project) taught me how my classroom education could be applied to the real world, and how I could use my knowledge to help others – in this case, nurses in the U of M hospital system.
Greek Mythology was a fun yet challenging course that took me out of the engineering mindset and allowed me to learn about a personal interest. It’s always good to change things up!

Ryan Chen headshot

Ryan Chen

  • Orlando Magic
  • Basketball Data Scientist

University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2014
University of Michigan, BM Music Performance- Euphonium, 2014
Stanford University, MS Management Science & Engineering, 2017
Career Summary

After I left Michigan, I began exploring sports analytics specifically through the Stanford Sports Analytics Club. As my involvement in projects with the club deepened, I gained the tools and experience that put me in a position to pursue jobs with sports teams, ultimately leading me to the position I currently hold with the Orlando Magic.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Choosing between careers in music and engineering was the toughest decision I had to make while at Michigan. Much of my decision to ultimately choose to go to graduate school in engineering was guided by my experiences as a research assistant for Profs. Amy Cohn and Mark Daskin in IOE and the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety, where I gained not only the tools to conduct research, but also a broader familiarity with the world of academia.

Favorite Student Orgs

I credit much of my growth while at Michigan to the student organizations. Tau Beta Pi is where I learned the most about leadership, managing large groups of people and organizational structures, and managing my own responsibilities/time within a complex network of coursework, research work, and personal/organizational responsibilities while managing a similar profile of commitments in music school.

Advice to Students

I think joining student organizations whose purposes are interesting/fulfilling to you is the best way to feel a sense of place and purpose within a university that can easily feel overwhelming. The friends you make can become both your support system and professional network, while the work of the organization itself can invigorate you for your studies and maybe even propel you into a field outside your studies. As I alluded to above, I think joining student organizations is a fantastic avenue to learn management and leadership skills that will stay with you forever. To top it all off, student organizations enrich the fabric of campus life – I think you’ll find your experience at Michigan will benefit greatly from getting involved around campus.

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