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Industrial and Management Systems Engineering

Graduate Programs: Ph.D. Program Requirements

The Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a program of graduate study leading to the doctoral degree in Industrial Engineering through a unified Ph.D. program governed by the College of Engineering Graduate Engineering Board. The following guidelines for Ph.D. admission and degree requirements in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering are intended to supplement the general rules of the current University of Nebraska-Lincoln Graduate College Bulletin.


Grade Point

Admission with full standing requires a grade point average (GPA) for all previous graduate work of at least a 3.50 point (on a 4.00 scale). Applicants with a GPA below a 3.50 or with deficiencies may be granted admission on a provisional basis.

Graduate Record Examination

The General Graduate Record Examination is required for all applicants. A score of 700 or higher is recommened.

Academic History Criterion

Admission with full standing requires either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Industrial Engineering, Manufacturing Systems Engineering, or a related field. At the discretion of the graduate committee, any applicant without a degree in engineering may be required to complete a Master of Science in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering or Manufacturing Systems Engineering before he/she is admitted to the doctoral program.

Although a master’s degree is not required for admission to the doctoral program, possessing a master’s degree reduces the amount of course work and the amount of time required to attain the Ph.D. Also, it may provide valuable experience in completing a graduate level research project.


The following subjects in the areas of mathematics and statistics and engineering science will be required of all applicants:

Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

  • Analytical Geometry and Calculus III
  • Differential Equations
  • Probability and Statistics (Calculus-based)
  • At least one programming language (e.g. FORTRAN, BASIC, C, or Pascal)

Engineering Science (minimum of 3 subjects)

  • Statics
  • Dynamics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Measurements
  • Strength of Materials
  • Electrical Engineering

No Pass/Fail coursework may be used in the Ph.D. program or to satisfy prerequisite requirements.

Doctoral Program Requirements


For a student who transfers to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a master’s degree from another institution, or who takes a break in his/her graduate work at UNL between the time the master’s degree is awarded and the time he/she starts to work on a doctoral program, the residency requirement is 27 hours of graduate work in a consecutive 18-month period or less. (Consult the latest edition of the Graduate Studies Bulletin for more information.)

Program of Study

The minimum amount of graduate credit is 90 semester hours, including a dissertation. Not fewer than 45 semester hours must be completed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The student must complete at least one-half of the graduate work, including the dissertation, in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering. The language and research tool requirement of the UNL Graduate Studies must be met. The program of study must be approved by the supervisory committee.

Mathematics and Statistics Qualifying Requirement

A Ph.D. student in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering must demonstrate competency in three courses focused on mathematics and statistics. Students are encouraged to complete the three courses as soon as possible and are required to follow all Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy as outlined in the Graduate School Bulletin. For details on the qualifying requirement, please consult Mathematics and Statistics Requirement for Ph.D. Students.

Supervisory Committee

The student shall select a major after fulfilling the qualifying requirements and before completing 45 hours toward his or her doctoral degree. The student, in consultation with his/her major professor, will form a supervisory committee consisting of at least four graduate faculty fellows. At least two members of the supervisory committee must be from the Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department. The committee membership list will be submitted to the chair of the College Ph.D. committee to be forwarded to the Graduate Dean for official appointment.

Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy

The Comprehensive Examination is required for all Ph.D. students. The candidate must demonstrate competence to pursue Ph.D. level research in the chosen topic area. The Comprehensive Examination is highly specialized in the field of each student's individual research. This examination will cover, among other things, materials presented in advanced level graduate courses related to the field of research. Should a student fail any part of the comprehensive examination, at the discretion of the supervisory committee, the examination may be taken a second time. Based upon the comprehensive examination performance, the student may be required to complete additional courses. When the student has passed the comprehensive examination and course requirements, the supervisory committee will recommend his or her admission to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree to the Graduate College. This must occur at least seven months prior to the final oral examination. Within a year after passing the Qualifying Examination, a dissertation topic/area should be established and a relevant memorandum of courses should be submitted for the approval of the Supervisory Committee. Later, the student must submit a formal written dissertation proposal to the Supervisory Committee. The Supervisory Committee will schedule and administer a Comprehensive Examination in the student's area of specialty.


The dissertation should treat a subject from Industrial, Management Systems, and/or Manufacturing Engineering approved by the supervisory committee. It should include theoretical development and analysis, show the evidence of technical mastery of Industrial Engineering, and advance or modify former knowledge (i.e., it should treat new material, find new results, draw new conclusions, or interpret previous material in a new light).

Final Examination

The Dissertation Defense is conducted after the draft dissertation has been approved by the readers of the Supervisory Committee. An oral examination will be administered by the Supervisory Committee, and, preferably, a non-voting external receiver.

Summary: Steps to completing the Ph.D. degree

  • Admission to Ph.D. Program
  • Qualifying Requirement (complete 3 mathematic and statistic courses)
  • Selection of Thesis Adviser
  • Formation of Supervisory Committee
  • Program of Study
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Application for Advanced Degree
  • Submission of Dissertation to Supervisory Committee
  • Final Examination
  • Final Approval and Submission of Dissertation

Graduate Chair
Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
P.O. Box 880518
Lincoln, NE 68588-0518
Phone: 402-472-3495
Fax: 402-472-1384

Applications are NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED for the following programs:

  • B.S. in Industrial Engineering
  • M.S. in Industrial Engineering
  • M.S. in Manufacturing
  • Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering

Graduate students interested in the IMSE area can pursue the university's online Master in Engineering (M.Eng.) degree program.