Graduate students use their skills in statistics, analytics, and logistics to solve practical problems for real-world clients.Graduate students use their skills in statistics, analytics, and logistics to solve practical problems for real-world clients.

PhD Program
Prospective Graduate Students

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Our Program

The PhD program in industrial engineering and management sciences offers students the opportunity to use skills in computing, mathematical analysis and modeling, and economic analysis to produce research that helps people improve the efficiency, quality, and potential of their organizations so that those organizations can fulfill their mission.

Although many of our PhD students have a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, the majority do not. The program has attracted students of applied mathematics, computer science, economics, finance, mathematics, physics, statistics, and most engineering disciplines, ranging from automation and control to systems engineering.

Learn more about our curriculum and focus areas

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Our program is consistently regarded among the very best. It has been ranked in the top 5 PhD programs in industrial engineering for a number of years.

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The program aims to produce researchers who combine strength in core methodologies of operations research (e.g., optimization, stochastic modeling and simulation, statistics, and decision analysis) with the ability to apply them to yield practical benefits in solving real-world problems.

Research Specializations

Our current areas of research include:

  • Analytics (minor only)
  • Stochastic Analysis & Simulation
  • Optimization
  • Financial Engineering
  • Logistics & Operations
  • Healthcare Engineering
  • Applied Statistics & Statistical Learning
  • Management Science

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Our faculty members are world-renowned in their areas of research. Many have been honored with awards and fellowships from leading professional societies, including INFORMS, IIE, and ASA. Many hold appointments to the editorial boards of flagship journals in their fields.

Faculty research is supported by grants from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Naval Research, and many industrial corporate sponsors.

Current projects cover a spectrum of theory, computation, and applications, often integrating these aspects within individual studies.


Our faculty members also collaborate with the faculty in other schools within Northwestern. Because of this cross-department collaboration, PhD students can, for example, take courses in finance, marketing, managerial economics, and decision sciences from the Kellogg School of Management, and then write theses that are jointly advised by our faculty members and faculty from these departments.

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PhD graduates in recent years have gone on to academic positions in engineering, business, and applied mathematics at top schools, including:

  • Berkeley
  • Carnegie Mellon
  • Georgia Tech
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Purdue
  • Illinois
  • Penn State
  • Virginia Tech
  • Indiana


PhD graduates have also filled corporate research and development positions, including:

  • Amazon
  • Rand Corporation
  • United Airlines
  • Twitter
  • Goldman Sachs

Learn more about recent alumni placement

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Our close location to Chicago provides PhD students with a multitude of research and internship opportunities, including in the transportation, healthcare, and financial industries, to name a few.