2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Industrial Engineering PhD

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College: Engineering and Computer Science Degree: PhD
Department: Industrial Engineering and Management Systems Option: Dissertation
Program Websites: http://www.iems.ucf.edu/
Graduate Program Handbook

Program Description

The Industrial Engineering PhD program prepares students for extensive research and careers in academia, industry and government while providing a broad knowledge of industrial engineering.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering is intended for a student with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Industrial Engineering or a closely related discipline.

The PhD program is designed to produce highly skilled researchers with both broad knowledge of industrial engineering and in-depth knowledge of specialty fields for careers in academia, industry, and government. The program allows a candidate to thoroughly study some aspect of industrial engineering through faculty expertise in research areas such as management systems, systems simulation and modeling, operations research, quality systems engineering, interactive simulation and training systems, systems engineering, and human systems engineering, human-computer interaction, and ergonomics.

The Industrial Engineering program is structured to support the emergence of Central Florida as a national center of high technology as well as supporting the diverse service industries in the region and throughout the nation.

In the Industrial Engineering PhD program, students may be able to individually craft their programs of study and select their courses to focus in one or more of the following research areas for their dissertations:

Human Systems Engineering/Ergonomics:

As technology has become more sophisticated, the need to design for the human user has become more difficult, yet even more important. Human engineering and ergonomics assist in ensuring that as technology advances, the abilities, limitations, and needs of humans are considered in the system design. This not only supports the needs of the user, it also optimizes the efficiency and usability of the system designed. Traditionally, ergonomics has been associated with biomechanical issues and work measurement and performance issues in physical system design, as well as occupational and industrial safety. The broader focus of human engineering encompasses those issues as well as incorporating the reaction and effectiveness of human interaction with systems, both physical systems and virtual systems such as computer-based models.

Research in the Human Systems Engineering and Ergonomics area provides students with the necessary knowledge in human engineering and ergonomics to effectively design tasks, industrial systems, and work environments that maximize human performance, safety, and overall productivity.

Interactive Simulation and Training Systems:

The Interactive Simulation and Training Systems research within the Industrial Engineering MS program focuses on providing a fundamental understanding of significant topics relative to simulation systems and the requirements, design, development, and use of such systems for knowledge transfer in the technical environment. Courses in this area address the evolving and multiple discipline application of interactive simulation by providing a wealth of electives to support development of individual student interests and talents. In conjunction with UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training, industrial organizations involved in simulation in the Central Florida region, military organizations, and other governmental organizations, ISTS research in the MS program provides exposure to both military and commercial interactive simulation and training systems.

The emphasis is on the application and development of interactive simulation and training systems to meet various requirements including, but not limited to: simulators, skill trainers, organizational learning systems, computer and web-based interactive simulation systems and other novel interactive simulation efforts. Courses in the interactive simulation and training systems area prepare individuals with an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, education, psychology, mathematics or other related disciplines for careers in simulation, focusing particularly on the interactive simulation and training systems industries.

Management Systems/Engineering management:

The Management Systems/Engineering Management research focuses on providing the knowledge for improving organizational systems. Engineering Management focuses on effective decision-making and successful project delivery in engineering and technological organizations. With technological advancements comes a new level of organizational complexity. As a result new knowledge is needed to help the technical organization understand how to improve. The Management Systems/Engineering Management studies and research in the Industrial Engineering program are intended for individuals of all engineering disciplines. Research and coursework focus on a systems view of engineering problems related to the management of complex industrial, military, government, and social systems.

Operations Research:

The Operations Research courses in the Industrial Engineering MS program uses mathematics and computer-based systems to model operational processes and decisions in order to develop and evaluate alternatives that will lead to gains in efficiency and effectiveness. Drawing on probability, statistics, simulation, optimization, and stochastic processes, Operations Research provides many of the analytic tools used by industrial engineers as well as by other analysts to improve processes, decision-making, and management by individuals and organizations. Research in this area is ideal for students who have an undergraduate degree in engineering, mathematics, or science. The knowledge in these courses build on an undergraduate Engineering, Mathematics, or Science degree to develop a strong modeling and analytical capability to improve processes and decision-making.

Quality Systems Engineering:

The Quality Systems Engineering research in the Industrial Engineering MS program focuses on providing the knowledge for improving product and process quality in manufacturing and service industries. Quality Systems Engineering provides both the quantitative tools for measuring quality and the managerial focus and organizational insight required to implement effective continuous improvement programs and incorporate the voice of the customer. The Quality Systems Engineering courses builds on an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering or a closely related discipline to provide the necessary knowledge to plan, control, and improve the product assurance function in government, military, service, or manufacturing organizations.

Simulation Modeling and Analysis:

The Simulation Modeling and Analysis research and studies in the Industrial Engineering MS program focus on providing a fundamental understanding of the functional and technical design requirements for simulation in manufacturing and service industries. Research in this area is based on a systems modeling paradigm and provides coding and development capability in the context of a broader systems framework. Significant exposure to design and analysis aspects is a core element of the track. The Simulation Modeling and Analysis research and coursework prepare individuals with an undergraduate degree in Engineering, Science, Mathematics, or a closely related discipline for careers in simulation, focusing particularly on using simulation as an analysis and design tool for the manufacturing and service industries.

Systems Engineering:

Intelligence is being infused into everyday systems, processes and infrastructure that enable physical goods to be developed, manufactured, bought and sold. These same systems also facilitate the movement and delivery of global products and services that support worldwide markets such as finance, energy resources, and healthcare systems.

With these technological advancements, comes a new level of complexity as organizations struggle to integrate systems, processes and data feeds. As a result, the demand for systems engineering and related skills is expected to grow significantly.

Systems engineers design and implement computer systems, software, and networks, including defining complex system requirements, and determining system specifications, processes and working parameters.

The Systems Engineering studies and research in the Industrial Engineering MS program are intended for individuals of all engineering disciplines. Research and coursework focus on a systems view of engineering problems related to the management of complex industrial, military, government, and social systems.

This program has potential ties to professional licensure or certification in the field. For more information on how this program may prepare you in that regard, please visit https://apq.ucf.edu/files/Licensure-Disclosure-CECS-Industrial-Engineering-PhD-June2020.pdf.


The Industrial Engineering PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. If a student holds a master’s degree, the student must complete at least 27 credit hours of required coursework, in addition to 15 credit hours of dissertation.

Of the total coursework taken, 27 hours must be formal course work exclusive of independent study and 15 credit hours must consist of dissertation research (EIN 7980). All remaining hours are determined with a faculty adviser and approved by the department. Details about this program are located in the Industrial Engineering PhD Handbook.

Total Credit Hours Required: 72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

As a pre-doctoral student at the beginning of the PhD program, a preliminary plan of study must be developed with the graduate program director and meet with departmental approval. At this time transfer credit will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis. The student’s plan of study itemizing the study plan must be approved prior to the end of the first semester of studies by the Graduate Director of the IEMS department.

After completion of the Qualifying Examination and admission as a doctoral student, the official plan of study is developed that must meet with departmental approval. The student’s dissertation committee approves the final plan of study after the Candidacy Examination is passed. These steps are normally completed within the first year of study beyond the master’s degree. The degree must be completed within seven years from the date of admission as a pre-doctoral student and within four years of passing the Candidacy Examination.

The Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems monitors student progress and may dismiss a student if performance standards or academic progress are not maintained. Satisfactory academic performance in a program includes, but is not limited to, maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA in all graduate work taken as part of (or transferred into) the plan of study. Satisfactory performance also involves maintaining the standards of academic progress and professional integrity expected in our discipline. Failure to maintain these standards may result in dismissal from the program.

Required Courses: 6 Credit Hours

Elective Courses: 51 Credit Hours

  • At least seventeen unrestricted electives
  • A maximum of 30 semester credit hours from an earned master’s degree may be applied toward these requirements. Waived credits are evaluated on a course-by-course basis.
  • A maximum of 12 hours of Independent Study and/or Doctoral research is allowed in the Ph.D. program of study.

Dissertation: 15 Credit Hours

  • EIN 7980 Dissertation (15 credits hours minimum)

List of Electives

Students, with the approval of their advisers and/or the graduate program director, may select from the following groups of courses to satisfy the needs of their research goals or career objectives. To assist students in achieving their goals and objectives, courses are grouped below to suggest focus areas, only as guides for advising and course selection. The listing of these courses does not guarantee that they will be offered by the department in a particular year or semester.

In addition to the courses listed below, students may be allowed to take courses from the following disciplines, with the approval of the graduate program director, as an elective in their graduate plan of study.

  • Other Engineering Programs
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Business Administration/Management

Group A: Human System Engineering/Ergonomics


At Qualifying Examination (QE) time students should know their intended direction of research but they do not necessarily know their specific topic/problem. The QE’s objective is to determine whether the student’s knowledge allows for a thorough understanding of methods and techniques discussed in the literature in his/her area(s) of interest.

The IEMS PhD Qualifying Examination is a take-home exam designed to test the student’s knowledge of fundamentals within the discipline and to assess the student’s ability to conduct independent research and to think analytically, creatively, and independently. Exam questions address the student’s global research awareness as well as his/her analytical thinking, research potential, and communication skills. The student must be able to understand the field’s literature, as well as to summarize and discuss research findings.

It is strongly recommended that students take ESI 6891 IEMS Research Methods prior to taking the Qualifying Examination. While thinking about taking the Qualifying Examination, students are strongly encouraged to evaluate their options for research and make informed decisions about their area of research interests. It is recommended that students seek advice from faculty members whose research interests match their own research areas in order for the students to properly select their electives and develop the appropriate plan of study. 

In addition to the Qualifying Examination, the student must pass a Candidacy Examination and a Dissertation Defense Examination. Details about these examinations and other requirements are located in the Industrial Engineering PhD Handbook.

The Candidacy Examination may be taken any time after successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, but not in the same semester. The objective of the Candidacy Examination is to determine if the student has the breadth and depth of knowledge required to conduct independent research in the proposed area. The Candidacy Examination includes an oral presentation of a detailed dissertation proposal, which becomes the oral candidacy document, and the written component of the Candidacy Examination is satisfied by the proposal document, which becomes the required candidacy document.

The Dissertation Defense Examination is an oral examination taken in defense of the written dissertation. The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all dissertation defense announcements are approved by the student’s adviser and posted on the college’s website and on the Events Calendar of the College of Graduate Studies website at least two weeks before the defense date.

Dissertation Committee Requirement

The doctoral committee must consist of a minimum of four members: at least three must be graduate faculty members from within the student’s department, and one must be at large, from graduate faculty scholars outside the Industrial Engineering faculty. The committee chair must be a member of the graduate faculty who is approved to direct dissertations. Faculty members with joint appointments in IEMS may serve as department-faculty committee members. Adjunct faculty and off-campus experts who are graduate faculty scholars may serve as the outside-the-department person on the committee, as well as serve as co-chairs of the committee with the approval of the department Chair. The College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to review appointments to advisory committees, place a representative on any advisory committee, or appoint a co-adviser.

Joint faculty members may serve as committee chairs. Off-campus experts and adjunct faculty who are graduate faculty scholars may not serve as committee chairs, but may serve as co-chairs.

All committee members vote on acceptance or rejection of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation. The dissertation proposal or final dissertation must be approved by the advisory committee with no more than one dissenting vote.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours. Evidence of successful completion of these requirements must be received by the College of Graduate Studies one day prior to the start of classes for the semester in which a student wishes to enroll in dissertation hours.

  • Completion or near completion of course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination, including successful defense of the written dissertation proposal.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved program of study.

Equipment Fee

Students in the Industrial Engineering PhD program pay a $58 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. For part-time students, the equipment fee is $29 per semester.

Independent Learning

The Independent Learning requirement is met by successful completion of the student’s candidacy and dissertation defense examinations.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering or a closely related discipline
  • An official, competitive score on the GRE taken within the last five years
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vita
  • Goal Statement
    • The Goal Statement should discuss all relevant professional background and any previous research experience. The statement should explain the motivation behind the pursuit of a doctoral degree in Industrial Engineering at UCF. Future career goals after the completion of the applicant’s doctoral study should be discussed.
    • Most importantly, the applicant must clearly describe the particular area(s) of research interest. The applicant should identify at least one UCF faculty member who shares a similar research focus and is believed to be best suited to serve as a potential dissertation advisor.
    • The goal statement should between 500 and 1,000 words.
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • The letters of recommendation should be from faculty members, university administrators and employers with a supervisory role of the applicant. The letters, which must be current to the application and must not be for another degree program, should address the educational and career goals of applicant. The letter writers should also know the applicant well enough to discuss the applicant’s capacity to perform, excel and succeed in a graduate program. Letters for PhD applicants must discuss the applicant’s ability to perform graduate-level research. At least two of the letters should be furnished by college or university professors who are acquainted with the applicant

Applications are accepted for the fall and spring terms only.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting an applicant into their research program.

Fellowships and assistantships may be awarded based on the student’s GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae/resume, and goals statement.

Students must complete any needed articulation course work and pass a PhD Qualifying Examination in order to be admitted as a regular doctoral student. This exam is normally taken within the first year after all articulation work is completed.

Application Deadlines

Industrial Engineering PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Jul 1 Dec 1  
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15 Jul 1  
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Mansooreh Mollaghasemi PhD
Associate Professor
Engineering 2, Room 312

Graduate Admissions

Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL 32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241

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