Notes Regarding Emphasis Areas
This page is meant to address frequently asked questions and other concerns that may arise when considering an emphasis area.
Since IE's can be employed in nearly every industry there are many potential areas where an IE can specialize. Many students seeking an IE degree have a certain career goal in mind and wish to gain extra skills that would make them more marketable to that industry. On the other hand, a student may be open to any industry, but want to make the best use of their elective courses to engage a potential or particular topic of interest more deeply. The emphasis area documents were developed by the IE department to facilitate the selection of courses to satisfy a student's desire for extra knowledge/coursework in a particular area of interest; i.e., a coherent curriculum plan, as discussed in the General Education Elective and Technical Elective program manuals. The areas developed so far are those that students' have commonly expressed an interest in knowing more about, and how courses at Purdue translate to those areas. New emphasis areas are also being considered, and the documents developed thus far will undergo continual maintenance and refinement based on changing Purdue course offerings and/or real-world information.
Emphasis areas are not minors or specializations. These things have special meaning at Purdue related to your permanent record. For instance, an emphasis area will not appear on your transcript, and you won't have a specific program to follow (e.g., specific number of classes to complete) to "earn" an emphasis area. The emphasis area documents are simply advising documents. You are free to take any subset of courses within an emphasis area as you see fit. The benefit will be that you have extra skills in a particular area that you can (hopefully) use in your career.
Since an emphasis area is not a minor or specialization you will want to be careful representing yourself to potential employers when seeking employment. It is ok to emphasize that you have gained extra skills useful in a particular area, but saying you "specialized" in, for example, financial engineering would not be appropriate. If you have any concerns about how you are representing this on a resume or in a cover letter, you should consult with Dr. Brunese.