Master's Thesis Program Overview 

The thesis program provides an opportunity for independent research in a given area of Industrial Engineering. Pursuing the thesis option allows a student to extensively probe a topic of interest under the supervision of a faculty supervisor (research advisor). Generally, pursuing a thesis allows for the development of skills in independent research not available through coursework. The thesis option is generally only available for on-campus students. 

Program Highlights

  • Two-year Program: Students take a combination of advanced technical courses, focusing their study on areas of interest, earning a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering.
  • Career Catalyzation: Most graduates enter careers in diverse fields, often on advanced leadership tracks. 

Why Choose a Master's Thesis Degree in Industrial Engineering?

  • Increased Employment Opportunities: A master’s thesis degree is traditionally for students planning to continue in research or academia. Although this program is research-figured,, this program provides students with the technical skills needed in industry, such as decision making, systems engineering, operations, and oral and written communications.
  • Increased Earning Potential. Our alumni self-report that Purdue Industrial Engineering Master’s graduates earn 15% or more than their peers with a Bachelor’s degree.

Why Choose Purdue?

  • Field Defining Innovation & Research: The School of Industrial Engineering has been defining the field and educating future leaders in industrial engineering for 65 years. The graduate program is ranked in the top 10 and the IE on-line degree program is ranked #1 in the nation. Our researchers perform field-defining research that is regarded worldwide for its impact and quality.
  • Excellence at Scale: As one of the top 10 engineering graduate programs in the nation, Purdue's College of Engineering is one of the largest and strongest programs in the nation with 13 different schools and departments.
  • Affordable Tuition: Tuition for our program is considerably cost effective compared to other programs.
  • Low Cost of Living: The cost of living in the Greater Lafayette-West Lafayette area is one of the lowest in the nation, with housing rent ranging from 23% to 179% less expensive than competing university cities ( 

Curriculum Requirements

Courses selected for the thesis option are intended to provide depth of study in a particular area of interest. The prerequisites to the program assure a minimal amount of knowledge in the general field of industrial engineering. The curriculum is designed such that the student has broad selectivity over their coursework. Selection of courses should be conducted with the faculty member supervising the research project, to ensure courses taken supplement the research project.

Credit Requirements for a Master's Thesis

Have at least 30 total graduate credit hours, which must include:

  • 21 credit hours of course work; at least 12 credit hours must come from IE-listed courses; and,
  • 9 credit hours of master’s thesis research credits (IE 69800).

Additional Requirements for a Master's Thesis

  • Development of a thesis document meeting all requirements of the faculty and Graduate School; and,
  • Successful defense of the thesis through an oral examination to a committee of faculty members;

Plan of Study Requirements for Master's Thesis

Final Examination Guidelines for Master's Thesis

Completion Guidelines for Master's Thesis


Application Requirements

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