Industrial Engineering Streams

The world is constantly changing, so we have designed a degree that changes with you. In the first two years of study, you will learn the fundamental principles of engineering and core industrial engineering concepts. During third and fourth year, students select one of four areas of academic focus, called streams. These streams provide depth in a wide range of fields within Industrial Engineering (IE) and will allow you to hone your skills in your area of interest. The four streams provided are listed below.

Industrial Engineers improve productivity and efficiency by studying and improving the actual physical work environment. Human factors engineering is the study of people as workers and as managers, both from the physiological and psychological points of view. The study of human physiology, particularly the nervous system, leads to fascinating discoveries concerning reaction to stimuli, sensory perception, human performance at operator tasks, and people’s ability to process information. These principles are applied to the design of human-machine systems, with particular attention to problems of information display, control layout, compensatory controls systems, and the design of work environments. People’s behaviour in work organisations is examined from the point of view of individual and social psychology. These studies lead to important conclusions concerning managerial and leadership styles, organisational goals and incentives, employee relations, and the implementation of planned change.

For example, a mechanical engineer may design a new car, and a human factors engineer would be responsible for the design of the interior: control layout, seating, vision, reachability, usability in unusual circumstances, etc. A nuclear engineer will design a nuclear generator, and a human factors engineer will design the control system displays to minimise the probability of human error.

Information Engineering specialization of the Industrial (Systems) Engineering program creates professionals that address the challenge of successfully applying information technology to help people and organizations innovate and become more efficient.

Our graduates have outstanding employment opportunities in numerous private and public organizations as well as in the global consulting firms that service them. There is current and future demand for professionals that combine expertise in process design and management, business analysis, project management, systems integration, and a fusion of industry knowledge and information technology skills.

Information engineering provides exciting and diverse career opportunities that encompass the development and evolution of information systems. Our graduates address the following challenging issues:

  • how to provide doctors and nurses with timely access to electronic patient data wherever is needed
  • how to design information systems that run the business of online stores such as music download sites and bookstores
  • how to reduce large volumes of data into information that is useful to the decision-making processes of government officials
  • how to take advantage of information technology to plan, coordinate and support disaster recovery and relief efforts

Operations research and management science involve the mathematical modelling of real systems and processes with a view to being able to predict and optimally control their performance. For example, we can use statistics to determine how much inventory should be carried in a warehouse to minimise expected costs of carrying the stock and of shortages. We use queueing theory to analyse the waiting time of people or jobs waiting for service in banks, emergency rooms and production facilities. We use linear algebra (called linear programming) to determine the optimal product mix to maximise profit subject to capacity constraints on resources, or the optimal allocation of service facilities (like fire stations) to minimize the expected service time. Areas include scheduling, reliability, maintenance, forecasting, queueing, value analysis and decision making under uncertainty.

Operations Research came into its own during the Second World War, when it became apparent that many problems of scheduling and deployment of resources, which had previously been managed intuitively, could be quantitatively modelled and solved analytically. Since the war, operations research techniques and models have been applied in an ever-increasing variety of industries, from finance to healthcare to government. The modern manager can no longer rely on seat-of-the-pants judgement, but must take a scientific approach to decision making. Much of today’s industrial engineering activity is the application of management science in support of decision making at all levels of any organisation.