FAQs for Graduate Students

1. What are the criteria for admission to ISE?

The admissions committee for Industrial and Systems Engineering reviews GRE general test scores, performance at previous institutions/universities, at least three letters of recommendations, a personal statement, and resume. Information on where to submit official transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation can be found at: http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/apply/before-you-apply

2. Do I need an industrial and systems engineering degree to enter the graduate program?

Some of our students do not have an ISE degree when they enter our program. These students are encouraged to take prerequisite courses in areas they lack. Mostly these courses include Probabilistic Models in Operations Research (Linear Optimization), Engineering Economics, and Probability.

3. What are acceptance rates?

The acceptance rates vary significantly from year-to-year for PhD students, depending on available funds. In the past, entering students average to about five to eight PhDs and 12-20 MS students per fall term.

4. Can you assess my chances of being accepted?

The ISE graduate program does not offer pre-screening of applicants prior to the application process. The average GPA and GRE scores of our students are provided below. To begin the formal application procedure, please visit Rutgers Graduate Admissions.

5. What are the average academic credentials for entering students?

PhD: GPA 3.5, GRE 150(V), 162(Q), 3.2(A)
MS: GPA 3.3, GRE 148(V), 162(Q), 3.5(A)

6. Who awards the graduate degrees in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering?

The PhD and MS graduate degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering are awarded by Rutgers University, through the Graduate School of New Brunswick.

7. How long will it take to complete a master’s degree?

There are two types of master’s students in ISE: M.S. with thesis and M.S. non-thesis. Both tracks should finish their master’s degree in two to three years.

8. Can I enter the program part-time?

Please contact the graduate program if you seek to pursue a part-time PhD degree. We can help evaluate your prerequisites and help position your curriculum and research plans to give you maximum flex-time. The program also encourages part-time applicants from energy, telecommunications, etc. in industry. In order to support the work schedules of such applicants, the ISE program has almost all graduate classes scheduled in the evenings. This should allow most part-time PhD students to register for one or two courses per semester while taking a half-day off from work. This program should witness an expansion in the years to come.

9. How long will it take to complete a PhD degree?

Students should complete their PhD degrees in four years with a max of seven years.

10. Can I enter the PhD program directly without completing a master’s?

Yes, students must keep in mind that the entrance criteria into the PhD program are more stringent than that of the MS program.

It is important to note that Rutgers ISE was recently evaluated by the NRC (National Research Council) which puts our graduate program in the top 25% ISE programs nationally. ISE at Rutgers has grown in strength tremendously since the last evaluation in 2010.

11. How do graduate students obtain support for their graduate studies?

The department currently supports about 30 graduate students with fellowships, teaching assistantships, and graduate research assistantships. The support includes a stipend of approximately $20,000 plus tuition. Other students receive partial support or are paid hourly to participate in research projects.

When the admissions committee accepts a student, he or she is notified by letter and is placed on the list of students eligible for financial support. In March, offers for fellowships are sent out. Financial support is highly competitive. The typical recipient has qualifications that far exceed the minimum admission requirements. In particular, the recipients show clear evidence of research potential, for example, detailed recommendations from a research advisor or a prize in recognition of excellent research. Fellowships, teaching assistantships, and or graduate research assistantships are provided to deserving Ph.D. students for a limited time only not exceeding four years, except in rare cases five years.

12. Is there funding available for master’s students?

Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rutgers does not currently offer financial support for MS students. Financial support must be initiated from the student.

13. How do students find thesis/dissertation advisors?

Identifying a research advisor is one of the most critical responsibilities of a student who intends to get involved in research. The first step is to find out the research areas of the faculty. A brief description appears in this handbook. You are encouraged to make appointments with faculty members and ask them about their research. If a seminar, article, or course particularly interests you, speak to faculty in that area of research. The selection is generally made, at the latest, by the beginning of the second academic year.

14. How do students qualify for PhD dissertation status?

PhD students must take 15 courses. The next step is the Qualifying Examination.

The comprehensive exam tests students on their knowledge of the four core courses in Industrial and Systems Engineering, i.e,:

540:510    Deterministic Models in Industrial Engineering

540:515    Stochastic Models in Industrial Engineering

540:560    Production Analysis

540:585    Systems Reliability Engineering I

15. What percentage of students pass the Qualifier Exam?

In the past three years, >75% of students have passed the written qualifiers on their initial attempt. If a student fails one or more sections of the exam, the graduate committee may recommend that the student repeat those sections. If a student fails several sections and shows a serious lack of comprehension, the graduate committee may recommend that a student withdraw from the program. Students may only repeat a section one time. No exceptions.

16. Where do PhD graduates go after completing their studies?

To date, about 74% of our graduates have taken industrial positions, 14% have taken academic positions, 7% are in government, and 5% are self-employed in their own start-up firms.

17. What are the advantages of Rutgers ISE over other institutions?

Location, location, location! New Jersey puts you in the center of more high technology than anywhere in the world. A second advantage is our industrious and talented faculty.

18. What is the composition of the graduate student body?

The student body averages 100 students with the following breakdown:

38% PhD students
63% MS students

Nearly 25% Female
Over 25% US citizens/Permanent Residents
More than 3% Underrepresented Minorities

Here is a sample of where our students have come from:

US: SUNY, Rutgers, Brookdale, Texas-El Paso, The College of NJ, NJIT, Cornell, Rochester IT, Penn State, Texas A&M, Ramapo, Arizona State, Drexel, Stevens IT, Purdue, St. Louis, Delaware, California-Berkeley, Florida IT, Georgia IT, Mass-Amherst

Foreign: China PR, KAIST, Iran Science, Sharif, Hanyang, Amirkabir, Bogazici, Nagpur, Anna, Pune, Fudan, Shanghai, Mumbai, Birla, Beijing, Azad, Middle East, Peking, Nankai, Tehran, Brazil, Bilkent, Tabriz, Harbin, Saudi Arabia, Bombay, Amrita, Harbin, South Korea, Jilin, Netherlands, Osmania, Visveswaraiah, Gugarat, Taiwan