Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. is pursued by outstanding students like you who have an intense interest in independent study and research. It consists of advanced coursework beyond the master’s degree:

Note: Students pursuing a Ph.D. are given first priority for assistantship awards.

Matriculation into the Ph.D. Program

If you are an MS student who wishes to continue on for your Ph.D., you should notify your MS advisory committee. You should also contact our Director of Graduate Programs requesting a review of your file for admission. Usually, this request should be made shortly after your oral examination for the MS degree. Letters from your MS advisory committee members are an essential part of the decision process. You should provide them at the time you request a departmental review.

If you’re a student with a non-thesis masters, you may apply to be admitted directly into the doctoral program.

You may apply to the Direct Path from BS to Ph.D. if you’re an undergraduate student with:

  • Superior credentials
  • Clearly defined career and research goals

This allows you to bypass the MS degree.

Degree Progression to Ph.D.


Basic Requirements

  • You must have completed coursework equivalent to that required for the MS degree
  • You must take and pass with a grade of B or better, one course each from the four areas of concentration (ergonomics, manufacturing, production and systems analysis and optimization). If you have a previous ISE degree – either from NC State or another institution – this requirement may be waived with approval from the Director of Graduate Programs
  • You must sit for and pass the Ph.D. qualifying exam
  • These first three requirements must be met prior to scheduling the Preliminary Oral Examination
  • Want to minor in statistics? Guidelines for Minors in Statistics

Credit Hour Requirements

  • The degree requires a minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit hours
    • Minimum 18 hours of letter-grade courses beyond the MS, up to six of which can be non-ISE courses
    • If a minor is declared, minimum 21 hours of letter-grade courses, nine of which fulfill the minor requirement from other departments
  • New Ph.D. students starting from Fall 2016 are required to take a minimum of two 700-level courses
  • Complete a Plan of Graduate Work (POGW) in MyPack Portal by the end of your first semester, see Graduate Student SIS Manual
  • You are encouraged to include “readings” and project courses (ISE 837 and ISE 839) for credit in your plans. This will be considered as preparation for required written examinations and the dissertation proposal.
  • At least six (6) hours of graduate credit should be listed on the POGW for doctoral level research and/or dissertation research (ISE 893 and ISE 895).

Exam Structure

Prequalifying Phase

Prior to passing the Qualifying Exam

  • Informally create your Ph.D. advisory committee
  • Draft your Plan of Graduate Work

Precandidacy Phase

After passing the Qualifying Exam and prior to passing the Preliminary Oral Exam

  • Formalize your Ph.D. advisory committee
  • File your Plan of Graduate Work with the Graduate School
  • Write your dissertation proposal

Candidacy Phase

After passing the Preliminary Oral Exam

  • Complete your dissertation
  • Submission paper(s) to a professional, refereed journal
  • Defend your dissertation


Notification of Graduate School

  • Use the Request for Approval Form to get approval for your Preliminary and Final Oral Examinations from the Graduate School
  • Important! You and your committee chair must arrange your examination time to accommodate the Graduate School Representative before asking the Graduate School to schedule the examination
  • You should schedule your examination at a time when the Graduate School Representative and your regular committee members are available because Graduate School policy does not permit an examination to start with one or more committee members absent
  • Remember to reconfirm the schedule with all concerned faculty members the day before the exam
  • When you schedule your final oral examination, you must provide a half-page abstract of the research, in the approved format, to the Graduate Secretary

Download the ISE Ph.D. Checklist (PDF 31.8Kb)
Got Questions? Please contact our Graduate Services Coordinator | | 919.515.6410.