University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Why choose industrial and systems engineering
at UW-Madison?


What is industrial and systems engineering? »

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Making a difference

At the University of Wisconsin, there is something called the Wisconsin Idea — which is the principle that education should influence and improve people’s lives beyond the university classroom. The Wisconsin Idea is one of the things that attracts the world class faculty and students to the University of Wisconsin. In our department of ISyE, we take the Wisconsin Idea very seriously. Our undergraduate and graduate programs, both ranked in the top 10, are focused on helping you to tackle some of society’s most significant problems.


As an undergraduate you will have a chance to work on real problems for real companies. That is one of the things ISyE at Wisconsin is most known for — real world experiences for our undergraduates. In some cases you might help a hospital redesign emergency department workflows to make sure the sickest patients get treated quicker. In other cases you might help a small manufacturing company worried about its bottom line redesign its processes to do more with less. In all cases you will tangibly improve the lives of your client and their customers.


As a graduate student, you benefit from world class faculty, doing world class research, with world research centers and facilities. We are recognized for our strength and leadership in Operations Research, Manufacturing, Health Systems Engineering, and Human Factors and Ergonomics and have the honor of being the #1 ranked ISyE department in terms of research funding. Our faculty are funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institute for Standards and Technology, National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Veterans Health Administration, Commonwealth Fund, California Healthcare Foundation, and many industry sources.


World class faculty, research, and research facilities

The ISyE faculty at Wisconsin are at the tops of their fields and respected nationally and internationally. Within our faculty are Fellows of the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, International Ergonomics Association, IEEE, IIE, and more here. Members of our faculty have also provided high level national service through committees and advisory boards for the Institute of Medicine, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Quality Forum, American Medical Association committees, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and US Department of Health and Human Services. You will find patented technology developed by our faculty in all Apple and Windows computing systems and one of our research centers has funding directly through the federal budget.


ISyE faculty at Wisconsin are leading the way in research in many different areas, including:


  • Quick response manufacturing
  • Aviation human factors
  • Driving safety and driving performance
  • Personal health record design
  • Emergency response logistics
  • Medical error reduction
  • Design of personal health records and other health information technology


Please visit our research and faculty web pages for details and more information.


Excellence in teaching

Our ISyE department at Wisconsin has a history of strong commitment to teaching. Our courses are taught by faculty who are experts in the course material. Some of our faculty have earned teaching awards from our students, the College of Engineering and the University. We are also one of the few ISyE departments who have had faculty selected to attend the National Academy of Engineering’s “Frontiers of Engineering Education” Symposium. We continuously seek to improve our curriculum to meet the needs of our students and the employers who recruit them. We have an advisory board of distinguished alumni who help us to shape our program.


It is also important to understand how students benefit from our significant research enterprise matter to you. The research we do demonstrates that the ISyE faculty at Wisconsin are leading the way to breakthroughs and new ideas — many of which will find their way into your classroom. ISyE faculty research excellence also means that many faculty are sought after by the federal government, and local, and national companies to help solve pressing problems. Those experiences directly benefit you, the student, because it means you get to learn about important national initiative and important business concerns as part of your classroom experiences.