Graduate Programs

Graduate Project

Objectives of Graduate Project Work

A student who chooses the non-thesis option of the program leading to the degree of Master of Science with a major in industrial and systems engineering must complete three hours of project work under ISYE 699B, Graduate Project, with a grade of satisfactory.

The purpose of the graduate project is to train the graduate student, under a faculty adviser, to conduct independent study aimed to solve a real engineering or management system problem with the application of industrial and systems engineering principles, concepts and techniques.

The responsibility for identifying the problem, formulating it, collecting data, choosing the appropriate model and technique, solving the problem, reporting it and presenting it is that of the student. The role of the adviser is to suggest ideas, guide, motivate and support the student. Emphasis in conducting a graduate project is placed on the application of industrial and systems engineering concepts and techniques to the solution of contemporary real world problems.

Typical Project Objectives

  • Design a system that meets given functional, physical, environmental, performance and cost requirements; for example, a manufacturing cell for the production of specified parts, in given quantities, at predefined quality levels.
  • Evaluate alternative proposals for the design of a system; for example, alternative plant layouts for a manufacturing line.
  • Evaluate the impact of proposed changes in an existing system; for example, investigate the effect on a manufacturing system of converting from production to stock to just-in-time production.
  • Create a tool for the analysis, planning or control of system operation; for example, a software for scheduling jobs on machines.

Components of a project report

  • A clear statement of the objectives of the project and its scope.
  • A description of the system investigated and the background of the problem addressed, and a formal statement of the problem.
  • A survey of the literature related to the type of problem addressed.
  • A description of the procedure followed in solving the problem.
  • Explanation of the data collection procedure. If experimentation is called for, the following elements must be clearly explained: design of experiments, analysis of results, and interpretation. Complete description of experimental conditions and accurate recording and reporting of observations is of prime importance.
  • Conclusions and recommendations
  • References
  • Any appendices or exhibits. Lengthy tables or attachments may be best included in an appendix to not interrupt the flow of presentation in the text.

Characteristics of a good project

  • It addresses a meaningful and significant real world problem, the solution of which requires the tools and techniques of industrial and systems engineering learned at the graduate level.
  • It follows a rigorous, systematic procedure with verifiable documentation. Originality in applying industrial and systems engineering concepts and techniques is an added merit.
  • It presents sound conclusions and realistic recommendations that can be applied in practice.

Project Work Guidelines

  • A Student must select a graduate project adviser as soon as possible and decide on a problem area for the project. The student must also register for the appropriate number of credit hours for the graduate project, ISYE 699B, in the semester(s) during which work on the project is in progress.
  • The student must identify, with the help of the adviser, an appropriate problem for the project. The problem may be one that exists in a manufacturing, service, government or any kind of organization. After gathering some initial data, the student must submit a brief pre-proposal to the adviser which contains a tentative problem definition, the objectives of the project, and the anticipated benefits.
  • Upon agreement with the adviser about the project idea the student must collect further data and submit a formal proposal to the adviser which contains the objectives and scope of the project, the approach and procedure to be followed with a time table of the activities involved, anticipated deliverables, and estimated costs and benefits to the organization.
  • After the project adviser has approved the proposal, the student must form a project committee consisting of the project adviser and at least two other faculty members with expertise related to the project topic. A majority of the committee members should be from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. The project proposal along with the cover sheet containing the approval of the committee members must be submitted to the department. The fully approved proposal will stand as an official contract between the student and the project committee, and will help the student avoid having to make drastic changes after the project has been completed. If a need arises for a major change in project direction, the student must prepare a new proposal to be subject to the same process of approval.
  • While working on the project, the student must regularly schedule appointments with the project adviser and report the progress of the project. If the student encounters any major hurdles while working on the project, he/she must discuss the possible remedies to overcome the hurdles with the adviser. Any changes made to the previously approved proposal must be amended and approved by the adviser.
  • After completing work on the project, the student must submit to the adviser a final report which contains the components listed above.
  • After securing the adviser’s approval of the report, the student must schedule a public presentation of the project in the presence of the project committee. To graduate in a particular semester, the student must schedule this presentation no later than the week preceding the final examination week. The course grade, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, depends on the quality of the report and presentation.
  • The student must submit one copy of the final project report to the adviser and one to the department office.