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The core strength comprising the discipline of Operations Research (OR) at Georgia Tech resides in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). One of the largest programs in the country, approximately half of the entire ISyE faculty is directly responsible for the OR program through teaching and research activities that span virtually every topic and sub-discipline related to the field's basic methodologies of optimization, stochastics/applied probability and simulation. Most important, the OR faculty in the School currently counts among its members some of the most important figures in their respective concentrations, also making the program one of the strongest anywhere.

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Students pursuing a degree in Operations Research (OR) are exposed to a host of research activities in the School. As one would expect from a program as large as ours, the range and depth of these activities are substantial. Depending upon your taste, your background, or your career intentions, you can engage in research that spans from the most fundamental/theoretical to work that places greater emphasis on applications. No matter your inclination, as an OR student, you can generally find several faculty doing work in your chosen concentration.

Students are attracted to our OR degree from a variety of academic disciplines and specializations. Most prominent are applicants from mathematics/mathematical sciences, theoretical computer science, and various engineering majors such as electrical and industrial engineering. However, it is not uncommon to also find qualified students from fields such as physics, economics, and statistics.


New Ph.D. students are admitted for each Fall semester only, and the admissions process is coordinated by the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. Decisions on applicants to our various Ph.D. programs are determined jointly by a committee of faculty members, potential faculty research advisors, and the Associate Chair. All applicants must select and apply to a specific degree program, although it is possible in some cases to switch programs after enrollment.

A prior Master's degree is not a requirement for admission into our Ph.D. programs, and students can earn an M.S. degree typically within the first two years of Ph.D. study. For those unsure about applying to a Master's program versus a Ph.D. program, please note that students in our Master's programs are not guaranteed admission into a Ph.D. program here; we do offer a simplified application scheme. If you are interested in research and a Ph.D. degree, you should apply to a Ph.D. program directly.

Application Requirements

  • Transcripts: Transcripts of prior academic work are required, as is evidence of an earned Bachelor's degree. Applicant transcripts should demonstrate strong academic preparation and capability, especially in advanced mathematics and computing coursework. Those with less preparation in mathematics and engineering are expected to use coursework at Georgia Tech to quickly establish proficiency. 
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Scores from the general test are required, and strong performance on the quantitative section is expected. Scores from the Mathematics Subject Test are not required, but can help a student demonstrate proficiency in advanced mathematics. **The GRE is optional for the 2024 admissions cycle for Ph.D. applicants.**  However, if you decide not to submit GRE scores, the rest of your academic record should make up for the lack of the test score. If you have GRE test scores and wish to submit them for Fall 2023, they will be accepted and considered.  
  • Statement of Purpose: The written statement of purpose should describe clearly why the applicant wishes to pursue the Ph.D., including research and career goals. While the statement should describe past experiences, it should also identify clearly the research area of interest to the applicant and the members of our faculty that might serve as research advisor(s).
  • Resume: A resume outlining academic experience, research experience and accomplishments, industry experience, specific skills, and outside interests of the applicant is required.
  • Letters of Reference:  Three (3) credible letters of reference are required that attest to the preparation of the applicant and the likelihood for success in a Ph.D. program. At least two (2) letters should be from faculty members.  

Each year, we receive many more applications from qualified students than we have the capacity to admit into our programs. To help admitted students learn more about our programs and meet potential research advisors, we hold an invitation-only Ph.D. Applicant Visit Day annually in early March.  

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Career Paths

ISyE produces well-rounded graduates who go on to make an extraordinary mark on the world through their leadership in engineering and technology. With broad skill sets and innovative minds molded by the number one school of industrial engineering in the country, our graduates are out changing the world and paving the way for future generations..


A sample of companies our Ph.D. graduates launched their careers with

  • Amazon
  • BHP Billiton
  • UPS
  • McKinsey
  • Samsung
  • ExxonMobil
  • Logility
  • i2
  • Norfolk Southern
  • Battelle
  • SAS
  • Axioma
  • Descartes Associates
  • GE Global Research
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Gurobi
  • BP Energy
  • Suntrust Bank
  • Delta Technologies
  • IBM
  • Siemens
  • Oracle
  • Intel
  • Capital One
  • NASA
  • United Airlines
  • BNSF

A sample of academic institutions our Ph.D. graduates launched their careers with

  • MIT (Sloan/ORC)
  • Carnegie Mellon (Business, Statistics)
  • Purdue (Industrial Engineering)
  • Harvard (Statistics)
  • Iowa (Business)
  • Arkansas (Industrial Engineering)
  • Texas-Austin (Operations Research)
  • Northwestern (IEMS, Business)
  • Lehigh (Industrial Engineering)
  • Florida (Industrial Engineering)
  • North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Operations Research, Business)
  • Middle East Technical University [Turkey] (Industrial Engineering)
  • Duke (Business)
  • Chicago (Business)
  • Minnesota (Industrial Engineering)
  • University of Chile (Industrial Engineering)
  • Texas A&M (Industrial Engineering)
  • Virginia Tech (Industrial Engineering)

Prospective Student Resources

Do you accept the IELTS?

Yes, the IELTS exam is accepted. See here for score requirements:  

Do you accept transfer credit?

Transfer credit is accepted only in rare cases, and must be approved by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, ISyE. The review and approval process typically takes place during a student’s first semester in the program. A maximum of six total credit hours are transferrable. 

How do I apply for the Ph.D. program in Industrial Engineering?

You may begin your application here:

How do I check the status of my application?

Applicants should track their status through the CollegeNet online status check found here:


If granted admission, what type of financial support is offered to me as a Ph.D. student?

All ISyE Ph.D. students receive some type of funding and this is typically via a graduate assistantship (GRA or GTA). Sometimes students are supported by external fellowships. Please see here for more information on support: 

Is it possible to obtain my Master’s degree during my Ph.D. study in ISyE?

It is common for Ph.D. students to earn a Master’s degree as they progress through their Ph.D. program of study. That is, appropriate courses taken as part of their Ph.D. program are often applied to satisfy relevant degree requirements for a single Master’s degree. The review and approval process must go through the Associate chair for Graduate Studies.  Ph.D. students will not however be granted multiple Master’s degrees from ISyE. 

Is there a separate application to be considered for financial support?

No. All Ph.D. students studying in ISyE receive financial support in the form of a graduate assistantship. There is no separate application required.

Must I be on-campus to enroll in the Ph.D. program?

Yes. ISyE Ph.D. students must be enrolled in the Atlanta campus.

My country's primary language is English; do I still need to provide a TOEFL score?

Exceptions are given to applicants from countries where English is the SOLE OFFICIAL language of instruction. An applicant is also exempt if they have studied for at least one academic year at a U.S. college or university. Please visit for further information on the English Proficiency requirements for international students.

What are the admission requirements for the ISyE Ph.D. program?

Applicants are required to submit a Statement of Purpose describing his or her motivation for pursuing the Ph.D. in ISyE, including a description of current research interests. Additionally, all applicants are required to submit transcripts of prior academic coursework, official GRE exam scores, and three recommendation letters.  

What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores required?

Please review the Georgia Tech English Proficiency Requirements here:

What courses should I take ahead of time, or how can I prepare for the Ph.D. program in ISyE?

The best preparation for a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering or Operations Research at Georgia Tech is a technical program in mathematics, industrial engineering, operations research, statistics, or computer science. Students are expected to have strong understanding of calculus, applied probability, statistics, linear algebra, and computing. Also desirable are proof-based mathematics courses.  

Please see our admissions page here for additional information:

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for our Ph.D. program is December 15. We offer fall admission only and classes begin in August.

When and where should I mail my transcripts?

Copies of your transcripts should be uploaded with your online application. If you are admitted to the program and decide to enroll, you will be required to have official transcripts sent to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Studies
Georgia Institute of Technology
631 Cherry St., Room 318
Atlanta, GA 30332-0321

When will I know the admissions decision on my Ph.D. application?

Our goal is to have all Ph.D. applications reviewed and official admissions decisions out by the end of February. 

Where can I find more information on the program structure and different milestones for Ph.D. students in ISyE?

Please refer to our ISyE Graduate Handbook.

Where can I learn more about your Ph.D. program in Industrial Engineering?

Please visit our website for information related to: Admissions, Curriculum, Specializations, Financial Support, Research Faculty, Placement, etc.

Whom should I obtain recommendation letters from?

Academic recommendations are strongly preferred. We require a total of three and they should be very strong. 

Whom should my recommendation letters be from?

Academic recommendation letters are strongly preferred.  We ask for three letters of recommendations and they should be very strong.