Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Admissions

1. Can GRE scores be waived?

Answer:  No.  This is a university requirement. All GRE scores must be 5 years old or less at the time of entrance into the program.

2. But I have a GMAT score and a TOEFL score.  Is that sufficient?

Answer:  No.  GRE scores are mandatory for all applicants.

3. Does your department need a TOEFL score?

Answer:  If you are an international student, you must complete the university’s English Language Proficiency Verification through one of the following:

    • A TOEFL score of at least 80 (ibt or equivalent cbt/pbt score), no more than 2 years old at the time of entrance
    • A IELTS total band score of 6.0, no more than 2 years old at the time of entrance
    • A GRE-Verbal score of at least 146 (400 on old test score range), no more than 5 years old at the time of entrance
    • Final degree certificates and final transcripts from a 4-year bachelor’s program, completed in its entirety in the United States.

For more information, please see International Graduate Admissions.

4. When is the application deadline?

Answer: Please see How to Apply.

5. What is required for a graduate application?

Answer:  Please check Consideration for Admission.

6.  Here is my resume and transcripts.  Can you tell me how likely I will be admitted?

Answer:  We are not allowed to conduct pre-application reviews or comment on admissions decisions until we review the whole application package.

7.  What is the difference among the three master’s programs?

Answer:  Please see the Master’s Programs requirements 

8.  How long does a master’s program take?

Answer:  Please see the Master’s Programs requirements, Slide # 4.

9.  How much does a master’s program cost?

Answer:  Please see the Master’s Programs requirements, Slide #2.

10.  I do not have an industrial engineering college degree.  Is it Okay for me to apply?

Answer:  Generally, yes, as long as you meet all pre-requisites before applying.  For a list of our pre-requisites, please see Consideration for Admission.

11.  Who are eligible for financial support?

Answer:  Almost all our Ph.D. students are financially supported by various means of graduate assistantship or fellowship. But our master’s students are generally not financially supported by the department.  For a small percentage of the top master’s applicants, a $1,000 scholarship will be considered.  For students whose residence is outside Texas (including international students), this $1,000 scholarship entitles a student to an out-of-state tuition waiver, saving more than $6,000 a year.  So the net worth of this scholarship is more than $7,000 a year. For additional information on the types of funding that may be available to you at the university or federal level, please see Graduate - Financial Aid.

12.  How do you select students to receive financial support?

Answer:  Ph.D. students go through interviews with individual faculty members who are recruiting or with the Graduate Committee representatives.  For master’s applicants, approximately the top 15 % of the admitted are considered for a $1,000 scholarship.  A committee will review and select the top 15% based on an array of factors, including standardized test scores, undergraduate program’s reputation, undergraduate GPR and individual grades in key courses, recommendation letters, applicant’s professional experience and background, and how well one fits the department.

13.  Do I need to indicate somewhere that I want to be considered for financial support?

Answer:  We assume all applicants, except those who are sponsored by their own sources (such as a fellowship from a government agency or nonprofit organization), want to be considered for financial aid. So all admitted students are considered for financial aids automatically. But our resources are limited, so that only a small percentage of students receive financial support.

14.  I received an admission letter but no financial aid information is mentioned.  Does that mean I will not be supported?

Answer:  For Ph.D. students, the financial aid consideration runs until the end of April.  In the past, faculty have conducted interviews and selected students for support as late as early May.  Please feel free to check with the Director of Graduate Programs if you are uncertain about the financial aid situation.  Remember that the majority of our Ph.D. students enter with some sort of financial support.

For Master’s students, if you receive only the admission letter without the letter offering a $1,000 scholarship or without any faculty representative contacting you for interviews, you will not be supported by the department at the time of entrance.

15.  I submitted my application MM/DD/YYYY.  When can I hear the decision from your program?

Answer: Once an application is sent to the University, it is first processed by the Office of Admissions.  Only when the application is deemed “complete” (all necessary documents received) will it be sent to the department for merit review.  So first, please check your AIS account and make sure your application is deemed complete.  A number of applications are never sent to us for review due to some type of incompleteness.

At the department level, we conduct our admissions in batches.  The first batch starts in February, and the process runs until around the end of April when our capacity is filled. In total, three to five batches of admission are made.

In each batch, those who are admitted will be notified immediately.  Those who are not admitted will be kept in the database for future consideration.  Doing so gives an applicant the maximum chances for consideration.

For an applicant whose application is complete and sent to the department for review, yet still there has been no admission decision for a long time, it is because your combination of credentials has not caused your application to surface to the top when reviewed against the current applicant pool in the early batches.  It is still possible that your application will be considered competitive in a later batch. 

16. Considering your batch-based admission procedure, does it mean that there is no need to submit my application early?

Answer: We leave this to individual applicants to decide.  But when fewer people apply early, the admission in the early batches is less competitive.  Moreover, decisions could take longer to be communicated if we are overwhelmed with applications all at once late in the process.

17. What should I do when there is no decision from your program?

Answer:  Generally it means that your application is still being considered but the chance gets slim as it gets close to the end of April. If you have not heard from us by the end of April, please feel free to contact our department.

18.  I believe I meet all of your admission criteria.  Why was I denied admission?

Answer: Our admission is both holistic, taking all application profile factors into account, and very competitive, because of capacity limitations. We can accommodate roughly 100 new graduate students every year, and expect to increase our capacity in an annualized 6% rate. This capacity allows us to admit about 20% to 30% of our applicants (the variation is due to fluctuation in the number of applications).   So the simple reason that we deny someone’s application, although this applicant meets our admission guideline, is that there are stronger applicants and this applicant is not competitive enough as compared to the applicant pool for a given term.

19. How do you decide competitiveness?

Answer:  We use an array of factors, including standardized test scores, undergraduate program’s reputation, undergraduate GPR and individual grades in key courses, recommendation letters, an applicant’s professional experience and background, and their compatibility with the department.

20. Is there anything I can do to improve my odds of being admitted?

Answer:  Among the three master’s program options, our capacity allocation is roughly 40% M.Eng. I.E., 40% M.S. in ENSM program, and 20% M.S. I.E. (the M.S. I.E. track is meant for those students who wish to someday pursue a PhD).  This means that if you apply to the M.S. I.E. program, you will face tougher competition, as the number of available seats is half of that in the M.Eng. I.E. or ENSM programs.  Generally speaking, the M.Eng. I.E. program or M.S. in ENSM program is easier to get into purely due to capacity reasons. That being said, admissions requirements are the same for all of our master’s programs and you should apply for the program which you feel fits your goals and interests the best.

21. Does your program offer summer internship?

Answer:  We neither require nor assist in the placement of internships, though we do encourage and allow students to take summer internships.  That being said, students cannot earn credit from an internship toward his/her graduate degree; the internship is only ever counted in addition to the minimum required hours for the degree.

22. I was admitted to the Graduate Program at XYZ University but I found your graduate program is more attractive.  Can I transfer to your program?

Answer: Thank you for your interest, but we do not allow transfers.  You will have to apply as a new applicant to our graduate programs.  Once admitted, TAMU allows transfer of up to 4 courses in graduate standing, subject to the approval of the industrial and systems engineering graduate program director. Please see the Course Transfer Policy.

23. Does your degree say “Industrial Engineering” or “Industrial & Systems Engineering”

Answer: The degree you earn will be in “Industrial Engineering” or “Engineering Systems Management”. “Industrial and Systems Engineering” is the full name of the department and does not appear on the diplomas.

24. Does work experience present an advantage in application?

Answer: We do value working experience, but it is not required and is only one of the factors to be considered.

25. Where do your master’s students go for jobs after graduation?

Here is a partial list of employments and salary information, self-reported by graduate students through their exit survey. The second file has the 2015 university career fair summary, in which 139 companies identified themselves as looking for ISEN graduates and 101 companies identified themselves as looking for ENSM graduates. Combining these two, the number of companies looking for IE graduates is second after MEEN.

Questions specific to the Distance Learning program

26. Do I need to travel to College Station for my degree?

No. The DL degrees offered by our department are 100% online.

27. If I am admitted to the DL program and later decide to move to College Station, can I switch to the on-campus program?

Yes, you are welcome to switch at any time. Please notify us if you are considering switching so that we can have the Registrar’s Office make the necessary changes.  

28. Is there a maximum time limit to complete the degree?

Yes. All Master’s programs at TAMU must be completed within 7 calendar years.

29. How many courses do I have to take each semester?

You can set your own pace. Most of DL students take one or two courses per semester. Three courses is considered a full time work load.  

30. How long does it take to complete a degree?

It depends on the number of courses you take per semester. For example, assuming one takes two courses per semester, it would take five semesters to complete an ME IE degree. Most DL students finish their degrees in 3 years, if attending part time, but they can be completed in as little as 1.5-2 years if attending full time.

31. What if I do not have enough time to complete a ten-course degree program?

You can take advantage of our continuing education certificate program, which only needs completion of four courses.

32. What if I do not have GRE scores?

Admission to any of our degree programs requires GRE scores, without exception.  The certificate program does not require the GRE. 

33. Will ISEN offer more graduate courses in DL format?

Yes, we expect to add a few new courses in DL format every year.

34. Will ISEN offer B.S. degree or Ph.D. degree in distance learning?

Not in the foreseeable future.

35. Does the degree state that it was earned through distance learning?

No. You will earn exactly the same degree you would earn if you studied on our campus in College Station, Texas. The standards for admission, course work, and graduation are the same. You are welcome to come to campus to walk through the graduation line with your classmates, too.

36. Is financial aid available?

The College of Engineering will award distance education scholarships to Texas residents who enroll as a degree seeking student in a distance learning masters of engineering or masters of science program within the college of engineering. Recipients will receive up to $1,500 per semester for up to three years, contingent on demonstrated financial need and enrollment status. For details, including eligibility requirements, please visit the College’s distance education site and go down the page to the distance education scholarships section.

For non-Texas residents, our department currently cannot offer financial aid through the distance learning program.  If admitted to Texas A&M University, you can check with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for different types of financial aid.

37. How do you administer exams in distance learning?

Each exam will be proctored to maintain scholastic integrity of the DL program.  Therefore, a DL student will designate a proctor no later than two weeks from the start of the semester. The person you select as a proctor must be approved by the course instructor to be a viable proctor. You must submit your proctor's information via the proctor form. The proctor will have the following responsibilities:

    • The proctor will be emailed a password to access the exam along with exam instructions the day before the exam.
    • The proctor will give the password to the student at the start of the exam and ensure that the student uses only the specified materials during the exam.
    • For computer based exams, the exam is supposed to stop automatically after the allocated time.
    • For paper based exams, proctors will ensure that the student stops the exam after the allocated time and fills in start and stop times on cover page of exam in the presence of the proctor.

Each exam has a time limit and there may be an additional buffer allowed for printing, scanning and uploading the exam, if so needed. The exam will be available during a 24 hour window and it is the student’s responsibility to schedule the proctor during this time window. The scanned copy of the exam must be readable and uploaded in the time allotted.

Examples of persons who may be designated as a proctor are:

    • Supervisor at your place of employment
    • Faculty/staff member of a university or community college
    • Employee of a testing center
    • A clergy member
    • Librarian

Examples of persons who may NOT be designated as a proctor are:

    • A personal friend, spouse or other family member, roommate, or neighbor