industrial engineering

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Industrial engineering is an interdisciplinary course that consists of engineering and economics parts. It combines technical and scientific as well as economic and often also legal content. After completing their studies, the graduate may use the designation industrial engineer .


Various universities offered this field of study as early as the late 19th century. This course of study was probably first introduced in the USA in 1908. In 1927, the then Technical University of Berlin introduced the course as the first German university. The course developed by Willi Prion was still called "Business and Technology" at that time and was intended to offer the descendants of entrepreneurs adequate training.

Until the 1970s, relatively few universities offered this degree. The Würzburg-Schweinfurt University of Applied Sciences , which was founded in 1971, was the first German university of applied sciences to offer a degree in industrial engineering from the outset in its Schweinfurt department.

In the universities and engineering schools of the GDR , a similar course of study was established as engineering economics.

Scientific assignment

Industrial engineering deals with business processes, i.e. with theories, methods, tools and intersubjectively verifiable knowledge and relationships between different economic, engineering and legal disciplines. The course therefore acts as an interface between business administration and engineering . The objective of industrial engineering is to optimize operational processes with regard to technical processes on the one hand and the greatest possible productivity and profitability on the other.

The content of industrial engineering is interdisciplinary and therefore often complex systems . This includes the development , implementation , realization, optimization and real operation of such systems in compliance with legal requirements and regulations, whereby the economic or technical systems are not viewed in isolation, but as holistic systems.

Rather, industrial engineering models and designs from an economic and legal point of view and using the methods of systems theory , statistics , operations research and other real economic-technical systems and derives requirements for production, manufacturing, marketing and information systems from corresponding models Implementation in existing or new real systems.


Number of students by subject in Germany
rank subject Students
1 Business administration 209724
2 mechanical engineering 112383
3 law 102908
... ... ...
13 W.-Ing. (technical focus) 49288
... ... ...
18th W.-Ing. (economic focus) 42119

The study of industrial engineering can take place at a university ( university , technical college or dual university ) that concludes with an academic degree , or at a vocational academy . As an interdisciplinary course, industrial engineering includes both engineering and economics components, but at most universities it is assigned to the engineering faculties . The focus of the course and the composition of the modules can differ significantly depending on the chosen focus and the research focus of the respective university. While the engineering part predominates in industrial engineering courses at technically oriented universities, other universities and technical colleges also offer industrial engineering courses with a focus on economics. In the later stage, the students themselves influence the focus of the further course by choosing elective modules and specializations.

In the first four semesters of the course , i.e. in the basic course for diploma courses , technical and economic basics should be conveyed. Since the course content in this phase strongly overlaps with the content of other business and engineering courses due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, industrial engineering students usually attend some of the lectures for students of computer science , business administration , mechanical engineering , civil engineering or electrical engineering . As in all technical courses, lectures are increasingly being held in English in German-speaking countries; In addition, lectures and courses on technical English are offered. In addition, internships , often in the form of a basic and a specialist internship, are usually part of the course.

Industrial engineering has firmly established itself as an independent, scientific course as well as a postgraduate course at private and public universities .

Depending on the university, the course either generally runs as "Industrial Engineering" or is divided into various specializations right from the start (for example, "Industrial Engineering Mechanical Engineering"; other specializations include " Energy Technology ", " Energy Management ", "Operational Management" and "Strategic." Management ”,“ Process Engineering ”and“ Electrical Engineering ”).

Since the Bologna reform , industrial engineering has mostly been offered as a bachelor's and master's degree; the courses are structured by modules. The master’s degree is a postgraduate course and requires a bachelor’s degree. A diploma course is still offered at a few universities in certain federal states .

According to various statistics, industrial engineering is one of the courses with the most enrolled students in Germany, although the various industrial engineering courses are assigned differently depending on the statistics. The Federal Statistical Office differentiates between industrial engineering with a technical and economic focus.

Study opportunities

In Germany, studies in industrial engineering are offered at 101 technical colleges , 32 universities and technical universities as well as at 15 vocational academies . Similar study opportunities can be found in Austria. In Switzerland this course is only offered at universities of applied sciences. Corresponding study opportunities also exist in some European and non-European countries.

Completion of studies and academic degree

At the end of the course, a thesis (depending on the course a diploma thesis , bachelor thesis or master thesis ) must be written and defended in a colloquium depending on the course regulations . In some courses, especially the diploma courses, a final exam must be passed beforehand.

The successfully completed course ends with an academic diploma, bachelor's or master's degree:

  • The diploma course usually ends with the academic degree "Diplom-Wirtschaftsingenieur" (abbr. "Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Ing.", "Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing." Or "Dipl.-Wi.-Ing."); possibly with the addition "(FH)" for universities of applied sciences). If the technical-scientific part was not completed in an engineering subject, the ending of the job title is instead of "-engineer" at individual universities and so on. U. also on the corresponding other job title such as B. "Diplom- Wirtschaftsinformatiker ". Occasionally the academic degree is also “Dipl.-Ing. oec. "or" Diplom-Ingenieurökonom "(in the GDR).
  • The bachelor’s degree programs end with the academic degree “Bachelor of Engineering” (B.Eng.) Or “Bachelor of Science” (B.Sc.). A more detailed descriptive addition is often added to the academic degree, e.g. BBEng. in “Industrial Engineering”, “Business Administration and Engineering” or “Economics and Engineering”.
  • The consecutive master’s courses end with the academic degree “Master of Engineering” (M.Eng.) Or “Master of Science” (M.Sc.). Training at universities of applied sciences often ends with the M.Eng., But also with the M.Sc., degrees at universities do not end with the M.Eng. Non-consecutive master’s courses often end with the academic degree “Master of Business and Engineering” (MBE) or “Master of Business Administration & Engineering” (MBA & E).

Types of study

Simultaneous study

In the case of simultaneous studies, which is usually the case, both economic-law and technical-scientific subjects are anchored in the timetable for the entire duration of the study. In addition, there are events that specifically address the interdisciplinary nature of business and technology.

Industrial engineering mainly comprises the core subjects of business administration and the respective engineering degree, while some peripheral disciplines, which pure business economists or engineers have to attend, are partially dispensed with.

Postgraduate studies

Graduates of technical courses of study offer a postgraduate course the opportunity to "catch up" on the economic and legal components. The Fernhochschule Hamburg has also been offering a postgraduate course for economists since 2006. Mittweida University of Applied Sciences has been offering an accredited distance learning course leading to a degree in industrial engineering since 2000.

Profession of industrial engineer

Industrial engineers are usually employed within technical and economic cross-sectional functions, such as B. for logistical or planning tasks (e.g. in the production area), technical marketing, sales or purchasing for technical products, project management or quality assurance.

They are mainly in mechanical engineering , the electrical engineering , the automotive industry , in construction and consulting companies used. Due to the broad knowledge base, industrial engineers are used more and more in insurance companies , credit institutions , in retail and in IT .

Industrial engineers work, for example, in the areas of sales (see also: sales engineer ), product development , maintenance , production , logistics , purchasing , finance / administration , company management / company management , quality management , environmental management , controlling and consulting .

Associations and Organizations


There is no universal translation of the term in English.

One of the following English translations is used to reflect the content of the course appropriately:

  • Business Administration and Engineering
  • Engineering and Business Administration
  • Engineering, Economics and Management (EEM)
  • Engineering management
  • industrial engineering
  • Management engineering

These include both engineering and the English term for business administration. However, some of the translations currently in use are misleading internationally. In the Anglo-American language area, for example, “industrial engineering” is more often equated with work sciences. The Association of German Industrial Engineers (VWI) notes, for example: "In particular, the widespread use of the" industrial engineer "as a paraphrase of the German industrial engineer is more comparable to production and manufacturing engineers and does not illustrate the complex and integrative German concept of the course." The VWI therefore recommends adding “in Business Administration and Engineering” to the academic degree.

Depending on the subject and university, the following terms are also used:

  • Industrial Engineering & Management (IEM): corresponds to the content of a kind of economically educated industrial engineer, but is often used in Germany as a synonym for all fields of study of the W., which usually leads to misunderstandings abroad.
  • Business and engineering
  • Business engineering
  • Business engineering and management
  • Management engineering
  • Civil Engineering & Management: corresponds to the civil engineering course
  • Product engineering
  • Technology Management

It should be noted, however, that business engineering actually only comprises the planning, implementation and control of business ideas and innovations, and product engineering is limited to the construction and planning of new products.

See also

Portal: Industrial Engineering  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of industrial engineering


  • Baumgarten, Helmut / Schmager, Burkhard: “Industrial Engineering in Training and Practice - Vocational Training Research 2011”; 13th edition, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-7983-2324-7
  • Fenner, Heinrich / Vogel, Bernd: "Industrial engineering at universities and technical colleges - organization and resource requirements of combined courses"; Hannover 2002, ISBN 3-930447-47-9
  • Zadek, Risse (Ed.): Executives for an Integrated Management - Industrial Engineering in Science and Business Practice , Springer, 2002, ISBN 3-540-44061-5

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b History and importance of industrial engineering at VWI ( Memento of the original from July 7, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. BERUFEnet: industrial engineer. Federal Employment Agency , accessed on June 27, 2017 .
  3. Education and Culture. Students at universities . Website of the Federal Statistical Office. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Association of German Industrial Engineers V .: Study industrial engineering in training and practice , accessed on June 27, 2017.
  5. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from July 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF file; 162 kB) New course structures in the industrial engineering course with bachelor and master degrees @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from July 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF file; 162 kB) New course structures in the industrial engineering course with bachelor and master degrees @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /