How Hard is Industrial Engineering?

Hi guys,
I would like to go to medical school in the future, but I want a reliable backup plan(in case I dont get into med school). Initially I was thinking of majoring in either mechanical or civil engineering. However, after doing some research I found out that maintaining a good enough gpa in engineering for med school would be extremely difficult.

However, I’ve heard that Industrial Engineering is significantly easier than other types of engineering. Also I find this field to be quite interesting.

How hard would it be to maintain a high gpa (3.6+) in Industrial Engineering while doing premed? I understand it definitely wouldn’t be easy, but is it reasonable to expect that with enough effort that this could be pulled off?

I would never select a field of engineering based on how easy it is, particularly if your real goal is to go to medical school. Either pick the type of engineering you want to practice, or pick a major you enjoy that you can get a higher GPA in so you’ll have a better chance of getting into medical school.

sorry that I didn’t mention it initially in the post, but industrial engineering is something I’m interested in. I was asking about it’s difficulty b/c that is my main concern with majoring in it.

It may be easier other engineering fields, but it will still be challenging. We don’t know you well enough to know if you can keep a high GPA. I managed a 3.8+ GPA in structural engineering, but it was tough.

Depends on how good you are at math and statistics and their application to design problems.

My child is an industrial engineering major and by no means is it easy. It is advanced calculus and other advanced math on steroids.

IE does far less math and physics intensive stuff than other engineering disciplines. At my son’s school for example, the IEs do statics and dynamics, but that’s really it for classic engineering per se. They do however take math through linear algebra and the full physics series like all other engineering majors. That’s not easy stuff. It may be seen as the easiest engineering degree, but it’s more challenging than most other degree options outside of the college of engineering.

I’m with the rest…choose the route that maximizes your chances for medical school admissions if that’s what you really want to do.

I think it depends on the school as my d is required to have diff eq, multivariable and discrete as well as linear algebra which you need to understand well to pass all the ie core classes.

IE is light on physics but heavy on math. My daughter (an IE) took so much math she decided to minor in it. The standard requirements include as much math as her Chem E and ME friends (calc up through multivariable and Diff Equ’s) plus lots of statistics. She also took discrete math (Not a cake walk), Lin Algebra, some other math course I can’t remember, and a few CS courses which really helped with her IE courses. The upper level IE courses are really applied math courses. She took the same Chem as other disciplines (except Chem E) but not as much physics.

There are IE tracks that are more business focused and likely less technical.

She loves it. So even though she had a very challenging junior year, she was very motivated. If it isn’t your thing, it can be a long slog. I would say that of any major, whether it’s difficult or not so difficult.

You can major in anything and go to Med school. You can major in music. You just need to fit in the required coursework to prepare for MCATs and be a solid applicant. So study what you love.

An IE would take the same initial physics classes and labs (and chemistry) as other engineers. However, they would not take more physics related courses after that (like thermodynamics, fluid mechanics) that an ME would take, unless , of course, they wanted to. Perhaps that is what @eyemgh is referring to? And, of course not taking as much chemistry as a chemical engineer would. But Industrial and Systems engineering students are certainly taking lots of math, theoretical statistics, etc. as well as classes that these other engineers are not taking, since every discipline has different courses it must cover. Some kids might love IE, others might not, as in any field.

And the OP should study something that they are interested in. There are definitely easier majors than any of the engineering majors, including IE. Having said that, it IS certainly possible to get a 3.6+ in engineering. It is the initial courses that all engineers take, including IE’s, that knocks some kids out . Good luck!

@scubadive, diff eq, multivariable, discrete and PDE typically all come before linear. Nearly all engineers including IEs have the same math requirements. Last I checked, linear was not ABET required for either IE or ME, but some schools add it on.

@sevmom, that’s exactly what I was referring to. Thermo, heat transfer, fluids, and vibrations, are all essentially math classes. Depending on the level one delves, say advanced fluids, they involve even more math like tensor calculus. The intro math classes are just foundation for further application. IEs don’t take that next step. They concentrate more on systems and processes.

And ME’s don’t take that next step with the kinds of things IE’s are studying. All the different types are taking what they need to be successful in their own field . Which is why it is important to determine what interests you the most. I was glad my sons did not have to pick a major until they were exposed to all the different departments in their first year They had time to explore the majors and pick something they found the most interesting . Neither made a decision based on what they thought might be easiest.But some kids are sure what they want to study, even in high school, and that is great too. And, of course, with some schools, you have to pick a specific major before you start school.

That sequence was not used for my D.

This is beyond the scope of OP’s question. However, to clarify, discrete math is not required for most engineering majors. It is more of a math/CS requirement, but also some IE’s take it. And the diff equ class that is required is ordinary Diff equ’s (ODE) not partial diff equ’s (PDE). PDE’s can be taken after ODE’s.

Same here . It probably varies by school. Discussing how hard a particular engineering major is tends to lead nowhere. Study what you want to. They’re all hard . My H started out in biology, biomedical type stuff that was starting then, realized it wasn’t for him, took an electrical course, didn’t like it, said he wanted to be outside more - civil, public policy made the final cut. He had time to figure it out. If you pay attention to people that parse how difficult one engineering field or the other is and worry about what others think about rankings, you may never find what you were truly meant to do.

I have been happy to make lots of side trips over the last many years to look at lots of bridges , dams, and harbors!

My point wasn’t to say any had more math than IE, but to say they diverge AFTER the math that’s typical for most engineering majors. AND not to discount that when considering if IE was “easy” enough to be a premed major. I was trying to point out that IE would not be easy. The order maths are taken at any school is sort of immaterial to that point (and I did make a mistake on PDEs).

IE is certainly less mathy than say ME or AE, beyond the pure math sequence, but It was the OP who started with the assumption IE was easier. Somehow my comments got construed as agreeing, but I simply said IE “may be seen as the easiest” because it is less mathy in the advanced courses. Whether that’s harder or not really is a matter of one’s proclivity for math.

After the base engineering math courses (calculus, multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra), IE goes on to different math (probability theory, statistics, linear programming, operations research) compared to ME. IE does have less in the way of physics-based advanced topics.

Thank you, @ucbalumnus , That is what I was trying to get at.

“IE does have less in the way of physics-based advanced topics.”

That’s really what I was thinking, sort of inappropriately dismissing the whole realm of statistics and probability. Sorry if it caused confusion or offense.

Not to get too distracted from the original point to the OP though, which was no matter what they’ve been told about IE place in the difficulty of engineering realm, none of them are easy. None of them align particularly well with medical school prerequisites either.

^Yes, I’ve always thought it must be really hard to be premed as an engineering major. There just isn’t room for many electives. It’s hard enough to graduate in four years as it is!