Industrial Engineering is a multidisciplinary field integrating other engineering and scientific disciplines, while creating opportunities for competitive advantage. In 1985, the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) defined Industrial Engineering as: “Industrial Engineering is concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of people, material, information, equipment and energy. It draws upon specialized knowledge and skill in the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design to specify, predict and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems.” Industrial engineering originated more than a century ago during the industrial revolution when industries started to search for optimal industrial solutions to meet the challenges and demands of the economy. In today’s modern economy, it is imperative to employ industrial engineers in various industries due to the challenges of emerging technologies and globalization. It is an Industrial Engineer who helps airport operations to decide when and from which gate airplanes should depart or in a hospital how many beds and nurses to be allocated to each hospital ward. Industrial Engineers identify, redesign and manage processes that are costly and ineffective, such that they become more profitable and effective.

In the agricultural industry, Industrial Engineers might increase crop yields and manage livestock and resources more effectively and on larger scales. Whether you are driving a motor vehicle, eating a chocolate bar, using a mobile phone, withdrawing money or donating blood, you can be pretty sure that an Industrial Engineer was involved in the design, manufacture or distribution of that product or service. In a world that is ever changing and in the technological era, Industrial Engineers can design, improve and integrate new processes, systems and technology that allow for sustainable adoptions and better futures for all. Industrial engineers are involved across different organisational levels and are responsible for various tasks. This includes analysis of data and problems, design and optimisation of systems and processes, and the management of operations, projects and maintenance activities. Ultimately, industrial engineers create value through improvement in overall efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of an organization.

The NWU offers future Industrial Engineers the opportunity to learn and develop in smaller classes with more attention from lecturers. At the school for Industrial Engineering, we focus on changing the world for the better. We do this, first, by educating and developing exceptional engineers who can and want to change the world and, secondly, by finding answers to current and future real-life challenges of our industries and communities, through our cutting-edge as well as applied research. We value our industry, academic and community partners, who enable us to develop relevant, sustainable, multi-disciplinary solutions, as well as engineers with the ability and attitude to do the same. Our program has a huge focus on data analytics and the role it plays in modern Industrial Engineering.

Industrial engineering is among the top 10 scarce skills in South Africa. In order to study Industrial Engineering, the following admission requirements are needed:

  • 70% for Mathematics
  • 70% for Physical Sciences
  • 60% for Home Language (English or Afrikaans)
  • APS of 34
  • Click here for more info.

The curriculum at the NWU for Industrial Engineering is as follows:

First Year

    • Academic Literacy Development
    • Programming for Engineers
    • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry
    • Basic Physics I
    • Introductory Algebra and Calculus I
    • Engineering Graphics I
    • Statics and Mathematical Modelling
    • Electrotechnique I
    • Introduction to Industrial Engineering
    • Materials Science I
    • Basic Physics II
    • Introductory Algebra and Calculus II
    • Practical Engineering Practice

Second Year

    • Dynamics I
    • Differential Equations
    • Electrotechnique II
    • Advanced Calculus I
    • Linear Algebra I
    • Algorithms and Optimisation
    • Understanding the World of Engineering
    • Thermal-Fluid Sciences
    • Operations Management for Engineers
    • Optimisation and Numerical Methods
    • Engineering Communication
    • Introductory Labour Law
    • Statistics for Industrial Engineering

Third Year

    • Engineering Economics
    • Operational Excellence
    • Simulation Modelling
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Object-oriented Software Development
    • Control Theory
    • Advanced Optimisation
    • Statistical Learning for Engineers
    • Manufacturing Technology
    • Engineering in the South African and Global Context

Fourth Year

    • Engineering Management
    • Quality Assurance
    • Facilities Design
    • Systems Engineering
    • Databases and Web-programming
    • Business Engineering
    • Decision Support Systems
    • Vacation Training seniors
    • Project


As an NWU​ Industrial Engineer you may register with the following professional Bodies:

Industrial engineers may work in the following industries:

  • Manufacturing, mining and energy
  • Food industry
  • IT and telecommunications
  • Logistics and supply chain
  • Aerospace and aviation
  • Healthcare
  • Banking and finance
  • Aerospace and aviation
  • Agriculture
  • Service and consulting