Fall 2023 Shows Positive Growth for ISE on Both Graduate and Undergraduate Levels

The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) at the University of Florida has experienced significant growth in the number of students enrolled in both graduate and undergraduate programs offered through the department. David Kaber, Ph.D., Dean’s Leadership Professor and department chair, said the growth has been elevated through new student recruiting efforts, new student funding programs, and an increase in departmental rankings. 

This fall, ISE has welcomed 15 new Ph.D. students, which is the largest entering class in the past five and a half years. One way the department has been able to bring on new students is through the newly implemented First Year Ph.D. Fellowship Program. Using the Harbert S. Gregory ISE Endowment fund, this fellowship program provides a stipend, tuition assistance, and health insurance for up to two Ph.D. students in their first year of study. Kaber said, “These are highly prestigious fellowships that allow students to enter our program without a defined work commitment and to align with a faculty member (over time) based on their specific research interests.” 

In the master’s program, ISE welcomed 39 new students on-campus and through the UF Electronic Delivery of Gator Engineering (EDGE) program. The department also saw 48 new students join the Outreach Engineering Management (OEM) master’s program. The current total ISE graduate population is approximately 200 ISE students. The department has utilized the new Haldeman M.S. Admission Scholarship to further support new student access to ISE programs beyond the existing Academic Achievement Scholarships through the College of Engineering. Using support from the Harold D. Haldeman Jr. Endowment fund, the program provides up to 20 scholarships per year of $2,500 for a master’s student to conduct ISE research with a faculty member. 

The departmental growth has also included the undergraduate program. During the past three years, the four-year graduation rate for the BS ISE program increased from approximately 12% to 37.1%, while the time to degree decreased from 4.92 years to 4.39 years. Despite the program moving more students to job placement sooner, program enrollment has increased since suppression of the pandemic. Student enrollment settled at a low point of 405 during spring 2023 but is now on the rise at an expected 462 students for the Fall 2023 semester. Related to this, the ISE program is experiencing the highest level of transfers in the past five years with a total of 82 new students entering the program this semester.  

“With the continuing increase in the state population and more students seeking engineering degrees covering methods and tools that flexibly apply to a broad range of applications,” Dr. Kaber said, “ISE programs are becoming high-growth majors of choice for students entering and studying at UF.” 

Brady Budke
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering