Education Program

T-Shaped Education Program

The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering seeks to train "T-shape" engineers, which refers to engineers with a broad knowledge base and extensive expertise in specific fields. As such, our curriculum is based on the following principles: (1) providing a multifaceted curriculum designed to foster engineers with a broad perspective and (2) cultivating an independent learning ability in students.

T-Shaped Education Program

1. Basic Education in Problem-Solving Approaches, Methods & Techniques

As fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), data science, big data analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), fintech, and other industrial and systems engineering concepts become increasingly important, people with advanced expertise are needed to support them. In addition, basic skills in science and technology are the backbone for individuals to cope with the demands of an ever-evolving society. Students must acquire a foundation for logical thinking while learning the rules and principles necessary for problem-solving before mastering and applying these methods and techniques as tools. Specifically, students will study mathematical methods, statistical methodologies, and information processing techniques that form the basis of industrial and systems engineering, in addition to learning about various problem-solving approaches. In addition to twelve specially designated elective courses, which form the core subjects of our industrial and systems engineering curriculum, students spend plenty of time mastering their field through exercises, experiments, and training.

2. The Many Fields of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Our course list says it all: information science, statistics, operations research, management and economics, human factors/ergonomics, and industrial engineering. These are the primary areas that comprise industrial and systems engineering. Courses in each field are arranged hierarchically, so students spend their second year taking specialized introductory courses that cover the fundamentals in each field before progressing to major field courses in their third and fourth years.

In the beginning, it can be difficult to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields, but students gradually start to notice the organic connections that exist between them. Industrial and systems engineering covers a wide range of subjects, from human and mechanical systems, manufacturing systems, and corporate entities to transportation systems, urban systems, financial systems, and global economic and environmental issues. As the times change, we continue to explore and develop new fields of study aimed at new areas that do not fit the framework of conventional academic disciplines.

3. A Practical Education Through Seminars & Laboratories

Seminars and experiments have an educational effect that simply listening to lectures does not. At the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, we have devised an education that allows students to experience the process of discovering, modeling, and solving real-world problems based on themes that span multiple fields. Students learn to use both their heads and their hands to collect and analyze data and information as well, developing comprehensive judgment skills in the process.

Computers are also an essential tool for engineers when analyzing data to solve problems and implement systems. We teach students not only the basics of programming, software design, and algorithm construction but also practical solutions to various problems in industrial and systems engineering.

4. A System of Specially Designated Elective Courses

Twelve basic subjects have been selected as specially designated elective courses to provide students with a broad understanding of various areas of industrial and systems engineering while respecting the interests of individual students. Students must earn credits in at least ten of these courses to graduate. Synthesizing information from several seemingly unrelated areas helps foster the capacity for multilateral thinking.

5. A Wide Range of Courses Aimed at Broadening Student Horizons

In their second year, students take specialized introductory courses to learn the fundamentals of various fields in industrial and systems engineering. In their third and fourth years, they study major field courses in depth. However, even as they take major field courses, students must take the equivalent of two course credits in each of the four fields of education—human and systems, applied statistics and optimization, information science and artificial intelligence, and management and economics—as requirements for graduation. This policy is meant to encourage multilateral thinking at the deepest levels. It also prepares our students to be "T-shaped" engineers with a broad knowledge base ahead of the synthesis required for their graduation research.

Students must also understand people as components of the system in order to discover problems, formulate hypotheses, and find solutions. Moreover, knowledge of various organizational entities and societies is necessary to understand the context surrounding the issues and make big-picture decisions. To this end, students also gain a basic understanding of fields such as psychology, economics, finance, accounting, and human problem-solving processes—all orchestrated from an engineering perspective.

Many courses also invite professionals as guest lecturers from outside the university to provide an education that links learning at university with application in society.

6. Bachelor’s Thesis as a Curriculum Capstone

By their fourth year, all students belong to a laboratory, where they join seminar and choose problems of interest for their graduation research. While the Senior Thesis can be theoretical, experimental, or fieldwork in nature, all students must strive to achieve new research findings by integrating the approaches, methodologies, and techniques they have acquired throughout their academic careers to date. Building on three years of study and one year of research, our graduating students aim to become “T-shaped” engineers with both a broad knowledge base and deep expertise in specific fields.