Funding Opportunities

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering supports a substantial number of graduate students through fellowships and assistantships. It is in a student's best interest to be funded by means of a fellowship. Fellows can carry heavier course loads because there is no service requirement (as there is for graduate assistants), meaning fellows can complete their degrees in a more timely manner. Graduate students are encouraged to apply for fellowships outside of Penn State.

If a student is offered a graduate assistantship but declines it in favor of a fellowship, that student could still be offered the graduate assistantship if the duration of the fellowship is not long enough to complete the degree program (contingent only upon the student having made satisfactory progress toward the degree).


Many of the fellowships available for graduate students in industrial engineering are offered through agencies outside Penn State. These include:

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships
  • National Science Foundation Minority Graduate Fellowships
  • Office of Naval Research Graduate Fellowships
  • Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowships for Minorities
  • IBM Graduate Fellowship Program
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellowships
  • Institute of International Education Fellowships
  • U.S. Department of Energy Fellowships
  • U.S. Department of Defense Fellowships

There are eligibility requirements for each of these fellowships. Some require U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident Status while others are open to international students. Students must apply for these fellowships directly through the funding agency, not through Penn State. 

There are also fellowships available from the Graduate School, the College of Engineering, and the Marcus department. A student cannot directly apply for these fellowships, rather they must be nominated by the department.

Note: Fellowship recipients are expected to carry a load of at least 12 course credits per semester (four 3-credit courses), as they are not required to work during the semester in which they are offered the fellowship. They may also take additional credits consisting of colloquium or research. Half-time graduate assistants are expected to work 20 hours/week and to carry 12 credits per semester, consisting of of three 3-credit courses (until the student completes his/her course work), two credits of thesis research, and one credit of I E Colloquium.


The department awards a limited number of assistantships. Both teaching and research assistantships are available. Students accepting teaching assistantships offered by the department are placed in a pool from which the department's instructional needs will be met. Every effort will be made to match students with their choice of assignments but this cannot always be guaranteed. Research assistants are hired by faculty members based on the candidate’s need and qualifications. It should be noted that applications for graduate assistantships are not considered until admission has been granted by the Graduate School.

International applicants who wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship must take the American English Oral Communicative Proficiency Test offered by Penn State, after their arrival on campus and obtain a minimum score of 250 in the test.

A graduate assistant is responsible for carrying out laboratory teaching, grading, or research assignments. A half-time graduate assistant is required to spend 20 hours per week fulfilling these assignments starting one week before the first day of classes and ending after all final grades have been handed in by the instructor. 

The length of time a student is allowed to hold an assistantship is as follows:

  • A M.S. student typically will be allowed three semesters.
  • A Ph.D. student with a M.S. degree typically will be allowed six semesters.
  • A Ph.D. student with a B.S. degree typically will be allowed eight semesters.

The awarding of the assistantship from one semester to the next depends on the student making satisfactory progress toward his/her degree.

Please indicate whether you want to be considered for an assistantship, while filling out the Graduate School application.

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Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

We are Innovators. We are Makers. We are Excellence in Engineering. We are Penn State IME.

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

310 Leonhard Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-7601

FAX: 814-863-4745