Why this course?
Operational Research (called "Operations Research" in some parts of the world) has been briefly described as the "scientific analysis of decisions". It's concerned with assisting and advising decision-makers in a wide variety of settings.
The MSc in Operational Research aims to realise the potential of graduates, so that you immediately can play an effective role in providing model-based support to managers helping them to make better decisions at an operational/technical level.
You’ll develop a rigorous academic understanding of advanced analytical methods that are used to provide structured and analytical approaches to decision-making. You’ll also develop practical skills in using operational research models to support decision-makers.
All classes are taught using material presented via the internet. Classes are supported by faculty members who also teach on the full-time course. They will guide and support discussion via discussion forums.
The programme contains three stages. In progressing towards completion of the MSc students will undertake the following:
Postgraduate Certificate in Operational Research
This includes five compulsory classes and one elective class all of which can be completed fully online.
- Foundations of Operational Research & Business Analysis
- Quantitative Business Analysis
- Managing Business Operations
- Spreadsheet Modelling & Demand Forecasting
- Operational Research Methods
One optional class chosen from:
- Business Simulation Methods
- Risk Analysis & Management
- Decision Analysis
- Advanced Operations Research Modelling using specialist software tools
Postgraduate Diploma in Operational Research
After completion of the Postgraduate certificate two further elective classes and one compulsory class are required to be undertaken.
- Becoming an effective operational research modeller
Two elective classes chosen from same list as for the Postgraduate Certificate.
If you wish to proceed to the Postgraduate Diploma you need to be in appropriate employment. The final decision as to what is "appropriate employment" remains with the University of Strathclyde. However, if your employment covers all of the following, you're likely to be in the correct type of post:
- solving problems owned by someone else
- ill-defined problems
- working in teams
- the opportunity to use a variety of Business Analysis techniques
- your work has an influence on the operation of your organisations
Your employment should require some analysis of business situations, in the private or public sector. Samples of your work will form the basis of reflection and learning projects, guided by a personal mentor.
MSc in Operational Research
Students who complete the Diploma and gain sufficient marks to proceed to the MSc will be expected to undertake a project. The project will be integrated with your employment. You'll have individual personal mentoring to guide you in reflection and learning.
To undertake this course you need to have:
- Modern PC running Windows Vista or higher, web cam, headset with microphone
- Minimum 2Mb/sec broadband connection
- Microsoft Excel 2010 or higher
NB: Some of the course software is Windows-only and will not run under Linux or on Macintosh computers so use of a PC or PC-emulation software is essential if these operating systems are used.
You can start the Certificate programme in October or April. The Diploma course usually runs between September and May, though there is some flexibility with this. It's followed by the project which has a flexible timetable.
Normally, a student should be able to complete the MSc programme in around two and a half years. Please contact us if you need advice about the best start date for you.
Applicants for the Certificate should normally hold at least the equivalent of a UK pass degree.
Students from a wide variety of first degrees are accepted onto the course. Many students have first degrees in business, economics, engineering and the social sciences. However, we also encourage applications from other degrees.
English language requirements
In addition to academic qualifications, you must also be able to show that you have a sufficient grasp of English. If English is not your first language you'll need to provide evidence of your proficiency before you can begin the course. See the University's English language requirements webpage for details of what is required.
Some of the classes will require some mathematical manipulation. Knowledge of the topics below may well be expected. If you have problems with any of these you'll be required to do additional pre-course reading.
Ability to use a scientific calculator: Capable of using and understanding functions such as exp, log, x^y on a calculator.
Algebraic notation and manipulation; subscripts; simple results: Should feel comfortable manipulating equations and working with subscript notation. For example, student should be able to solve a quadratic equation, such as x2 + 2x + 1 = 0.
Logs and exponentials: Have a general understanding of the use of logs and exponentials; the ability to carry out logarithmic transformations; an understanding of the logarithmic and exponential laws of summation, division etc.
Graphs of simple functions: Ability to draw and interpret graphs of simple linear and non-linear mathematical functions
Differentiation (including differentiation of a product): the idea of a differential equation
An understanding of when differentiation is used: Ability to carry out differentiation on different functions, including functions that include the product of two variables; a basic understanding of how to solve equations that involve one or more derivatives; an understanding of what integration is; integration of polynomials and ex, integration by parts; understanding of when the use of integration is appropriate and the ability to carry out the integration of functions that contain variables with nonnegative integer powers.
Finite sums: Infinite sums of xi and xi /i!; ability to carry out sums of arithmetic and geometric series; ability to sum infinite series of elements that have the form ?xi or ?xi/i!, where, for example, i = 1 to 8.
Simple manipulation of vectors and matrices: Ability to carry out simple manipulation, such as addition, subtraction and multiplication of vectors and matrices.
In the department, we have very good links with business and have hosted recruitment events for many companies including Barclay’s Wealth, British Airways, Deloitte, Morgan Stanley, Rolls Royce, Sopra and SIMUL8, to name a few.
The skills you learn in the MSc make you very marketable to potential employers. Other employers where our graduates have found work include Clydesdale Bank, HSBC, PWC, RBS, Roland Berger and the Scottish Government.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated February 28, 2017