Master of Science in Operations Research
Operations Research is an applied science and is concerned with quantitative decision problems, generally involving the allocation and control of limited resources. Such problems arise, for example, in the operations of industrial firms, financial institutions, healthcare organizations, transportation systems, energy and resources, and government. The operations research analyst develops and uses mathematical and statistical models to help solve these decision problems. Like engineers, they are problem formulators and solvers. Their work requires the formation of a mathematical model of a system and the analysis and prediction of the consequences of alternate modes of operating the system. The analysis may involve mathematical optimization techniques, probabilistic and statistical methods, experiments, and computer simulations. Operations Research courses have been offered at Columbia University since 1952.
Degree required for admission: Students admitted to the program must possess a bachelor's degree in engineering, science, mathematics, computer science, statistics, economics with a minor in mathematics, or another related field from an accredited academic institution. Students should possess a strong mathematics background (three terms calculus, one term ordinary differential equations required; one term linear algebra recommended). Applicants should have a strong undergraduate record to be competitive for admission.
- GPA required: Minimum of 3.0
- GRE requirements: General test required
Other application requirements: Two recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required. TOEFL test scores are required of all students who received their bachelor's degree in a country where English is not the official and spoken language. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application.
Breadth requirement: Any high-level programming course (such as Fortran, Pascal, or C, the latter of which is highly recommended)
Students must complete all required courses for a total of 30 graduate points of academic work via CVN with an academic average of 2.5 or better. At least 18 of these credits must be Industrial Engineering and Operations Research courses. All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of the beginning of the first course credited toward the degree. This includes courses taken in the non-degree program.
The following core courses must be included unless they or their equivalents have been completed prior to admission to the program:
- SIEO W4150 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
- IEOR E4004 Introduction to Operations Research: Deterministic Models or IEOR E4007 Optimization Models and Methods for Financial Engineers*
- IEOR E4106 Introduction to Operations Research: Stochastic Models or IEOR E4701 Stochastic Models for Financial Engineering*
- IEOR E4404 Simulation or IEOR E4703 Monte Carlo Simulation*
*Course focuses on applications to the financial services industry. Only one course, not both, can be applied to the program.
And six elective courses chosen in consultation with the IEOR Faculty advisor.
- A processing fee of $200 is required for first-time applicants to a graduate degree program.
- The Graduate Student Services Office will only process applications which are submitted with an application fee. The processing fee is non-refundable. Please make the check payable to Columbia Video Network.
- Applications for more than one degree program cannot be processed simultaneously.
Please note: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Once a completed application has been received it will be processed and given to the Admissions Committee for review. Applications will be considered for the next upcoming semester's admissions cycle. For example, an application received in February will be evaluated for the upcoming Summer semester. Only completed applications will be submitted to the Admissions Committee for review.
- Official transcripts from each college/university you have attended or are currently attending must be submitted with the application. Transcripts must be in the original, sealed envelope.
- Credits which appear as transfer credits on any other transcript are not valid; an official transcript from the school where the credits were earned must be submitted.
- Students who have previously or are currently enrolled at Columbia University must request that copies of their transcripts be sent to CVN at Columbia Video Network, 500 W 120th St, 540 MUDD, MC 4719, New York, NY 10027
- The Graduate Student Services Office requests that transcripts be submitted with the application. If you foresee a delay in submitting official transcripts, please attach an unofficial set to the application. Your file may be reviewed by the department with a complete set of unofficial documents; however, you will be required to submit official transcripts before you will be formally admitted to a graduate degree program.
- All materials submitted in support of an application, whether official or unofficial, become the property of Columbia University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other schools or agencies. Since your documents will not be returned, we suggest that you keep copies of any documents you may need for your personal records.
Required Exam Scores
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test results are required of all MS applicants. GRE scores are valid for 5 years.
- TOEFL or IELTS is required of all candidates who have not received their bachelor's degree in a country where English is the official spoken language. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years.
- All score reports must be official and sent to Graduate Admissions directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
- The Columbia Engineering CEEB code is 2111 (not 2162 which belongs to the Graduate School of Arts and Science).
These application materials are designed to help individuals provide personal and academic information about themselves, which will be used to evaluate their candidacy for admission to graduate study in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. Applicants can assist the Graduate Admissions office in providing prompt feedback about their application status by not submitting extraneous information which has not been requested such as excessive numbers of recommendation letters, copies of abstracts and theses, videotapes and/or photographs of research work, and secondary school transcripts. The information below indicates what items are required for a complete application.
- Degree application form (online)
- Two recommendation letters in sealed envelopes via mail, or directly from the recommender via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Official GRE general exam results
- All score reports must be official and sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS)
- The Columbia Engineering CEEB code is 2111
TOEFL or IELTS test results (if applicable) One copy of official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary colleges/universities Personal/Professional Statement - a concise (not more than two pages) typewritten statement outlining your academic and professional goals Resume/Curriculum Vitae $200 Application Fee Transfer Credits Form (if applicable)
Please note: Students that begin their studies at Columbia University under non-matriculated status through CVN must continue to take all of their coursework through CVN. When applying for admission to a degree program, students must submit all of their application materials directly to Columbia Video Network for processing. Applications that are sent directly to the Office of Graduate Student Services or submitted online via the ApplyYourself Application form instead of CVN's forms will result in total forfeiture of all credits taken under non-matriculated status through CVN. All Columbia courses to be used towards a student's program must be completed via CVN. Also, note that any student taking courses under the auspices of CVN can take on-campus courses solely under the administrative guidance of CVN with advisor approval.
Tuition and Fees
Please note that all tuition and fees are in U.S. dollars and are estimated. Tuition and most fees are prescribed by statute and are subject to change at the discretion of the Trustees.
- CVN Credit Tuition:$1782 per point (Credit Hour)
- CVN Audit Tuition:$834 per point (Credit Hour)
- CVN Fee:$395 per course
- Transcript Fee:$105 non-refundable one-time fee
- Graduate Admission Application Fee:$200 non-refundable one-time fee
- Certification Program Application Fee:$150 non-refundable one-time fee
- Late Registration Fee:$100 non-refundable fee
- CVN Withdrawal Fee:$75, plus prorated tuition and all non-refundable fees
A three-credit course would be $5346 + transcript fee $105(one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $5846
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