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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Operations Research (O R)

Program Home Page

JOSE A. VENTURA, Chair
356 Leonhard Building
University Park, PA  16802
814-865-3841
jav1@psu.edu

Degrees Conferred:

Students electing this option through participating programs earn a degree with a dual title at both the Ph.D. and the M.S., M.A., or M.Eng. levels, i.e., Ph.D. in (graduate program name) and Operations Research, or M.S., M.A., or M.Eng. in (graduate program name) and Operations Research.

The following graduate programs offer dual-title degrees in Operations Research:  Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Animal Science; Business Administration; Civil Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Economics; Educational  Leadership; Energy, Environmental, and Food Economics; Energy and Mineral Engineering; Entomology; Forest Resources; Geography; Geosciences; Hospitality Management; Industrial Engineering; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Statistics; and Workforce Education and Development.

 

The Graduate Faculty

The Program

The Operations Research dual-title degree program is administered by an Operations Research committee, which is responsible for management of the program. The committee maintains program definition, identifies faculty and courses appropriate to the option, and recommends policy and procedures for its operation to the dean of the Graduate School. This dual-title degree program is offered by graduate major programs in eight colleges. The dual-title program enables students from diverse graduate programs to attain and be identified with the tools, techniques, and methodology of operations research, while maintaining a close association with areas of application. Operations research is the analysis--usually involving mathematical treatment--of a process, problem, or operation to determine its purpose and effectiveness and to gain maximum efficiency. Students must apply and be admitted to one of the approved graduate programs and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program.

Admission Requirements

For the M.S., M.A., M.Eng. dual-title degree in Operations Research, in addition to those prescribed by the graduate major program, prerequisites for acceptance to the program without deficiency include the following or their equivalent: MATH 140, MATH 141, MATH 220; CMPSC 101; and 3 credits of probability and statistics.

For the Ph.D. dual-title degree in Operations Research, in addition to those prescribed by the graduate major program, prerequisites for acceptance to the program without deficiency include the following or their equivalent: MATH 401, MATH 436; CMPSC 101; and 3 credits of probability and statistics.

Doctoral students must apply and be admitted to the Operations Research dual-title program prior to taking the candidacy exam.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for a dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the graduate major programs in which they are enrolled, in addition to the minimum requirements, or their equivalent, in the Operations Research program. Students must enroll in O R 590 Colloquium for at least 1 credit in each year enrolled in the program and in residence.

For the M.S. or M.A. dual-title degree in Operations Research, the minimum requirements are: 6 credits in stochastic/statistical methods, including a minimum of 3 credits in each of the areas of statistical methods and stochastic processes; 6 credits in optimization, including a minimum of 3 credits in linear programming; 3 credits in computational methods; and 3 credits in applications/specialization. (Application courses are those that involve problem solving through the use of decision methods.) A minimum of 9 credits must be in the 500 series. Particular courses may satisfy both the graduate major program requirements and those in the Operations Research program. A list of courses that will satisfy these requirements is maintained by the graduate program office.

A thesis may be required by the graduate major program, the supervisor of which must be a member of the Graduate Faculty recommended by the chair of the program granting the degree and approved by the Operations Research committee as qualified to supervise thesis work in operations research. If the graduate major program has an approved non-thesis track for the M.A./M.S. degree, a scholarly paper may be written in lieu of a thesis. All M.Eng. students and M.A./M.S. students who choose to submit a scholarly paper instead of a thesis must take an additional 6 credits in the Operations Research program. It is the prerogative of the graduate major program to assign these credits to one or more of the following categories: stochastic/statistical methods, optimization, computational methods, or applications.

The minimum requirements for the Ph.D. dual-title degree in Operations Research are: 9 credits in stochastic/statistical methods, including a minimum of 3 credits in each of the areas of statistical methods and stochastic processes; 9 credits in optimization, including a minimum of 3 credits in linear programming; 6 credits in computational methods, including a minimum of 3 credits in simulation; and 12 credits in applications/specialization. A minimum of 18 credits must be in the 500 series, and particular courses may satisfy both the graduate major program requirements and those in the Operations Research program.

The candidacy examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Operations Research program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single candidacy examination, containing elements of both the primary graduate degree program and Operations Research. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the chair and at least two members of the doctoral committee of an Operations Research dual-title Ph.D. student must be members of the Operations Research Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. The Operations Research representatives on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in both their primary graduate program and Operations Research. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

A Ph.D. minor program in Operations Research is available for doctoral students who find it advantageous to include advanced quantitative methods of systems analysis in their programs of study and have been approved to do so by their doctoral committees. To qualify for a minor in Operations Research, students must satisfy the requirements of their graduate major programs, meet the same admissions prerequisites as the M.S. dual-title degree students, and meet the following minimum degree requirements: 6 credits in stochastic/statistical methods, including a minimum of 3 credits in each of the areas of statistical methods and stochastic processes; 6 credits in optimization; and 3 credits in computational methods. A minimum of 6 credits must be taken at the 500 level.

Official requests to add the minor to a doctoral candidate’s academic record must be submitted to Graduate Enrollment Services prior to establishment of the doctoral committee and prior to scheduling the comprehensive examination. At least one Graduate Faculty member from Operations Research must serve on the candidate’s doctoral committee.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Student Aid section of the Graduate Bulletin. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

OPERATIONS RESEARCH (O R) course list

Last Revised by the Department: Summer Semester 2017

Blue Sheet Item #: 46-01-000

Review Date: 8/22/2017

Faculty linked: 6/27/14

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