People employed in O.R. are graduates with good degrees. O.R. is a multidisciplinary area where entry is not limited to people with particular qualifications. Whilst many have followed courses with a significant mathematical, statistical or computing content, opportunities can exist for people from other disciplines and those who move into O.R. from other professions.
The following pages are designed to highlight some of the qualifications that you could gain in order to have a career in O.R.
If you are still at school, studying for your A levels or have not previously studied for a bachelors degree and you are interested in a career in O.R. then you will need to gain a good numerate degree.
It is important that the degree you choose has a substantial amount of quantitative and analytical content, for example, mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, economics, management or the sciences.
Alternatively you could choose to study a degree in O.R. or a degree with O.R. content. These courses would introduce you to a number of O.R. techniques such as computer simulation, optimisation, queuing theory, inventory control, and problem structuring methods.
You can view a list of universities that offer undergraduate degree courses in O.R. and with O.R. content on the Undergraduate Degree Courses page.
If you are considering postgraduate study in order to enhance your employment opportunities, looking to continue your professional development or are looking to change professions then you could study for a Masters in Operational Research.
A Masters in O.R. is valued by employers because it combines the logical thinking of a mathematician with practical business skills to help managers make better decisions.
Candidates for a Masters need strong quantitative skills and hold a good degree in a numerate subject or alternatively some universities will consider professional qualifications and relevant work experience judged to be at a comparable level to a degree.
Students will learn a number of O.R. techniques such as computer simulation, optimisation, queuing theory, inventory control, and problem structuring methods. You’ll also get a good balance between the theoretical work and an appreciation of the application of these techniques, and this will be through case studies and projects which might involve working with an organisation on a real world problem.
You can view a list of universities that offer postgraduate degree courses in O.R. and with O.R. content on the Postgraduate Degree Courses page.
Once you have studied for a Masters degree you may wish to carry on studying and research a particular area of O.R.
You can view a list of universities with research opportunities in O.R. on the Research Opportunities page.
You may be studying for a PhD in a mathematical area, but be interested in learning more about O.R. techniques. NATCOR (A National Taught Course Centre in Operational Research) is a collaboration between six universities to develop and deliver taught courses in O.R. to PhD students. It is part of a drive to deepen and broaden PhD studies in the UK across the mathematical sciences. The courses are designed to be of interest to all doctoral students who wish to have a greater knowledge of the underlying theory and application of O.R. technologies. Further, the courses give students in other areas of mathematics an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge of direct industrial relevance.
For further information please visit the NATCOR website.