Ph.D. with Operations Research Focus

Course Requirements

Note: Course descriptions can be found in the University Bulletin.

The Operations Research Focus Area Qualifying Exam should be taken after taking the three core courses listed and three additional 5XX-level graduate classroom courses (9 credits) with an average GPA of 3.33 in all six classes.

Required Core Courses—Operations Research Area 

  • IE 597: Advanced Linear Programming
  • IE 597: Advanced Stochastic Processes 
  • IE 521: Nonlinear Programming

The additional 500-level required classroom courses can be taken in any subject area, however, students are strongly encouraged to take their additional courses in the operations research areas from Domains A and B (listed below), with at least one course from each domain. In addition, students are highly encouraged to take STAT 514 (Theory of Statistics II).

Domain A: Mathematical Programming

  • IE 510: Integer Programming
  • IE 512: Graphs and Networks
  • IE 519: Dynamic Programming
  • IE 520: Multiple Criteria Optimization
  • IE 588: Nonlinear Networks and the Price of Anarchy
  • IE 589: Dynamic Optimization and Differential Games
  • IE 597X: Convex Optimization
  • IE 597X: Robust Optimization
  • IE 597X: Stochastic Optimization

Domain B: Stochastic Processes/Statistical Methods

  • IE 509: Operations Research: Waiting Line Models
  • IE 511: Experimental Design in Engineering
  • IE 522: Discrete Event Systems Simulation
  • IE 530: Introduction to Financial Engineering
  • IE 555: Statistical Process Monitoring and Analysis
  • IE 583: Response Surface Methodology and Optimization
  • IE 584: Time Series Control and Process Adjustment
  • IE 597X: Stochastic Optimization
  • EE 560: Probability, Random Variables, and Stochastic Processes
  • STAT 513: Theory of Statistics I
  • STAT/MATH 517: Probability Theory I
  • STAT/MATH 518: Probability Theory II
  • STAT/MATH 519: Topics in Stochastic Processes
  • STAT 551: Linear Models 
  • STAT/MATH 557: Data Mining I
  • STAT 561: Statistical Inference I

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

The Qualifying Exam will cover topics from the three required core courses. The exam has two components: an in-class written exam and an oral exam. A student is expected to pass both of these components in order to successfully pass the Qualifying Exam. The process will be as follows:

  • In-class written exam: This exam will of three 1-hour exams associated with each core course. The exam will be closed book/notes unless a different format is announced in advance. An important aspect of the exam is to assess the way the student thinks about a given problem then approaches the solution. Each exam will be graded anonymously by the faculty member who prepared the questions. A student is deemed to have passed the written exam if s/he passes each of the three exams. If a student is deemed to have failed any of the three exams s/he will have to retake the exam(s) in the next round. The student will be deemed to have passed the written exam if s/he passes all three exams.
  • Oral exam: Students that pass the written exam will be allowed to take the oral portion of the exam. This component will be conducted by the Operations Research (OR) faculty and the student's adviser. The student will give a 20-minute presentation on a research topic selected by the student and the adviser. The OR faculty, except the adviser, may ask questions during or after the presentation related to the research topic or course material from the three core courses taken by the student. Each OR faculty, except the adviser, will grade the performance.


Doctoral Committee

English Proficiency Examination 

Comprehensive Examination

Dissertation Requirements

Final Defense

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