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Military Operational Research (MSc/PgDip/PgCert)

Course Description

Course Description

The course provides a detailed exposure to the context, issues and methods used to analyse the increasingly complex problems which are found in the defence environment and to support decision making. It exposes the types of analysis and allows practical experience of tools and methods which are used, ranging from judgemental analysis through mathematical techniques to models and simulations. The course includes judgemental elicitation and analysis techniques, mathematical analysis methods (including optimisation), war gaming and combat modelling, logistics modelling and simulation methods. The use and utility of all the methods are explored through practical exercises and studies.

Course overview

The modular form of the course, consisting of a compulsory core and a selection of Standard and Advanced modules, enables you to select the course of study most appropriate to your particular requirements.

Standard modules normally comprise a week of teaching (or equivalent for distance learning) followed by a further week of directed study/coursework (or equivalent for part time and distance learning).

Advanced modules, which will enable you to explore some areas in greater depth, are two week (or equivalent for part time and distance learning) individual mini-projects on an agreed topic in that subject, which includes a written report and oral presentation.

- MSc students must complete a taught phase consisting of eight standard modules, which includes two core modules (Introduction to Operational Research Techniques and Decision Analysis), plus four advanced modules, followed by an individual thesis in a relevant topic. Thesis topics will be related to problems of specific interest to students and sponsors or local industry wherever possible.
- PgDip students are required to undertake the same taught phase as the MSc, but without the individual thesis.
- PgCert students must complete the core module (Introduction to Operational Research Techniques) together with five other modules; up to three of these may be advanced modules.

On successful completion of the course you will:

- Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the methods, techniques and tools for modelling defence problems and systems
- Be able to critically assess a range of approaches and methods to help support defence analysis and decision-making.

10 places are normally available for the full-time cohort.

The course is suitable for both military and civilian personnel, including those from defence industry and government departments

Individual Project

An individual research project on an agreed topic that allows you to demonstrate your technical expertise, independent learning abilities and critical appraisal skills.


Part-time students will typically not study as a cohort, but will follow an agreed individual programme of study, attending courses as convenient.
Advanced Modules, which typically comprise individual self-study, can be selected to follow on from any standard modules that have been chosen.
Standard Modules, which typically involve traditional classroom instruction and/or VLE-based delivery, can be chosen from the following:

Core -

Decision Analysis
Introduction to Operational Research Techniques

Optional -

Advanced Decision Analysis
Advanced Discrete and Continuous Simulation
Advanced Logistics Modelling
Advanced War Gaming and Combat Modelling
Applied Optimisation
Computational Statistics
Discrete and Continuous Simulation
Further Operational Research Techniques
Intelligent Systems
Intelligent Systems - Research Study
Logistics Modelling
Neural Networks
Statistical Analysis and Trials
War Gaming and Combat Modelling
Weapon System Performance Assessment


Continuous assessment, written examinations, oral vivas and (MSc only) thesis.
Proportions of different assessment types will vary according to programme and elective options chosen. For an MSc these might typically comprise 15-24% continuous assessment (written and oral), 36-45% written examinations and 40% thesis/dissertation.

Career opportunities

Equips you for:

- Appointments within the armed forces or government, or in the defence related activities of commercial organisations.
- Further research leading to a PhD.

Further Information

For further information on this course, please visit our course webpage - http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/Courses/Masters/Military-Operational-Research

Visit the Military Operational Research (MSc/PgDip/PgCert) page on the Cranfield University at Shrivenham website for more details!

Student Profiles

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) - 20+ Awards

Cranfield University is now able to offer you a more affordable way to study an MSc with loans managed by Prodigy Finance.With a Cranfield Postgraduate Loan it is possible for you to take up your MSc studies with no repayments while you study. This will leave you free to concentrate on your course and enhance your career prospects.Launched in February 2014, the scheme is designed to support UK and EU students entering postgraduate study and is intended to attract those who may not otherwise progress to this level because of financial constraints.Loans of up to £15,000 are available (dependent on the tuition fees for your chosen course).
If you are a UK student, loans are available for tuition fees and maintenance. EU students can apply for a loan covering only tuition fees.
Loans are repaid over a seven year period and repayments start six months after you complete your degree. As a not-for-profit scheme, funded by Cranfield and HEFCE, the loans are competitively priced (6.92% APR representative) and considerably more affordable than a standard career development loan.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Loans of up to £15,000 total


You can apply for a loan if you:• are domiciled in the UK or EU and qualify for ‘Home/EU’ fees and
• have an admissions offer to a Cranfield full-time, taught MSc course in a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering or Mathematics) subject

Application Procedure

If you already have an applicable course offer you can apply online through Prodigy Finance. You will need to provide Prodigy Finance with details of your offer from Cranfield. Your loan application will be considered and responded to within a few days.If you are yet to secure an offer of a place you can register your interest in the scheme and we will keep you up-to-date.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree (or equivalent) ideally in a related subject. Other recognised professional qualifications or several years relevant industrial experience may be accepted as equivalent; subject to approval by the Course Director. For further and specific information please visit the course page.

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Recipient: Cranfield University at Shrivenham

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