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MSc in Operational Research and Finance

Course Description

This programme is an ideal opportunity to provide yourself with the analytic skill set necessary for success in finance and business. From day one you will find yourself working with multinational organisations on case studies to develop your abilities in applied analytics and finance. Opportunities for summer projects in a wide range of industries are an integral part of the programme.

Full time study: This one year masters programme is suitable for numerate graduates. The MSc programme lasts for twelve months.

Part-time study: This scheme is suitable for numerate students who are qualified to enter the one year full time scheme but wish to study on a part time basis. Project work takes the special circumstances of a particular student into account.

The aim of the programme is to provide you with all the data analytics and optimisation skills required for a successful career in finance and other business organisations, therefore a wide spectrum of techniques and approaches are covered. For this reason staff from both the Mathematical Sciences and the Southampton Management School are involved with teaching on the MSc programme.

Programme objectives are:
-to give you a thorough knowledge of the mathematical, financial, computational and communication skills needed for the practical application of Operational Research and finance
-to give you a broad appreciation of related disciplines important in Operational Research
-to illustrate the use of Operational Research and finance tools in a wide range of applications. This part of the programme is not just descriptive since much of the application of Operational Research is best learned by active involvement. The 3-month summer project and computer workshops are designed with this in mind. In addition, seminars provide a forum for the discussion of practical Operational Research issues
-to introduce you to research methods and current issues in Operational Research and finance

Introducing your course

The MSc in Operational Research and Finance at the University of Southampton will equip you with skills in revenue management, credit scoring, and financial risk management that are highly sought by employers, and this degree will give you a deep understanding of applied analytics and financial modelling that is applicable across the financial institutions.
The summer dissertation gives you an opportunity to develop your research skills, often in a commercial setting, and our industrial liaison team will work with you to find a project that suits your skills and ambitions.

What is Operational Research and Finance?

Operational Research is the application of scientific methods to the study of complex organisational problems. In this degree course, there is an emphasis on complementary financial studies. Even within the same organisation Operational Research and Finance tends to be highly varied because of its project-driven nature. This breadth of experience offers an exciting and rewarding career in many financial organisations, enabling many Operational Research workers to progress to a career in general management. Moreover the nature of the work brings an Operations Research and Finance graduate into early contact with senior management, and career advancement is typically rapid.

Why do an MSc?

An MSc is generally accepted as being highly desirable for starting and developing a career in OR and financial modelling. The MSc is also a good preparation for research work.

A highlight of the programme is the 3-month summer project (http://www.southampton.ac.uk/cormsis/mscsummerproject/index.page). The student is usually placed with a nearby company and works on a real problem of practical importance to that company.


The Operational Research Group in Mathematics is a strong committed team of 11 lecturing staff and a number of research staff. The Group teaches a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as undertaking consultancy work for outside organisations. Many of the staff are internationally known in their fields of research.

CORMSIS Business Advisory Board

This Committee is a good indicator of the high regard in which the Southampton MSc programmes involving Operational Research are held by outside organisations. Its purpose is to ensure that the MSc programmes produce graduates with the requisite skills for the needs of industry. It also provides a focal point for liaison between the Operational Research Group and industry. You have the chance to meet the Committee several times during the year. Major companies including Shell, British Airways, BAA, BT, The AA, Dstl and HM Revenue & Customs are represented on the Committee.

Programme Structure

The full-time MSc programme is completed over a 12-month period. There are two semesters of taught material, lasting for just over 8 months, which account for 120 credit points (Diploma level). The MSc programme is completed subject to achievement of progression requirements with a project lasting over 3 months.

Compulsory modules: Corporate finance; Deterministic OR methods; Presenting reports; Spreadsheet and database modelling; Statistical methods; Stochastic OR methods; Visual basic for applications

Optional modules: Constraint satisfaction; Consultancy skills; Credit scoring and data mining; Economics; Financial portfolio theory; Financial risk management; Forecasting; Game theory; Project management; Trends in IT.

Learning & Assessment

The programme is taught through a mixture of lectures, computer workshops, case studies and project work. Assessment is made using examinations, presentations, coursework assignments and a final dissertation.

Visit the MSc in Operational Research and Finance page on the University of Southampton website for more details!

Entry Requirements

First or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in a subject involving a significant amount of quantitative work (e.g. computer science, economics, engineering, mathematics, physics, statistics), or relevant work experience.

Last Updated

06 March 2017

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