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Course content


This programme is an ideal opportunity to provide yourself with the analytic skill set necessary for success in business and industry. From day one you will find yourself working with multinational organisations on case studies to develop your abilities in applied analytics. 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.

Many prestigious organisations recruit our students because of the strong vocational training on this programme. You should be numerate, a good communicator with strong interpersonal skills, and enjoy problem-solving. A three-month project follows successful completion of the instructional component. The majority of projects involve either working on a placement or in partnership with a company or organisation.

Introducing your course

Operational researchers play a fundamental role in the modern world, providing analytics and guidance to management teams. This MSc will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide effective solutions to complex organizational challenges in a business environment. You will study modules such as revenue management and forecasting and you will learn to use optimization techniques to enhance productivity.

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?

Operational Research is the application of scientific methods to the study of complex organisational problems. Even within the same organisation Operational Research tends to be highly varied because of its project-driven nature. This breadth of experience offers an exciting and rewarding career in many organisations and in general management. Moreover the nature of the work brings an Operations Research 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. The MSc is also a good preparation for research work.

A highlight of the programme is the 3-month summer project. 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.


Compulsory modules: Deterministic Operational Research (OR) Methods; Presenting Reports; Case Studies; Problem Structuring; Data Analytics; Statistical Methods; Stochastic OR Methods; Visual Basic for Applications

Optional modules include: Credit Scoring and Data Mining; Financial Portfolio Theory; Forecasting; Game Theory in Business; Healthcare Modelling; Nonlinear Optimisation; Project Management; Revenue Management; Data Visualisation Plus dissertation as three-month project (MSc only)

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





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