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Operational Research (distance learning) (MSc)

Course Description

Why this course?

Operational Research (called "Operations Research" in some parts of the world) has been briefly described as the "scientific analysis of decisions". It's concerned with assisting and advising decision-makers in a wide variety of settings.

The MSc in Operational Research aims to realise the potential of graduates, so that you immediately can play an effective role in providing model-based support to managers helping them to make better decisions at an operational/technical level.

You’ll develop a rigorous academic understanding of advanced analytical methods that are used to provide structured and analytical approaches to decision-making. You’ll also develop practical skills in using operational research models to support decision-makers.

See the website https://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduatetaught/operationalresearchdistancelearning/

You’ll study

All classes are taught using material presented via the internet. Classes are supported by faculty members who also teach on the full-time course. They will guide and support discussion via discussion forums.

The programme contains three stages. In progressing towards completion of the MSc students will undertake the following:

Postgraduate Certificate in Operational Research

This includes five compulsory classes and one elective class all of which can be completed fully online.

Compulsory classes:
1. Foundations of Operational Research & Business Analysis
2. Quantitative Business Analysis
3. Managing Business Operations
4. Spreadsheet Modelling & Demand Forecasting
5. Operational Research Methods

Elective classes:
One optional class chosen from:
1. Business Simulation Methods
2. Risk Analysis & Management
3. Decison Analysis
4. Advanced Operations Research Modeling using specialist software tools

Postgraduate Diploma in Operational Research

After completion of the Postgraduate certificate two further elective classes and one compulsory class are required to be undertaken.

Compulsory class:
1. Becoming an effective operational research modeller

Elective classes:
Two elective classes chosen from same list as for the Postgraduate Certificate.

If you wish to proceed to the Postgraduate Diploma you need to be in appropriate employment. The final decision as to what is "appropriate employment" remains with the University of Strathclyde. However, if your employment covers all of the following, you're likely to be in the correct type of post:
- solving problems owned by someone else
- ill-defined problems
- working in teams
- the opportunity to use a variety of Business Analysis techniques
- your work has an influence on the operation of your organisations

Your employment should require some analysis of business situations, in the private or public sector. Samples of your work will form the basis of reflection and learning projects, guided by a personal mentor.

MSc in Operational Research

Students who complete the Diploma and gain sufficient marks to proceed to the MSc will be expected to undertake a project. The project will be integrated with your employment. You'll have individual personal mentoring to guide you in reflection and learning.

Technical requirements

To undertake this course you need to have:
- Modern PC running Windows Vista or higher, web cam, headset with microphone
- Minimum 2Mb/sec broadband connection
- Microsoft Excel 2010 or higher

NB: Some of the course software is Windows-only and will not run under Linux or on Macintosh computers so use of a PC or PC-emulation software is essential if these operating systems are used.

Start dates

You can start the Certificate programme in October or April. The Diploma course usually runs between September and May, though there is some flexibility with this. It's followed by the project which has a flexible timetable.

Normally, a student should be able to complete the MSc programme in around two and a half years. Please contact us if you need advice about the best start date for you.

English language requirements

In addition to academic qualifications, you must also be able to show that you have a sufficient grasp of English. If English is not your first language you'll need to provide evidence of your proficiency before you can begin the course.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.


In the department, we have very good links with business and have hosted recruitment events for many companies including Barclay’s Wealth, British Airways, Deloitte, Morgan Stanley, Rolls Royce, Sopra and SIMUL8, to name a few.

The skills you learn in the MSc make you very marketable to potential employers. Other employers where our graduates have found work include Clydesdale Bank, HSBC, PWC, RBS, Roland Berger and the Scottish Government.

Find information on Scholarships here http://www.strath.ac.uk/search/scholarships/index.jsp

Visit the Operational Research (distance learning) (MSc) page on the University of Strathclyde website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Paul Hector

Studying on line was a great option! It allowed me to continue to work and be with my family. Course lecturers were very responsive and I was gaining new knowledge some of which I was able to apply at work and also at home! This really helped keep me motivated!!

(Student Profile)

Nathi Myataza

I found the Distance Education model used by Strathclyde University to be quite user-friendly and a good combination of traditional "correspondence" studies with a good measure of using available technology. The teaching staff for all modules have proved to be knowledgable and very helpful and understanding. So has been the support and non-academic staff.


Entry Requirements

Applicants for the Certificate should normally hold at least the equivalent of a UK pass degree. Students from a wide variety of first degrees are accepted onto the course. Many students have first degrees in business, economics, engineering and the social sciences. However, we also encourage applications from other degrees.

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