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  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

  • Course Type

    MSc, PgDip, PgCert

  • Course Fees

    See Website

Course content

Why this course?

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.

Study mode and duration:
- MSc: 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time
- PgDip: 9 months full-time or 21 months part-time
- Distance learning options available

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

You’ll study

Study for the Postgraduate Diploma degree lasts nine months, following the same taught classes as for the MSc. As well as allowing you to complete a recognised course in a shorter time, the Diploma provides the opportunity for a wider range of applicants to enter the operational research world. Students demonstrating sufficient progress may be allowed to transfer in-course to study for the MSc.

The course is structured comprising four classes each semester, with the ‘Becoming an Effective Operational Researcher’ module running through both semesters. The first semester involves only core classes, whereas the second semester involves only one core class and three electives.

- Dissertation
MSc students undertake a three-month project. This is typically for an external organisation. You’ll apply the concepts and theories studied on the course.
Subject to demand, the MSc can also be obtained part-time, over two or three years. The same topics are studied, normally 1 to 2 days per week. Most part-time students are already in employment and are sponsored by their employers. They carry out their project work within their own organisations.

Distance learning option

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

This is a flexible degree and duration can vary. Minimum durations are PgCert: 13 months; PgDip: 20 months; MSc: 26 months.

Work placement

The apprenticeship scheme forms a vital component of the MSc in Operational Research. Through the scheme, many of our students spend an invaluable three weeks in January working in the analytical function of their host organisation.

Last year, more than 35 selected students worked with over 25 different organisations based all over the UK, including Capita, Department of Health, Diageo, Doosan Babcock, First Scotrail, Glasgow City Council, NHS, RBS, Scottish Enterprise, SEP, Scottish Water, and Tesco Bank.

Students work on all manner of projects that link directly to their semester 1 classes, allowing them to deliver real work that can make an immediate impact to their host organisations. Every year, our students gain not only valuable experience that is relevant to their job hunt, but also make contacts that can be of assistance throughout their career.

The scheme has a highly competitive selection process, where the students with the strongest generic skills and academic capabilities are chosen for external placements. Other students are also given invaluable opportunities to work with external organisations in this three week period, for example in the form of group projects analysing their operations.

In addition, many MSc projects are carried out for an external organisation. Students spend the three months from July to September working on a project of importance to their clients. The aim is to gain direct experience in applying the concepts and theories studied on the course. Projects may be carried out individually or in small teams of two or three students. Project clients include many major concerns, in fields ranging from aerospace to whisky distilling.

Major projects

Most of the taught modules on the programme introduce you to a variety of techniques, methods, models and approaches. However, the practical reality of applying analytical methods in business is often far removed from the classroom. Working with decision-makers on real issues presents a variety of challenges. For example, data may well be ambiguous and hard to come by, it may be far from obvious which business analysis methods can be applied and managers will need to be convinced of the business merits of any suggested solutions. While traditional teaching can alert students to such issues, understanding needs to be reinforced by experience.

This is primarily addressed by the core module ‘Becoming an Effective Business Analyst’, which takes place over both semesters and also involves the ‘apprenticeship scheme’. Every year, case studies and challenging projects are presented to the students by various organisations such as Accenture, British Airways, RBS and Simul8.


Strathclyde’s Business School is one of the largest institutions of its kind in Europe. We have around 200 academic staff and more than 3,000 full-time students.

The departments and specialist units work together to provide a dynamic, fully-rounded and varied programme of specialist and cross-disciplinary postgraduate courses.

Course awards

Strathclyde MSc Operational Research students were awarded the May Hicks Prize of the OR Society three years in a row:
- Christoph Werner (2013)
- Geraint Roberts (2012)
- Rutger Albrink (2011)

The prize recognizes the best industry-based student projects in operational research and has an award of £1,000.

Student competitions

Every year, the best overall performance in the MSc Operational Research course is recognised by the Tony Christer Prize. The prize involves a formal recognition by the department and an award of £100.

English language requirements

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Border Agency (please check most up-to-date list) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.
For others, the department requires a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 (with no individual component below 5.5 (or equivalent)). Pre-sessional courses in English are available.
If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA), please check English requirements before making your application.

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 (MSc/PgDip/PgCert) page on the University of Strathclyde website for more details!





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