With its origins in the work of military planners, operational research - the use of advanced analytical methods to help make complex decisions – is a stimulating and demanding field which draws on both computing and statistics, and can be applied in almost all sectors of society. It's a technique that helps determine everything, from the layout of equipment in a factory and the setup of telecommunication networks to bus routes.
Why study MSc Operational Research at Middlesex?
At Middlesex we have very strong links with industry and our focus is on not only helping you to become an expert in the theory, but giving you the skills and experience that are in demand with employers.
During the course you will be tasked with solving real-life problems and evaluating their impact in business, government and industry – at the end you'll work on an independent project and dissertation and our intention is that you'll base that in industry too. We work in partnership with software company LAMA, who offer internships and projects for our students.
You'll hone both your mathematical skills and your computing abilities; you'll learn to build models and simulations, use advanced spreadsheets and become comfortable with a variety of software packages.
Upon graduation, you will be more than equipped to do a high-level strategic or entrepreneurial role in almost any sector, from aviation to banking. The problem-solving, decision-making and analytical skills you will acquire are sought after in a wide variety of public and private sector organisations.
Our focus is on enhancing your employability by allowing you to work with real data and on projects that will make a measureable difference to the businesses we collaborate with.
We’ll give you a thorough grounding in the concepts, theories, tools and methods used in operational research. You’ll become familiar with a variety of software packages and statistical analysis techniques, including models, simulations, spreadsheets, critical path analyses and ‘soft OR’ (which involves more qualitative techniques), and will learn to evaluate theories and methods and assess their strengths and limitations. You’ll learn about the role of operational research in business, government and industry and will work on real-world problems, using your critical judgment to develop hypotheses, analyse reasoning, choose research and analysis methods and interpret and present data.
There are four compulsory modules: optimisation theory; applied optimisation; computational complexity; and probability and stochastic modelling. In term two you’ll have the opportunity to specialise, choosing two options from data mining; time series and forecasting; and game and decision theories. Term three will be spent working on your dissertation, allowing you to become an expert in an area of your choosing.
Lectures will introduce you to concepts, techniques and core mathematical methods, which you’ll explore further through workshops, seminars, and discussions in class. You’ll apply your new knowledge in practical computer laboratory sessions. We’ll encourage you to think critically and analytically, and to work collaboratively – some of your work will be done in groups. In your spare time you’ll do your own independent reading, research and study.
You’ll be assessed through exams, your dissertation and other individual and group coursework, including laboratory work, project work and presentations. You’ll be given feedback on all your assessed coursework.
What are the entry requirements for MSc Operational Research?
A good honours degree, or equivalent qualification, in an appropriate subject
We also consider candidates with other relevant qualifications
Those without formal qualifications need to demonstrate three years' relevant work experience and the ability to study at postgraduate level.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
Academic credit for previous study or experience
If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
International entry requirements
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
Visas and immigration
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
English language requirements for international students
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
How can our MSc Operational Research support your career?
There is barely a field of modern society, business and government that does not rely on operational research to help with major decisions and problems and the quest to be as efficient as possible.
Operational research involves a huge variety of mathematical and analytical tools, from simulations and optimisations to the likes of queueing theory and neural networks, and is an area in which a great deal of academic and industrial research is continually being carried out.
As well as in-depth knowledge of your subject, our course will provide you with many transferable skills. It will improve your research, data collection and interpretation, communication, presentation and teamwork skills, as well as your confidence and your ability to work under your own initiative and manage your own time.
Programme leader Gary Hearne, is a principle teacher in the area of applied statistics, operational research and learning materials for skills development. His research areas include Mathematics and Statistics Education and the Use of ICT in teaching and Educaiton.