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Kansas State University

Operations Research

Operations Research Master’s Degree
Master of Science
Interdisciplinary field of applied mathematics used to optimize decision making
Course Delivery
Application Requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, engineering, mathematics, statistics, or business
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above for the last 60 hours of courses taken
  • Other requirements
Completion Requirements
  • 30 credit hours with 3.0 minimum GPA
  • Final master’s culminating experience upon completion of coursework

During the past decade, online courses have increased in popularity, especially for professionals looking to further their education. Kansas State University offers a Master of Science in Operations Research (MSOR) to off-campus students residing both in and out of the United States. This program is offered by the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department (IMSE).

What is Operations Research?

Operations Research (OR) is an interdisciplinary field of applied mathematics that models and solves problems with some objective that should be maximized or minimized. Thus, OR can be described as a set of mathematical tools used to optimize decision making.

An operations research analyst studies a real world problem and develops a mathematical model of this problem. This model typically includes an objective or goal that is maximized (profit, production, benefits for constituents, etc.) or minimized (cost, risk, waiting time, etc.) and a set of constraints (budget, resources, staff, time, etc.). The constraints ensure that the solution can be implemented. The analyst uses existing methods or develops new methods to find the optimal or near-optimal solution to this model. These methods are derived from numerous fields including mathematical programming, statistics, probability theory, scheduling theory, queuing theory, simulation, computer science, and graph theory. The solution is implemented in the real world, which usually results in dramatic benefits over the previous state of the system.

How is Operations Research Used?

There are so many successful applications of OR that society has become dependent on these models and solutions. In fact, OR models have infiltrated nearly every sector of society because people recognize that an inferior solution wastes money, time, and effort. A few of the thousands of successful applications include transporting goods, creating airline schedules, managing portfolios, researching genetics, fighting cancer, optimizing call centers, and developing sports schedules.

Due to OR’s versatility, operations research analysts typically have a high salary and are employed in a wide range of industries. A few of the many industries that hire OR students include airlines, financial companies, governmental agencies, consulting companies, and transportation agencies.

Contact Information

Ellen Stauffer
K-State Global Campus
245 College Court Building
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone: 785-532-2562

Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Kansas State University
Durland Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-5101
Phone: 785-532-5606
Fax: 785-532-3738