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Operational research courses

Operational research is concerned with making crucial decisions through in-depth analysis utilising complex mathematical calculations. Sometimes it goes under other names like “management science” or “industrial engineering”. Where businesses are keen to make every penny count, those in operational research are called on to study their practices and customers to see where they can be more efficient and focused, in order to get the absolute most out of budget, time and resources.

Studying operational research at university

Example course modules

  • Introduction to probability and operational research
  • Vector algebra and dynamics
  • Waves and vector fields
  • Statistical methods
  • Linear models
  • Numerical analysis
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Statistical inference
  • Methods of operational research

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 42%
    Male : 58%
  • Mature : 3%
    School leaver : 97%
  • Full-time : 100%
    Part-time : 0%

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Maths

Useful to have

  • No Specific Requirements

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
With an expert understanding of information systems, you’ll find that you have a large number of graduate opportunities available to you. A large part of information systems is taking huge amounts of data, and creating and managing software and hardware which interacts with this e.g. gathering, storing, filtering and distributing this. So in the era of “Big Data” where information about individuals is being recorded on a grand level, there is a high demand for individuals who can create systems to manage this. That said the field can be competitive. That’s why it’s important to gain as much additional work experience on top of any you undertake as part of your degree; especially that where you get to interact with individuals in a corporate setting, so you can sharpen your commercial awareness and ability to interpret business needs from those without a technical background, and advise them onwards.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Business, research and administrative professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Economist
  • Ergonomist
  • Financial risk analyst

Other real-life job examples

  • Management consultant
  • Market researcher
  • Risk manager

What employers like about this subject

Operational research graduates bring to problem-solving a thoroughly-analytical nature, combining sound logic and reasoning with advanced mathematical, organisation and planning skills. These are all qualities which employers look on favourably, no matter field or role so operational research graduates shouldn’t have too much trouble moving across areas. And by showing that your decisions have positively impacted a business in some form of measurable way, you’ll progress quickly.