Online PhD in Operations Research

Students who pursue an online PhD in Operations Research do so to develop the skills and tools they will need to build, manage, and apply mathematical engineering systems in real-world settings. Online PhD programs in Operations Research teach students to follow deliberate thought processes, but also to consider the practicality behind theories to help students excel and succeed in their careers. The study of a PhD program in this field is applicable to a number of industries. It focuses on the development and application of complex mathematical and simulation models so that students can effectively identify and solve issues within operational systems. An online PhD Operations Research degree generally takes students about four years to complete and is research intensive with courses in statistics, computer information technology, systems engineering, and statistical quality control. Throughout the course of earning the online Operations Research PhD, students will be responsible for observing practices in operational systems settings, documenting research, maintaining an exemplary GPA, and focusing on mathematics and the scientific methods of operations research. At the end of the online doctorate program in Operations Research, students are responsible for producing a dissertation, which is a lengthy book-type overview of findings, research, and analysis of procedures and practices in the field.

About Online PhD Programs in Operations Research

The best online doctoral programs in Operations Research are ideal for those professionals who want to refine their skills through the required course work, therefore mastering theory and application to be able to apply new and advanced skills into careers in this field. Those seeking top online PhD degrees in Operations Research can choose to focus on the methodology and theory of operations research, or on the application of the models and methods of the field. Regardless of the route a PhD student takes, he or she will have the knowledge to apply advanced methods of statistical analysis to the operation of organizations, come up with theoretical approaches to research issues, and consider all options available to make the best informed decisions in the workplace. In order to fully understand these concepts and be able to apply them in real life situations, students will be required to take part in projects or assignments that will include showing knowledge in theories of operations research, human systems integration, statistical quality control, and the processes of systems engineering. For example, students may be required to critique research or journal articles in the field or produce a detailed paper about progress on research, concepts learned, and strategies in the management of operations. Online doctorate in Operations Research degree programs also generally require students to take part in online discussions and chat forums dealing with concepts, theories, and knowledge learned in the field.

Year One:

  • Foundations for Doctoral Studies. This course will teach students what they need to know about the doctoral program, the requirements, and what is expected of them.
  • Research Theory, Design, and Methods. This course will prepare students with the knowledge, concepts, and skills needed to understand, analyze, and design research at the doctorate level.
  • Management of Information Technologies. In this course, students will gain knowledge of the required tools and techniques that are commonly used to manage and improve technology in order to apply it to business. These tools include the development of information systems, budgeting controls, planning and implementation of computer resources, and personnel management

Year Two:

  • Project Management. This course teaches students how to properly manage projects with topics including effective management styles, focusing on critical factors to ensure success, and technical planning.
  • Systems Analysis, Design, and Implementation. The purpose of this course is to examine the analysis, design, and development of computer-based information systems.
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis . This course allows students to explore and gain knowledge of research designs and statistics, the importance of quality assurance, and ethical and social change implications.

Year Three:

  • Theories of Organizational and Social Systems. In this course, students will learn about the theories and concepts behind organizational settings and systems within the workplace.
  • Statistical Quality Control. This course serves as an introduction to the quality control methods that allow businesses to meet the growing demands for product and service quality. Students will learn to use basic tools and methods in order to properly analyze, control, and improve products and services.
  • Systems Engineering Process. Courses about systems engineering examine the methodology of systems engineering, including basics about the discipline, the theory behind the area of study, and the economics that are inherent therein. Additionally, the history of systems engineering is covered, with an emphasis on sound principles and implementation.

Year Four:

  • Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis. This course will allow students to develop the advanced skills they will need to integrate quantitative and qualitative elements into methods designs, data analysis, and plans and elements.
  • Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis. In this course, students will learn multiple approaches to coding and organizing data, core components, ethical considerations, quality assurance, and be able to develop qualitative research plans.
  • Dissertation. This course will allow students to finalize and complete their dissertations.

Students earning their Operations Research PhD online will also be responsible for mastering examinations. While the specific types of exams will differ between programs and professors, many professors administer comprehensive exams, which will test students on material learned throughout the course. This can be done through standard exams, research papers, or critiques of journal entries or research articles. The final hurdle in earning an online Operations Research doctorate degree is creating a dissertation, which is a lengthy compilation of findings, research, and analysis of the student's work. A dissertation generally serves as a way for the student to show what he or she has learned, what practices he or she has observed, what opinions he or she has, and what research and the Operations Research PhD program has taught him or her. Some of the things a dissertation in this field should include are observations and practices in operations research settings, experiences with analyzing and identifying issues and problems, providing rational bases for appropriate decision making, and incorporating theories and research in the field to apply to analytical methods to solve real life problems that will arise in the workplace.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Operations Research

Graduates of online doctorate degrees in Operations Research will have the advanced skills they will need to pursue top careers in their field. Earning this particular degree will enable students to develop information through mathematical modeling techniques, use statistical analysis, computer simulation, linear and nonlinear programming, and other mathematical techniques and formula skills to plan business ventures and analyze options, and have the ability to manage and improve technology so that it can be applied to various types of business. As many businesses and organizations continue to ingrate the newest and most advanced technological systems into their business, it is important for top level leaders in the field to have advanced knowledge of computer systems. Earning a degree online could be beneficial because it allows students to develop advanced research skills and gain familiarity with Web programs, software, and tools. However, a possible downside to earning this degree online is that it is specialized and not offered at many online learning institutions. Also, because the Operations Research PhD program online relies heavily on mathematical analysis and formulas, students that need additional help with mathematical functions may find this degree harder to complete online, should they need additional help with math intensive courses.

Application & Admission Requirements

While admission requirements are likely to vary between learning institutions and actual PhD programs, there are some general requirements that interested individuals should know. Those wishing to pursue an online PhD in Operations Research must have already earned a bachelor's degree, and most universities also require a master's degree, both from a university that is accredited. These degrees should be in operations research, mathematic sciences, industries engineering, or a closely related field. Most admission requirements for online Operations Research PhD programs include at least three years work experience in a field relating to the degree and three reference letters with other requirements being school-specific. For example, The University of Phoenix also requires that students have at least a 3.0 GPA on graduate school transcripts and a membership in a research library. Interested candidates must submit their application and required paperwork to the appropriate department, usually an admissions department, and await approval into the program.

Career Options & Job Market

Graduates of online PhD Operations Research degree programs are prepared to pursue a number of different career options. Some of the fields that graduates can pursue careers in include (but are not limited to): government, information technology, education, finance, and business. Some of the specific careers graduates of online PhD programs in Operations Research can pursue include (but are not limited to): financial analyst, computer systems analyst, management, government employee, or a professor of operations research. Individuals that have earned the online doctorate in Operations Research should have good job opportunities, as careers in the field are in relatively high demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of Financial analysts is expected to grow much faster than the average occupation with an increase by 20% over the next several years. In addition, the employment of Computer systems analysts is also expected to grow much faster than the average occupation, also by 20% over the next several years.

Where to Find Information

  • The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences This association is for educators, students, and business professionals looking to find information on news, events, jobs, research, and other information pertaining to operations research and management.
  • The Association for Operations Management offers various resources, knowledge, and information on operations management for a variety of uses including for those looking to pursue careers in the field.
  • MIT Operations Research CenterThis center allows students and others interested in finding out more about the field the ability to view programs in the field, research, studies and more learning opportunities, and provides more resources as well.
  • Operations Research This journal is dedicated to helping educators, researchers, professionals, and students in the field understand more about the field and offers articles, current events, and insights.

How to Get Funding

Many undergraduate and graduate school students rely on student loans to ease the burden of tuition costs and it is no different with PhD students. Financial aid options are available to PhD students as tuition rates can vary between schools. Students looking into online doctoral programs in Operations Research have the option of applying for federal loans, but also have the option of applying for scholarships or grant money, which can be used for tuition assistance but does not need to be paid back.

  • This website allows PhD students to look through various categories to find grant and scholarship opportunities that relate to their field of study.
  • Spencer Foundation. This charitable trust has a research grants program as well as a dissertation fellows program to allow PhD students to research their studies.
  • Grants.Gov. This site serves as a resource to help students find and apply for federal grants. The site pertains to students from all degree level types pursuing a number of degree specializations.

Essential Advice

  • Individuals that are interested in this program, but still not sure whether it is the right decision for them should seek the advice of current and past PhD students in the program to see other requirements, demands, and specifics of the program, to decide whether it is the best option for you.
  • Take some time to familiarize yourself with the curriculum, the specific courses of the program you are inserted in, the industry for this field, occupations, demand, and salaries to ensure that you wish to pursue a career in this field.
  • As mentioned before, this program is rigorous and will require hard work, discipline, dedication, and time management. Students with other time-heavy commitments or those that can not dedicate at least four years of study to the program should strongly consider their options before deciding on this program.
  • Once the choice has been made to pursue this program, be sure to seek the advice of a skilled, knowledgeable, and helpful advisor or mentor to help you along the way.