What can OR do?

Operational Research (OR) uses mathematical techniques to tackle real-life decision problems

  • Schedule planes/crews and decide seat prices
  • Route internet calls and allocate mobile phone frequencies
  • Manage a portfolio of shares and minimize its risk
  • Optimize the development of an oil field
  • Plan the operation of a hospital blood bank

Management ScienceDecision Sciences, and Operations Management are all part of Operational Research, which is also known as Operations Research

programme overview

Programme at a glance

Starts: mid-September
Lasts: 12 months full-time
You get: Expert training to become an OR analyst with excellent career opportunities or foundation for PhD study
You need: A degree in an area such as Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering, Physical or Biological Sciences, Economics or Business Studies
Intake: 45-55 students
Funding: Fees+stipend for 1-2 UK students; Fees for 5-8 EU students
Email: ORMSc@ed.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (131) 650 4883

Georgia Fotopoulou (2012)

Georgia Fotopoulou

"Not long after my graduation I found myself working in the finance sector, with the OR degree and the reputation of the School of Mathematics behind it playing a crucial role in the outcome"

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Georgia Fotopoulou Georgia Fotopoulou (2012)

Having originally studied Electrical and Computer Engineering as my first degree, I wished to diversify and gain knowledge in a highly applied and market-valued field by pursuing a masters degree in Operational Research at the University of Edinburgh. In doing so, I hoped to secure better employment options, spanning multiple sectors.

I will admit the workload throughout the year was heavy, but this was never enough to suppress my excitement when dealing with new problems or realistic case studies. The masters gave me the opportunity to combine existing skills with new ones, thoroughly developed through the various aspects of our assignments. Among others, these included presentation skills, business report writing, as well as conveying abstract concepts to non-specialists. The hours we spent in the University halls and labs were long, but this only strengthened the bonds between fellow classmates, turning some of the most exhausting moments into joyful times and full of laughter. For my summer project, I worked for a leading UK retail bank on a research topic in the area of Risk Management, with significant impact potential on the daily activities of the bank. This was the peak of the masters experience, as I was called to put into practice much of the knowledge I had gained so far. Last but not least, the activities organized by the school (ceilidh, hill-walk, workshops) were another great thing about the master's experience. Overall, the programme was a great experience, both in academic and social terms, and provided me with invaluable skills.

I believe the programme is an excellent choice providing a guarantee for a successful transition to the professional stage. Revisiting my motivation for choosing this particular masters program, I feel I made the right choice: not long after my graduation I found myself working in the finance sector, with the OR degree and the reputation of the School of Mathematics behind it playing a crucial role in the outcome.

Other student stories


Operational Research MSc Programmes

Applications for study in 2014-15: Offers and deadlines

Due to strong competition for places on the programmes, offers will now be made on the basis of the best applications received by the end of June 2014. Until this date, feedback on applications will be given and offers will be made to the very best applications.

Why Operational Research MSc?

You will enjoy Operational Research if you like solving practical quantitative problems and seeing the solutions implemented.

By studying Operational Research you will develop a valuable combination of mathematical, modelling, analytical, computing, interpersonal and communication skills.

An Operational Research MSc provides

Our students come from diverse backgrounds such as mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science, engineering, economics and other quantitative disciplines.

Financial Aid

The OR MSc Programme has funding from the School of Mathematics to encourage the best UK and EU students to study Operational Research. Note that there is no need to apply separately for this funding.

We will offer the best UK applicants a funding package of full fees and a stipend of at least £3,000. In addition, well qualified UK applicants can expect to be offered funding towards their course fees and may be offered some living expenses. Prospective students with first class degrees can expect such an offer unless we have too many, in which case absolute performance and any further study or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration. Depending on the number and quality of applications, lower levels of funding may be offered to less well qualified applicants.

Well qualified EU applicants can expect to be offered funding towards their course fees.

Note that all Scottish and non-UK nationals of EU countries may apply for one of the University's Highly Skilled Workforce Scholarships and, if unsuccessful, are eligible for a £3,400 loan from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

Why Edinburgh?

University of Edinburgh is a world-class university.

The Edinburgh OR MSc is an intensive one year programme with selected courses delivered by industry professionals.

Our programme is flexible, offering specialization in 

We offer opportunities to pursue an industry or government summer dissertation project.

The city of Edinburgh is 


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