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

Amalie Fabricius-Vieira (2014)

Amalie Fabricius-Vieira

"The MSc in SOR, at the University of Edinburgh, proved to be the right investment for me, both with respect to the acquisition of technical concepts and as a life experience."


Amalie Fabricius-Vieira Amalie Fabricius-Vieira (2014)

You will get training in theoretical contents, but you will also be able to learn how to transfer this background knowledge into real world applications.


The quality and support of the teaching body and the positive attitude amongst students, where the class is like a family, provides an excellent working environment.

The MSc in SOR will always be an excellent option for those who want a high level of theoretical background with objective training on the application of theory to the real world. Moreover, holding an MSc in SOR you will be well placed in the market, with potential opportunities in a wide range of areas.

Other student stories

Operational Research MSc Programmes

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.

New Programme in Operational Research with Data Science

In September 2016 the School will start delivering a new programme in Operational Research with Data Science. Applications cannot yet be made directly, but if you are interested in taking this programme, please contact the Programme Director, Julian Hall.

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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