The University of Southampton
Mathematical SciencesPostgraduate study

MSc in Operational Research and Finance (1 year)

This programme is an ideal opportunity to provide yourself with the analytic skill set necessary for success in finance and business. From day one you will find yourself working with multinational organisations on case studies to develop your abilities in applied analytics and finance. Opportunities for summer projects in a wide range of industries are an integral part of the programme.

Full time study: This one year masters programme is suitable for numerate graduates. The MSc programme lasts for twelve months.

Part-time study: This scheme is suitable for numerate students who are qualified to enter the one year full time scheme but wish to study on a part time basis. Project work takes the special circumstances of a particular student into account.

The aim of the programme is to provide you with all the data analytics and optimisation skills required for a successful career in finance and other business organisations, therefore a wide spectrum of techniques and approaches are covered. For this reason staff from both the Mathematical Sciences and the Southampton Management School are involved with teaching on the MSc programme.

Programme objectives are:
-to give you a thorough knowledge of the mathematical, financial, computational and communication skills needed for the practical application of Operational Research and finance
-to give you a broad appreciation of related disciplines important in Operational Research
-to illustrate the use of Operational Research and finance tools in a wide range of applications. This part of the programme is not just descriptive since much of the application of Operational Research is best learned by active involvement. The 3-month summer project and computer workshops are designed with this in mind. In addition, seminars provide a forum for the discussion of practical Operational Research issues
-to introduce you to research methods and current issues in Operational Research and finance


Introducing your course

The MSc in Operational Research and Finance at the University of Southampton will equip you with skills in revenue management, credit scoring, and financial risk management that are highly sought by employers, and this degree will give you a deep understanding of applied analytics and financial modelling that is applicable across the financial institutions.
The summer dissertation gives you an opportunity to develop your research skills, often in a commercial setting, and our industrial liaison team will work with you to find a project that suits your skills and ambitions.


What is Operational Research and Finance?

Operational Research is the application of scientific methods to the study of complex organisational problems. In this degree course, there is an emphasis on complementary financial studies. Even within the same organisation Operational Research and Finance tends to be highly varied because of its project-driven nature. This breadth of experience offers an exciting and rewarding career in many financial organisations, enabling many Operational Research workers to progress to a career in general management. Moreover the nature of the work brings an Operations Research and Finance graduate into early contact with senior management, and career advancement is typically rapid.

Why do an MSc?

An MSc is generally accepted as being highly desirable for starting and developing a career in OR and financial modelling. The MSc is also a good preparation for research work.

A highlight of the programme is the 3-month summer project. The student is usually placed with a nearby company and works on a real problem of practical importance to that company.


The Operational Research Group in Mathematics is a strong committed team of 11 lecturing staff and a number of research staff. The Group teaches a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as undertaking consultancy work for outside organisations. Many of the staff are internationally known in their fields of research.

CORMSIS Business Advisory Board

This Committee is a good indicator of the high regard in which the Southampton MSc programmes involving Operational Research are held by outside organisations. Its purpose is to ensure that the MSc programmes produce graduates with the requisite skills for the needs of industry. It also provides a focal point for liaison between the Operational Research Group and industry. You have the chance to meet the Committee several times during the year. Major companies including Shell, British Airways, BAABT, The AADstl and HM Revenue & Customs are represented on the Committee.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

University application form with references (Online application here), plus invitation to Open Day, particularly if you are being considered for studentship funding.

Programme Structure

The full-time MSc programme is completed over a 12-month period. There are two semesters of taught material, lasting for just over 8 months, which account for 120 credit points (Diploma level). The MSc programme is completed subject to achievement of progression requirements with a project lasting over 3 months.

Compulsory modules: Corporate finance; Deterministic OR methods; Presenting reports; Spreadsheet and database modelling; Statistical methods; Stochastic OR methods; Visual basic for applications

Optional modules: Constraint satisfaction; Consultancy skills; Credit scoring and data mining; Economics; Financial portfolio theory; Financial risk management; Forecasting; Game theory; Project management; Trends in IT.

Key Facts

Assessment: Examination, coursework, dissertation

Start date: Late September

Applying: University application form with transcripts, two references

Closing date: None, but studentships may not be available later in the application year

Funding: Partial scholarships/studentships possible; international privately financed students are eligible for a School bursary of £2,000 per annum (paid quarterly for maintenance), with slightly higher payments considered on academic merit. You may be invited to an open day, especially if you are being considered for studentship funding

Students working

Operational Research Scholarships

We are offering a limited number of scholarships for our MSc Operational Research courses

Find out more
Thumbnail photo of Wayne Burby

“Employers really value Operational Research because it’s hard, it’s analytical and if you mention you studied it you become really sought after.”

Wayne Burby - MSc Operational Research and Finance


The 2017 QS subject world rankings places Statistics and Operational Research at Southampton in the top 100.

 The Operational Research Group

Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

Intake: 20

Average applications per place: 5

Entry Requirements: First or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in a subject involving a significant amount of quantitative work (e.g. computer science, economics, engineering, mathematics, physics, statistics), or relevant work experience.

IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with at least 6 in each component (intensive summer language course available if required).

The OR approach usually starts by building a model of the system or problem of interest. The model is then analysed, and a suitably chosen solution technique is selected or designed. For this programme, many of the models are for financial problems.

The programme requires numeracy skills, and is suited to students who enjoy problem solving. However, a first degree in Mathematics is not essential; a degree in business, computer science, quantitative economics, engineering, physics or statistics may form an acceptable entry qualification.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The Diploma programme comprises the two semesters of taught material, with examinations at the end of each semester.

Year 1

In addition to the compulsory and optional modules listed below, students are required to complete a Maths Project.

MATH6002Credit: 15
MATH6004Credit: 15
MANG6022Credit: 15
MATH6001Credit: 60
MATH6145Credit: 7.5
MATH6005Credit: 7.5
MATH6006Credit: 15
MATH6147Credit: 7.5

Students must select one module from the following three modules (this module will become Compulsory once chosen):

MANG6020Credit: 15
MANG6023Credit: 15
MATH6011Credit: 7.5
MATH6017Credit: 7.5
MATH6120Credit: 7.5
MATH6119Credit: 7.5
MATH6146Credit: 7.5
MATH6158Credit: 7.5
MANG6054Credit: 7.5
MANG6023Credit: 15
MANG6100Credit: 7.5
MANG6020Credit: 15
MATH6013Credit: 7.5
COMP6234Credit: 15

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved Calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items (e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentIT - Software Licences: Licences for software recommended as part of the programme will be provided by the university on university machines. In some cases, students may wish to purchase software to use on their own computers.
EquipmentIT - Hardware: Public workstations are available, but iPads, laptops etc, are to be purchased as the student wishes.
Printing and copyingIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays, projects, dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here: []. Dissertations should be soft bound. Up-to-date prices can be found here: [].
PlacementsWhere placements involve working away from Southampton, the additional costs of travel and accommodation will usually be covered by a bursary that is given to the student at the start of the project.
OtherOptional Visits: We offer the possibility of optional off-site visits occasionally during the programme. When these occur, students may be expected to cover the associated transport costs.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Highfield Campus

Highfield Campus

Mathematics is based on the University's Highfield Campus in Building ...Find out more

You may also be interested in

Share this course Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.