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The University of Southampton
Mathematical SciencesUndergraduate study

Operational Research

Operational research is the science of using advanced mathematical and analytical skills to make better decisions. Operational researchers work in organisations, from businesses to governments, to solve complex organisational problems and improve efficiency and profitability. Many organisations now use operational researchers, so the possibilities are huge. You’ll be working closely with management, so career progression is likely in the field of OR.


Students writing formula on glass


A career in operational research is a fantastic opportunity to really use the mathematical skills you developed at Southampton. Initially on your assignment you will have to gain an in-depth understanding of the operations of the organisation, through the collection and analysis of data as well as observation and employee interviews. Then you will use an array of analytical techniques such as game theory, simulation, optimisation and mathematical programming to enhance the strategic plan and, in turn, the efficiency of the organisation. For those without a great deal of OR in their degree, an MSc in Operational Research may be required for many roles; Southampton offers an MSc in Operational Research, a taught 1 year course which usually includes a 3 month project.

Skills required:


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