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SM Program

 - Common Masters Electives

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The Master's Program

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The master's degree (SM) program prepares graduates for a professional career that usually involves applications of operations research. In their first jobs, graduates typically become members of technical staffs in business or industry, planners in government agencies, or private consultants.

Master's degree candidates in Operations Research are required to write a thesis based on independent, usually applied, research. SM students are required to present their research to the OR Community at the end of their second year, prior to their graduation. The presentation should be scheduled for at least an hour and an announcement should be sent to the ORC students and faculty via email two weeks in advance. Students generally allow for a two-year program. Students must maintain a GPA of 4.5 or better.

Course Requirements

Students pursuing a Master's degree in Operations Research must complete the three basic subjects listed below, their equivalents, or more advanced courses (at MIT or elsewhere).

  • 6.251J/15.081J Introduction to Mathematical Programming
    -OR-
    6.255J/15.093J Optimization Methods
  • 6.431 Applied Probability
  • 15.077J Statistical Learning and Data Mining or by taking another advanced statistics subject such as 6.867, 9.520, 14.382, 15.071

plus four additional graduate level subjects approved by the SM faculty advisor.

Students may substitute approved graduate level courses for the three basic courses, but must take at least a total of seven MIT graduate courses in all cases. One out of the seven required SM courses may be an MBA-level course in a functional area of management (finance, operations management, or marketing).

In addition, to the seven subject requirements, students must satisfy a computer literacy requirement AND must satisfy a Writing Exam/English Evaluation Test requirement.

The Institute requires the satisfactory completion of 66 credit units for a master's degree, of which at least 42 units must be in advanced subjects.

A list indicating subjects frequently taken by ORC master's students, can be obtained from Common Masters Electives.

Dual SM in OR

Students who are currently enrolled in another SM program within MIT are allowed the opportunity to pursue a dual SM in OR. Students are required to submit a formal application to the ORC. If admitted, the student can then petition to do a dual SM as long as they have an OR-affiliated faculty member to serve on their thesis committee.

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