Operations Management/Management Science Major

OM/MS PhD Program Coordinator: Zhi-Long Chen


The requirements for the PhD program in OM/MS can be divided into the following categories (details about each below):

  • Coursework: four courses in research methodology, 6 courses in the major, and 4 courses in a minor to be chosen by the student. 
  • Additional requirements:  Four one-credit seminars in research in DO&IT.. Further, students entering the program without an MBA or BS in business administration have an additional business breadth course requirement.
  • Qualifying exam: This exam is taken at the end of the first year in the program.
  • Comprehensive exam: This exam is taken at the end of the second year in the program.
  • Teaching: A funded student is required to TA for BMGT 332 (or similar course) once during the program, typically in his/her second year, and to teach one section of BMGT 332, typically in the third year.
  • Dissertation proposal defense: An oral defense of the dissertation proposal, with a significant portion of the dissertation (at least 40%) already completed.
  • Dissertation completion and defense.

Research Methodology Courses (4 courses)

Specific course numbers can change between semesters.  The most recent designation for each course is shown below:

  • BMGT 830
    Operations Research: Linear Programming (Fall 1st year)
  • BMGT 834
    Operations Research: Probabilistic Models (Fall 1st year)
  • BMGT 808G
    Doctoral Seminar: Applied Microeconomics, or equivalent (e.g., ECON 603) (Fall 1st year)
  • BMGT 808X
  • Doctoral Seminar: Applied Regression Analysis or equivalent (Spring 1st year)
    If a student chooses to take a course different than BMGT 808G, BMGT 808X or ECON 603, then the student needs approval from the PhD coordinator.  For more information about these and other courses, see department website.

Major Specification (6 courses)

There are two major concentrations: Operations Management (OM) and Management Science (MS). Courses are as follows:   

  • BMGT 808F: Seminar in Operations Management (Required; Spring 1st year)

Plus five additional courses.  The choice of courses is open; however, the student needs approval from the PhD coordinator when choosing a course sequence.     

Minor Specification (4 courses)

Four courses in an area. The choice of area is open; examples are shown below:

  • Logistics/Supply Chain Management
  • Management and Organization
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Information Systems
  • Statistics (courses outside of major area)
  • Management Science (courses outside of major area)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science

Additional Requirements

  1. All students need to be enrolled, during their first and second years, in BMGT 8xx:  Research in Decision, Operations, & Information Technologies (1 credit).  
    This is a one-credit course, which basically requires attendance to the DO&IT research seminar series. The student will take this seminar every semester during his/her first two years in the program (total = 4 credits) 
  2. Business breadth courses: Students who enter the PhD program without an undergraduate (BSBA) or graduate degree (MBA, MS) in business administration are required to take two business breadth courses (2 or 3 credits each) at the MBA or doctoral level. Each one of these two courses should be in a different functional area than OM/MS: finance, accounting, management & organization, marketing, or information systems.  Example: Consider a student with a masters and undergraduate degrees in IE, and with a minor in marketing. Given the marketing minor, the student only needs to take one additional business breadth course (examples: MBA core Finance class, a doctoral seminar in organizational behavior, etc).  These courses can be taken anytime during the doctoral program. Additional questions about this requirement should be directed to the OM/MS PhD coordinator.

Qualifying Exam

This exam is taken during the summer of the first year (typically, last week of July), and comprises four 2-hour parts.  Parts 1, 2, and 3 will cover BMGT 830 (Linear Programming), BMGT 834 (Stochastic Processes), and BMGT 808F (Seminar in Operations Management), respectively.  The Part 4 subject area can be chosen by the student to cover the content of one other course taken by the student.  The course could be chosen from among the remaining required courses (Economics or Statistics) or could be a course taken by the student as part of his/her major concentration courses.  The precise format of each exam part will be determined by the faculty member designated to prepare that part, e.g., each part could be open or closed book.  However, questions are not expected to be a mere “repeat” of the final exam in the respective course, but rather can be more unstructured and attempt to test research potential.  If the student does not pass the first trial, the student shall be given an opportunity to repeat the exam in the winter (six months later).  Only two trials are allowed.  A student who fails the qualifying exam twice will not be allowed to proceed further in the Ph.D.  Program.

Comprehensive Exam

Prior to taking the exam, each student must designate a three-person examination committee comprised of DO&IT faculty.  The committee must be approved by the DO&IT PhD Coordinator by email. This exam is taken during the summer of the second year, at the time requested by the student and agreed upon by the committee.  The student has two choices:

The student can submit a research paper co-authored by the student and other faculty members (but not with another student).  The research paper is expected to be of such scope that it can be submitted to a refereed journal, i.e., it has to present an original contribution and it has to be complete, with introduction, literature review, analysis (model and/or data analysis) and conclusions.  Any faculty member(s) who are co-author(s) of the student are required to supply a statement to the PhD Coordinator indicating that the student did a significant portion of the intellectual work and writing of the paper.  The student needs to prepare and deliver a one-hour presentation of the paper to that student’s examination committee and the presentation will be open to the University Community.  During and after the presentation, the examination committee may question the student on the research paper and on topics in his/her major concentration area as they relate to the research paper.

The student is given three papers.  The set of three papers assigned to a student will be taken from that student’s major concentration area.  The student will be given two weeks to read the papers, and submit two deliverables:  a written document of at least 10 pages (12 pt. font, single spaced), explaining how the papers relate to each other, and offering suggestions for future research.  The student must also prepare and deliver a one-hour presentation on his/her conclusions to that student’s examination committee.  During and after the presentation, the examination committee may question the student on the assigned papers and on topics in his/her major concentration area as they relate to the papers.  The presentation will be open to all members of the University community.

Each student’s examination committee will provide informal feedback to the student immediately following the oral presentation part of the comprehensive exam.  However, a final grade will be given later after a meeting of the OM/MS PhD Comprehensive Examination Committee.  The OM/MS PhD Comprehensive Examination Committee will consist of the combination of the individual student examination committees together with the PhD Coordinator.  That committee will assign grades to the comprehensive exam.  It is anticipated that the merits of each student can be openly debated and that the meeting will also serve the purpose of providing guidance to those admitted students on how they should proceed in the program, e.g., they might be given guidance on research areas, possible thesis supervisors, etc.  Students will be allowed to take Part II only once and the decision on admission to candidacy will be final.  However, students will be allowed to petition to retake the comprehensive exam if they fail the exam.  Flexible MS degree options will be given to students who are not advanced after the qualifying or comprehensive exam.

Admission to Candidacy

  1. Completion of, and satisfactory grades in, all required courses in the Department:
    • BMGT 808F: Seminar in Operations Management
    • BMGT 830: Operations Research: Linear Programming
    • BMGT 834: Operations Research: Probabilistic Models
    • BMGT 808G: Doctoral Seminar: Applied Microeconomics, or equivalent
    • BMGT 808X: Doctoral Seminar: Applied Regression Analysis or equivalent
    • Plus seven electives in the major and/or minor, for a total of 12 courses. The remaining 2 courses (total = 14 courses required for BMGT PhD degree) can be taken in the student’s third year in the program, after advancing to candidacy.   
  2. A passing grade on the Department's Comprehensive Exam (summer of 2nd year)
  3. A passing grade on Qualifying Exam (summer of 1st year)
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