PgCert Operational Research - Distance Learning

Key facts

  • Start date: October
  • Study mode and duration: Online distance learning (minimum durations):
    PgCert: 13 months part-time
    PgDip: 20 months part-time
    MSc: 26 months part-time

Study with us

  • develop a rigorous understanding of advanced analytical methods
  • learn how to play an effective role in providing model-based support to managers for better decisions 
  • benefit from a flexible distance learning study model

 

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Why this course?

Operational Research (or Operations Research) has been briefly described as the ‘scientific analysis of decisions’. It is concerned with assisting and advising decision-makers in a wide variety of settings.

The MSc in Operational Research aims to realise the potential of its graduates, so that you immediately can play an effective role in providing model-based support to managers helping them to make better decisions at an operational/technical level.

You will develop an understanding of advanced analytical methods that are used to provide structured and analytical approaches to decision-making. You will also develop practical skills in using operational research models to support decision-makers.

Exterior of Strathclyde Business School with students walking past

What you’ll study

All classes are taught using material presented via the internet. Teaching staff guide and support discussion via discussion forums.

The programme contains three stages. Successful progression will lead towards completion of the MSc.

  • Postgraduate Certificate (stage 1)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (stage 2)
  • MSc – project (stage 3)

Learning & teaching

All classes are taught using material presented via the internet. Classes are supported by faculty members who also teach on our range of full-time courses. They will guide and support discussion via forums. You will have full access to our user-friendly VLE. Benefits of using the VLE include

  • Anytime, anywhere learning
  • Access to tutors throughout your course
  • Continuously updated, dynamic, interactive online materials
  • Online group discussions
  • Live question & answer sessions
  • Live conferencing

Assessment

Each class includes two pieces of assessment. Around half of these will be assignments and the other half will be by examination at local centres.

If you wish to proceed to the Postgraduate Diploma you need to be in appropriate employment, which should cover the following: solving problems owned by someone else, ill-defined problems, working in teams, the opportunity to use a variety of business analysis techniques, your work has an influence on the operation of your organisations. Your employment should require some analysis of business situations, in the private or public sector. Samples of your work will form the basis of reflection and learning projects, guided by a personal mentor.

MSc Project

Students who complete the Diploma and gain sufficient marks to proceed to the MSc will be expected to undertake a project. The project will be integrated with your employment. You'll have individual personal mentoring to guide you in reflection and learning.

Start dates

The Certificate starts in October. The Diploma usually runs between September and May, though there is some flexibility with this. It is followed by the project which has a flexible timetable. You should be able to complete the MSc programme in around two and a half years. Please contact us if you need advice about the best start date for you.

Strathclyde Business School

 was founded in 1948 and is a pioneering, internationally renowned academic organisation with a reputation for research excellence. One of four faculties forming the University of Strathclyde, SBS is a triple accredited business school (AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB) and was the first business school in Scotland to achieve this accolade in 2004. The Business School is home to seven subject departments and a number of specialist centres, all of which collaborate to provide a dynamic, fully-rounded and varied programme of specialist and cross-disciplinary courses.

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Course content

Foundations of Research & Business Analysis

This class will explore the generic problem solving process which underpins the provision of decision support. In particular, it'll consider the role of modelling in that process. The activities of problem structuring, data collection and analysis, identification and evaluation of options, communication and implementation of learning, findings and recommendations will each be discussed along with the issues pertaining to each of them.

Quantitative Business Analysis

Quantitative Business Analysis runs over one semester but in two parts. The first part provides an introduction to the basic theory and application of statistical modelling. Topics covered included data analysis, probability theory, distributions and moments, estimation and hypothesis testing.

The second part focuses mainly on two areas - regression modelling and multivariate analysis. While key background theory will be presented, the emphasis is on the generation and interpretation of output from commercially available software.

Background reading for Quantitative Business Analysis

Managing Business Operations
This class teaches essential principles, tools and techniques of Operations Management – both in general and as applied to specific manufacturing or service businesses. A section of the class focuses on service operations, where specific subjects and operational issues surrounding services will be discussed.
Spreadsheet Modelling & Demand Forecasting

This module will demonstrate how spreadsheets can be used to support the analytical techniques whose theory is taught on other modules. For example, forecasting, simulation, optimisation, data analysis, as well as being used to support technical report writing.

Most prominence is given to demand forecasting and you'll be introduced to different types of forecasting technique for short term smoothing through to decompositional analysis. These methods will be implemented using spreadsheet models.

Operational Research Methods

This module introduces the fundamental deterministic and stochastic methods of OR. Probabilistic modelling is fundamental to appreciating uncertainty and risk. This element of the class provides much of the foundations that underpin the tools and techniques that are taught on other classes of the MSc such as statistics, forecasting, risk and simulation.

The module also introduces students into the basic deterministic models and methods of OR.

Business Simulation Methods

The module will focus on the main two forms of business simulation; discrete-event simulation (DES) and system dynamics (a continuous simulation technique). For DES, the class will start with an introduction, aiming to familiarise students with the concept and its use.

It continues with discussing a rational approach to simulation using a number of examples from manufacturing and service operations. For system dynamics the class will provide a background to system dynamics including its links to other modelling techniques being taught on the course, in particular, its links to problem structuring methods.

Risk Analysis & Management

This module will explore the entire process of structuring a risk problem, from modelling it to communicating recommendations, both theoretically and in practice.

Risk management is linked with decision analysis in so far as we explore decision making under uncertainty and it has links with quantitative business analysis as we explore the use of statistics in understanding risk. However, the topic has some unique attributes such as risk communication and the role that experts play in risk assessment.

Decision analysis

The first half of the course covers the basic ideas of decision making under uncertainty. Graphical modelling using Bayesian Nets (Influence diagrams and Belief nets) are used to structure models. The basic notions of probability, utility and value of information are covered. In the second half of the course, trade-offs between different desirable attributes are covered through multi-attribute value theory and multi-attribute utility theory. A short introduction is given to game theory in order to highlight the differences in approach required when making decisions to work against an intelligent opponent as opposed to an unknown and undirected “state of nature”. The course builds on the introduction to probability given in Quantitative Business Analysis.

Advanced Operational Research Modelling Using Specialist Software Tools

This module builds upon the methods introduced in core modules in deterministic and stochastic OR. In particular, OR methods, quantitative business analysis, decision analysis.

In the core modules, the theory and application of methods to relatively small problems are considered. This module extends the approach to consider larger scale modelling and more advanced techniques using appropriate specialist software as well as programming techniques.

Becoming an Effective OR Modeller
The broad aims of the class are to develop skills in the effective practice of using OR models and an appreciation of the issues which may arise.
Elective classes

Choose additional two from:

  • Business Simulation Methods
  • Risk Analysis & Management
  • Decision Analysis
  • Advanced Operations Research Modelling

 

Project/Dissertation
The MSc project is the most substantial and independent piece of work you'll carry out during the course. You will contact your client and your supervisors and manage the whole relationship with them. The projects vary but they typically involve understanding the real-life problem through problem structuring, identifying the data requirements, review of the relevant domain literature, making methodological choices based on arguments from the methodology literature, data collection, appropriate data analysis and modelling, developing and presentation of findings and recommendations.

Triple-accredited business school

AACSB accreditation logo
EQUIS accreditation logo
AMBA accreditation logo
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Pass degree, or non-UK equivalent, in business, economics, engineering or social sciences. However, we also encourage applications from other degrees. Admittance is to the PgCert (stage 1) only. Completion at an acceptable standard will lead to progression onto the PgDip (stage 2) and MSc (stage 3).

English language requirements

Students whose first language is not English must have a minimum of 6.5 IELTS score, with no individual score lower than 5.5. Get more information about the English language requirements for studying at Strathclyde.

Mathematics requirements

Some of the classes will require some mathematical manipulation. Knowledge of the topics below may well be expected. If you have problems with any of these you'll be required to do additional pre-course reading:

  • Ability to use a scientific calculator
  • Algebraic notation and manipulation; subscripts; simple results
  • Logs and exponentials
  • Graphs of simple functions
  • Differentiation (including differentiation of a product)
  • An understanding of when differentiation is used
  • Finite sums
  • Simple manipulation of vectors and matrices
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We're a 5-star
QS-rated University

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Fees & funding

2020/21

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

2019/20

  • Stage 1: £8,100 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £5,100 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £1,950 (MSc)

2020/21

  • Stage 1: £8,453 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £5,322 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £2,035 (MSc)
Rest of UK

2019/20

  • Stage 1: £8,100 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £5,100 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £1,950 (MSc)

2020/21

  • Stage 1: £8,453 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £5,322 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £2,035 (MSc)
International

2019/20

  • Stage 1: £8,100 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £5,100 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £1,950 (MSc)

2020/21

  • Stage 1: £8,453 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £5,322 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £2,035 (MSc)
Additional costs

iMPM students have the option of taking MBA elective classes overseas.  Students cover travel and accommodation themselves, but no costs associated with teaching. 

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Careers

Operational Research has been designed to enhance your current role, to bring formal skills to a role you have been doing anyway, or as a chance to develop new skills, which can take you on to the next level of your career with their existing employers, or occasionally with new employers.

Your existing role and the work you do is a vital part of this programme. You will also be learning key analytical skills, which are really valuable to all sorts of decision makers in a variety of organisations in the private, public and third sector.

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Apply

Operational Research - Distance Learning

Qualification: PG Certificate
Start Date: Sep 2018
Mode of Delivery: part-time

Operational Research - Distance Learning

Qualification: PG Certificate
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: part-time

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Contact us

SBS Postgraduate Admissions

Telephone: +44 (0)141 553 6105 / +44 (0)141 553 4590

Email: sbs.admissions@strath.ac.uk

Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde
199 Cathedral Street
Glasgow
G4 0QU

Alison Kerr

Administrative Assistant (Distance Learning enquiries)

Telephone: +44(0)141 548 3613

Email: alison.kerr@strath.ac.uk

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