Postgraduate study

Operational Research with Data Science MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

I could not recommend this program more – it is a wonderfully challenging, interesting, and dynamic year, and you will learn more in this 12 months than you ever thought possible. Students come from across the world and from many different backgrounds, making working together not only interesting, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Alexandra Blennserhassett MSc Operational Research with Data Science, 2019/20
Alexandra Blennserhassett               MSc Operational Research with Data Science, 2019/20

This programme will show you how to use mathematical techniques to tackle real-life problems ranging from scheduling flights and routing mobile phone calls, over optimising power systems and logistic networks, to managing investments and minimising risks.

Operational Research (OR) is an important skill that is in high demand.

The MSc in Operational Research with Data Science is a new, forward-looking programme that delivers high-quality training in operational research, optimization and statistics.

You will have strong technical skills in these areas and the ability to apply them using appropriate software.

Links with Industry

The School of Mathematics has connections with a wide number of industrial partners, organisations, charities and government departments. As an MSc student in the School you will have opportunities to engage with these external organisations through regular employability events, careers workshops, and our annual analytics challenge (whose recent partners have included Edinburgh Airport and the Data and Marketing Association). There is also the opportunity to undertake a dissertation project with an external partner.

Recent external partners for dissertations in the Operational Research MSc programmes include:

  • NatWest
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • KrakenFlex (Octopus Energy)

This programme involves two taught semesters of compulsory and optional courses followed by your dissertation project.

Compulsory courses have previously included:

  • Fundamentals of Optimization
  • Fundamentals of Operational Research
  • Methodology, Modelling and Consulting Skills

Optional courses have previously included:

  • Simulation
  • Introductory Applied Machine Learning*
  • Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition*
  • Natural Computing*
  • Introduction to Practical Programming with Objects*
  • Python Programming
  • Machine Learning in Python
  • Biomedical Data Science
  • Large Scale Optimization for Data Science
  • Credit Scoring
  • Optimization Methods in Finance
  • Topics in Applied Operational Research
  • Risk and Logistics
  • Operational Research in the Energy Industry
  • Stochastic Modelling
  • Biostatistics
  • Generalised Regression Models
  • Statistical Methodology
  • Statistical Programming
  • Bioinformatics 1*
  • Time Series

*delivered by the School of Informatics

Dissertation projects

Dissertation projects on this programme can be undertaken in partnership with public and private sector organisations. Other students choose an academic project without a direct link to an external organisation.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

At the end of this programme you will have:

  • built your expertise in mathematical modelling
  • gained flexible problem-solving skills based on a deep knowledge of operational research, optimization and data analysis techniques and the ability to apply them using appropriate software
  • acquired transferable skills to maximize your prospects for future employment in a wide range of public and private institutions, including writing, oral presentation, team-working, numerical and logical problem-solving, planning and time-management
  • enhanced your consulting skills
  • learned practical skills in programming and modelling for a wide range of applications
  • expanded your understanding of related disciplines, such as high-performance computing, finance and engineering.

You will gain the transferable skills required to pursue careers in a data-rich operational research environment, and will be in an ideal position to apply for work in a wide range of institutions in the public and private sector.

The degree is also excellent preparation for further study in operational research, optimization or data science.

Recent graduates have joined:

  • British Airways
  • Edinburgh Airport
  • the Government OR Service
  • RBS
  • Ernst & Young
  • Merkle | Aquila
  • smaller specialised OR, finance, and energy companies

Student Learning Advisor

In the School of Mathematics we have a dedicated Student Learning Advisor for MSc students who is available to help and advise on a range of issues connected to your taught postgraduate studies.

In addition to your individual meetings with your Personal Tutor, you will have a number of activities with the Student Learning Advisor as part of our personal development programme. This is designed to support your academic progress, career planning and skills development.

Student blogs

Learn about what life is like as a MSc student in the School of Mathematics, by hearing from the people that have experienced it first-hand! Our student bloggers come from all across the world, and have studied on a variety of our MSc programmes.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in a numerate discipline such as mathematics, engineering, computer science, physical or biological sciences, economics or business. You must also have studied probability and statistical theory at university level. You can increase your chances of a successful application by exceeding the minimum programme requirements.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Application fee

None.

Deposit

None.

Additional programme costs

None.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

School of Mathematics funding

There may be School funding available for well-qualified candidates.

OR Society scholarships

The OR Society offers up to two Master’s degree scholarships worth £10,000 for UK students on an Operational Research MSc programme. Check the website below for application deadlines.

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status.

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5386
  • Contact: ormsc@ed.ac.uk
  • School of Mathematics
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 31 August 2022

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline.

We aim to make the majority of decisions within six weeks of the selection deadline.

If we have not made you an offer by a specific selection deadline this means one of two things:

  • your application has been unsuccessful, in which case we will contact you to let you know, or
  • your application is still being considered, will be carried forward for consideration in the next selection deadline and we’ll be in touch once a decision is made

Selection Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decisions made or applications rolled to next deadline
1 31 January 15 March
2 31 March 15 May
3 30 June 15 August

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5386
  • Contact: ormsc@ed.ac.uk
  • School of Mathematics
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD