Postgraduate study

Operational Research with Data Science MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

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.

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

Compulsory courses have previously included:

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

Themed courses have previously included:

  • Simulation
  • Introductory Applied Machine Learning
  • Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition
  • Python Programming
  • Statistical Methodology
  • Statistical Programming
  • Incomplete Data Analysis
  • Bioinformatics 1
  • Biomedical Data Science

Industry-based dissertation projects

A considerable number of dissertation projects on this programme take place in public and private sector organisations.

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 2020/21

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

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.

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.

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

For 2021 entry we will 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 Special Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each section.We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper.
  • 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:

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

School of Mathematics funding

There may be School funding available for well-qualified UK and EU nationals.

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
13 September 2021 31 August 2021

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.

Applicants who are not made an offer at a specific selection deadline will either be notified that they have been unsuccessful in securing a place on the programme, or if they do not hear then they are still being considered and their application will be carried forward to the next selection deadline for further consideration at that time.

Selection deadlines

Round Application Deadline
1 31 January 2021
2 31 March 2021
3 30 June 2021

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