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General Information

The Master of Science program in Operations Research provides students with the technical skills needed to formulate and solve problems that arise in fields such as computer modeling, data analysis, management of business operations, health care delivery, financial management and city and regional planning. To prepare students adequately, the degree requirements stress broad familiarity with the mathematical sciences rather than a specialized knowledge of one field. The spectrum includes mathematical optimization, stochastic modeling, probability and statistics, and computer science. The course work emphasizes the solution methodology for mathematical models and their application.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill imposes general requirements on all candidates for the Master of Science degree. These appear in the Record of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – the Graduate School. In addition, the Operations Research program requires each student to take the following courses:

    • STOR 555 Mathematical Statistics
    • STOR 612 Models in Operations Research
    • STOR 614 Linear Programming
    • STOR 641 Stochastic Models in Operations Research I
    • STOR 642 Stochastic Models in Operations Research II
    • STOR 664 Applied Statistics
    • STOR 672 Simulation Modeling and Analysis
    • STOR 992 Masters Paper
    • Electives: Two additional courses, to be approved by the department.

Total hours required for degree: 30

To qualify for the Master of Science degree, a student also must write an expository paper or a thesis and pass an oral or written examination. Students can write their expository paper on a topic from the theory or application of operations research.  Customarily the paper provides a comprehensive description of the topic and can serve as the basis for an oral examination.  The expository paper can also be based on the final project report for STOR 705 (Operations Research Practice), should the student take this course as one of the electives.

There is no language requirement for the Master of Science degree.

The Master of Science degree can be completed in three semesters, but four semesters is the typical completion time.

Program of Study

      First Year
Fall        |       Spring

STOR 555    STOR 614
STOR 612    STOR 642
STOR 641    STOR 672

Second Year
Fall        |       Spring
STOR 664     STOR 992

*At least one of the electives must be in Operations Research.

Expository Papers

The following list is a representative sample of recent expository paper titles.


  • Monotonicity Properties of Polling Systems
  • An Implementation of a Quadratic Programming Algorithm
  • A Review of Metric and Military Interest in Multi-Echelon Inventory Theory Transportation Problems and the OR Methods to Solve Them
  • Threshold – The Transient Behavior of a Markov Chain
  • Designing Public Standpost Systems
  • Equilibruim Analysis for Transportation Networks using Mathematical Programming


  • Optimal Mix of Bus Sizes and Trippers for the Chapel Hill Transit System
  • Efficient Patrol Allocation through Improved Sector Design at the Chapel Hill Police Department
  • Automatic Vehicle Maintenance Record Keeping for Chapel Hill Public Works
  • Inventory Management at the University Purchasing Department
  • Analysis of Routing and Sorting at University Mail Services
  • Optimal Scheduling of Physician Resources in the Division of Community Pediatrics


The following organizations have employed recent graduates of the master’s program in Operations Research.

  • American Airlines, Dallas, Texas
  • Bell Telephone Laboratories, Holmdel, New Jersey
  • Center for Naval Analyses, Arlington, Virginia
  • E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan
  • Honeywell, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • IBM, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Quaker Oats Corporation, Chicago, Illinois
  • SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, North Carolina
  • Xerox Corporation, Rochester, New York
  • Quintiles, Research Triangle Park, NC
  • Optym (formerly Innovative Scheduling), Gainesville, Florida