Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. program in Operations Research at Stanford combines the areas of "Systems Modeling and Optimization" and "Probability and Stochastic Systems" in the Department of Management Science and Engineering.

For Prospective Students (description of program)

For Current Students  (Ph.D. requirements)

For Prospective Students

Operations Research at Stanford combines the depth and elegance of mathematics with the excitement and practicality of engineering like few other programs do.  We combine diverse mathematical disciplines such as control theory, game theory, optimization, probability, statistics, and the theory of algorithms, immersing students in an intellectual atmosphere without boundaries.  At the same time, you can be much more than an armchair theoretician—you can go out and change the way engineering systems are built, managed, and used.  Along with our faculty and pyour fellow students, you can tackle important questions such as:

How should I design efficient optimization algorithms?

How do I manage an autonomous Internet?

Are stock options good for my company?

How can I model complex biological systems mathematically?

How should I aggregate data collected from a sensor network?

How should digital goods be priced?

How can data-mining be used to make decisions?

What are optimal operational decisions in a supply chain? A warehouse?
A transportation network?

What constitutes a “fair” allocation of resources among competing users of an engineering

How can I speed up simulations to estimate the probability of failure of computer systems?

These questions require mathematically deep tools, but cannot be addressed in isolation from their engineering context.  As a student in the Ph.D. program in Operations Research at Stanford (located in the Department of Management Science and Engineering), you are prepared to think rigorously, but also to appreciate practical considerations.  This combination has led our recent graduates to great success in finding excellent jobs (both inside and outside academia).  As an alumnus of Operations Research at Stanford, you would belong to a distinguished community of academicians and industry leaders around the world (see History).

Information on Ph.D. requirements and offered courses can be found in the section labeled "For Current Students."

Financial Aid:

A variety of funding packages are available including fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. The exact details vary from student to student.
Admissions Process:

Apply to the Ph.D. program in Management Science and Engineering, and indicate either "Operations Research,"  "Stochastics,"  or "Optimization" as your field of interest on your application documents (resume, statement of purpose, etc.).

For Current Students

If you are a Ph.D. student in the OR program (or consider yourself an OR-related PhD student), please subscribe to the OR Ph.D. students e-mail list.  To do so, visit the Mailman listinfo page for the or-phd-students list.

If you are interested in receiving job postings for OR-related students, please subscribe to the OR jobs e-mail list. To do so, visit the Mailman listinfo page for the or-jobs-announce list.

Ph.D. Requirements:

Look at the requirements for a Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering
this contains both general department guidelines as well as specific course requirements for the Ph.D. program in Operations Research.  Students who meet the Group I and II requirement of the OR program automatically meet the departmental breadth requirement in both "Systems Modeling and Optimization" and in "Probability and Stochastic Systems" provided that they take courses at Stanford.  Depending on the prerequisites taken at Stanford and the particular Group I and II courses taken here, students may also automatically meet the departmental breadth requirements in one or more of the four areas: Information Science and Technology; Economics and Finance; Decision Analysis and Risk Analysis; and Production Operations and Management.

Offered Courses:

For a list of courses currently offered, check out the Department of Management Science and Engineering’s list of courses in the Stanford course catalog, the Stanford Bulletin; Operations Research courses are typically numbered 11x, 12x, 21x, 22x, 31x, or 32x.  Students in Operations Research will also typically take courses offered at Stanford in Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering.

Department of Management Science and Engineering, School of Engineering, Stanford University