Operations Research and Industrial Engineering
Areas of Study
Operations research is a mathematical science concerned with optimal decision making and the modeling of deterministic and probabilistic systems. Its focus and field of application are interdisciplinary, embracing a range of quantitative techniques with components in engineering, economics, computer science, and systems theory. Industrial engineering is concerned with the design, improvement, and installation of integrated systems of personnel, material, and equipment. Together, operations research and industrial engineering provide a rational approach to engineering and managerial problem solving through the deliberate application of scientific methods.
In practice, operations research and industrial engineering addresses both the performance objectives and the resource constraints of an organization; it works toward establishing the policies that are most beneficial to the organization as a whole. Problems may be as specific as improving the efficiency of a production line or as broad as developing a long-range corporate strategy to address a combination of financial, marketing, and technological concerns.
As industrial and socioeconomic systems become more complex, analysis in depth becomes more necessary. Operations research provides the basis for solving practical problems characterized by complicated and uncertain environments, whether in government, industry, or the military. The function of the operations research analyst is to guide decision making by identifying underlying cause-and-effect relationships, developing and proposing courses of action, establishing criteria by which to judge their effectiveness, and evaluating their probable effects.
Graduate Studies Committee
The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 1998-1999.
The Admission Committee uses the following policies in considering applicants for admission. Each application is reviewed on its merits.
Master of Science in Engineering
To enter the MSE program, a student should have an undergraduate degree in engineering or an equivalent quantitative field such as mathematics, economics, or one of the physical sciences. The graduate adviser may require those with degrees in other fields to take additional courses. In general, an adequate background includes coursework in probability, statistics, computer programming, linear algebra, calculus, engineering economics, and optimization. These courses may be taken after enrollment, but they usually will not be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements.
The operations research component of the program emphasizes the application of mathematics to a variety of economic and operational problems. Students take advanced coursework in optimization, probability and statistics, and stochastic processes. Those interested primarily in industrial engineering may concentrate on forecasting, project management, production planning and control, scheduling, or reliability. Each student must complete either thirty semester hours of coursework, including a thesis; thirty-three semester hours of coursework, including a report; or thirty-six hours of coursework. More coursework may be required, depending on the student's background and goals. All options require at least two courses in a minor area, which usually comprises work in mathematics, business, computer science, or other branches of engineering.
Doctor of Philosophy
The chief components of this program are scholastic excellence and original research. Although there is no specific number of semester hours required for the doctoral program, the student must meet the requirements of the Graduate Studies Committee. He or she usually completes twenty-four to thirty-six semester hours of graduate coursework beyond the master's degree. Formal admission to candidacy is considered by the Graduate Studies Committee after a thorough review of the student's overall academic record and performance on the doctoral qualifying examination.
For More Information
Campus address: Engineering Teaching Center (ETC) 5.128, phone (512) 471-1336, fax (512) 471-8727
Mailing address: Operations Research and Industrial Engineering Program, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-7013
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