Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Operations Research

The Doctor of Philosophy in Operations Research has the following principal objectives:

1.) To train students who are able to advance the state of knowledge and practice in operations research through innovative research contributions.

2.) To train students who are able to integrate and apply principles from optimization, stochastic processes, simulations, and machine learning to innovate, and create operations research models and apply them to solve important real-world problems.

3.) To train students who are able to participate in multidisciplinary teams that include individuals whose primary background is in statistics, optimization, engineering, mathematics and science.

4.) To provide a high quality education that prepares individuals for careers in industry, government (e.g., national laboratories), and academia, both in terms of knowledge, computational (e.g., software development) skills, and mathematical modeling skills.

Students in the Ph.D. in Operations Research program choose a single track from Optimization, Stochastics, or Applications that guides the program of study as given below.

Domain Core (6 courses)
ISYE 6661Linear Optimization3
ISYE 6662Discrete Optimization3
ISYE 6663Nonlinear Optimization3
ISYE 6761Stochastic Processes I3
ISYE 6762Stochastic Processes II3
ISYE 6832Simulation Theory and Methods3
Depth Electives (3 or more courses)
Students choose courses below only in their chosen track:
Optimization
ISYE 6664Stochastic Optimization3
ISYE 6679Computational Methods in Optimization3
ISYE 7510Graph Algorithms3
ISYE 7661Theory of Linear Inequalities3
ISYE 7682Convexity3
ISYE 7683Advanced Nonlinear Programming3
ISYE 7686Advanced Combinatorial Optimization3
ISYE 7687Advanced Integer Programming3
ISYE 7688Computational Mathematical Programming3
Stochastics
ISYE 6664Stochastic Optimization3
MATH 6241Probability I3
MATH 6242Probability II3
MATH 7244Stochastic Processes and Stochastic Calculus I3
Applications
ISYE 6229Productivity Measurement and Analysis3
ISYE 6230Economic Decision Analysis3
ISYE 6664Stochastic Optimization3
ISYE 6759Stochastic Processes in Finance3
ISYE 7201Production and Service Systems Engineering3
ISYE 7203Logistics Systems Engineering3
MATH 7244Stochastic Processes and Stochastic Calculus I3
Breadth Electives (2 or more courses)
Students choose courses below only in their chose track
Optimization
ISYE 6230Economic Decision Analysis3
ISYE 6412Theoretical Statistics3
ISYE 6656Queuing Theory3
ISYE 7201Production and Service Systems Engineering3
ISYE 7203Logistics Systems Engineering3
ISYE 7400Advanced Design of Experiments3
ISYE 7401Advanced Statistical Modeling3
ISYE 7405Multivariate Data Analysis3
MATH 6014Graph Theory and Combinatorial Structures3
MATH 6241Probability I3
MATH 6242Probability II3
MATH 6643Numerical Linear Algebra3
MATH 6644Iterative Methods for Systems of Equations3
CS 6550Design and Analysis of Algorithms3
CS 7520Approximation Algorithms3
CS 7530Randomized Algorithms3
Stochastics
BIOL 7023Bioinformatics3
ISYE 6412Theoretical Statistics3
ISYE 6645Monte Carlo Methods3
ISYE 6679Computational Methods in Optimization3
ISYE 6759Stochastic Processes in Finance3
ISYE 7201Production and Service Systems Engineering3
ISYE 7203Logistics Systems Engineering3
ISYE 6400Design Of Experiments I3
ISYE 7401Advanced Statistical Modeling3
ISYE 7405Multivariate Data Analysis3
Applications
ISYE 6402Time Series Analysis3
SYE 6412
ISYE 6673Financial Optimization Models3
ISYE 6679Computational Methods in Optimization3
MATH 6014Graph Theory and Combinatorial Structures3
MATH 6241Probability I3
MATH 6242Probability II3
ISYE 6656Queuing Theory3
ISYE 7400Advanced Design of Experiments3
ISYE 7401Advanced Statistical Modeling3
ISYE 7405Multivariate Data Analysis3
ISYE 7682Convexity3
ISYE 7683Advanced Nonlinear Programming3
ISYE 7686Advanced Combinatorial Optimization3
ISYE 7687Advanced Integer Programming3
CS 6550Design and Analysis of Algorithms3
CS 7520Approximation Algorithms3
CS 7530Randomized Algorithms3
Comprehensive exam

The comprehensive examination for the Ph.D. in Operations Research is based on content of the courses in the Domain Core. Students must complete exams in ISYE 6661 and 6761, and one other Domain Core course.

Second year paper requirement

Students in the Ph.D. in Operations Research program are required to submit a second year paper no later than the end of Spring semester of their second full program year.  This paper at a minimum:

  • defines a research problem;
  • provides a literature review;
  • describes progress towards solving the research problem;
  •  identifies additional research questions to be answered and steps to be taken.

The advisor needs to certify that the document meets the above requirements, that it was written primarily by the student, and that the student is making good progress on research and should stay in the OR program. Should a student fail to complete the paper on time, they will be asked to leave the program.

Dissertation Research Proposal

The first step toward completing a final dissertation is to receive formal approval of a dissertation research topic.  This is accomplished via the Dissertation Research Proposal.  Students must present their dissertation research proposal to the Thesis Advisory Committee no later than the end of Spring semester of the student’s third full year in the program.

Each Ph.D. student must prepare a cogent, self-contained written research proposal that should describe the research to be addressed, demonstrate an understanding of existing work, describe intended research approaches, and present initial and anticipated results.  The student must deliver this proposal, along with an oral presentation, to his/her committee.  The content expected in the written research proposal should be discussed with the research advisor and committee members.

If judged to be satisfactory, the Thesis Advisory Committee members must sign the appropriate section of the Request for Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy form approving the thesis topic.  Each member of the committee must also complete the Dissertation Proposal

Assessment Form, available on the ISyE website.  The student should bring copies of all forms to the proposal presentation and is responsible for returning all forms to the Academic Programs Office. A student must present the thesis proposal at least one semester prior to the Final Doctoral Examination.

A student who fails to obtain approval of his/her thesis proposal must modify the existing proposal, and if required by the Thesis Advisory Committee, must defend the modified proposal in a subsequent oral presentation.  If this second thesis proposal is not successful, the student will have not more than 6 months to identify a new research topic and if necessary a new research advisor, and to report this information to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. Failing to do so will prevent a student from continuing in the program.

Dissertation

The primary requirement of a Ph.D. program is the completion of a dissertation, a written work documenting the research findings of a searching and authoritative investigation of a topic in the chosen primary field of study. The dissertation must either extend the boundaries of fundamental knowledge in a field or provide a new and better understanding or interpretation of facts already known. It should demonstrate that the candidate possesses powers of original thought, a talent for scholarship and research, and an ability to organize and present his/her findings.

Georgia Tech Graduate Studies maintains a website that discusses policies and requirements for Ph.D. dissertations at Georgia Tech.

Minor

The minor will follow the standard Georgia Tech requirement: 9 hours outside the student’s home unit, with a GPA in those courses of at least 3.0. The courses for the minor should form a cohesive program of study that is approved by the ACGS. Courses selected from the breadth requirements can be used to count toward the Minor.