Oct 31, 2020  
2020-2021 Florida Tech Catalog 
2020-2021 Florida Tech Catalog

Operations Research, Ph.D.

Major Code: 9074 Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Mode(s): Classroom Admission Status: Graduate
Admission Materials: letters of recommendation, résumé, objectives, transcripts Location(s): Main Campus - Melbourne

The doctoral program in operations research is designed for students interested in pursuing research at the cutting edge of the discipline. Students conduct in-depth research in a field of mathematics that complements their academic interests and career goals. The program sets the stage for innovation by fostering the integration of ideas, creating new tools, and opening new avenues for multidisciplinary research. Current areas of research include stochastic processes, optimization, computational optimization, stochastic programming, biostatistics, image/signal processing, machine learning, game theory, and financial mathematics.

The core curriculum is designed to help students develop and advance skills for mathematical rigor and understanding of the applications of mathematics to engineering, science and nontechnical disciplines. The aim of the program is to prepare students at the highest academic level for a career in research, teaching and/or industry.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the doctoral program in operations research usually have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in mathematics or a related discipline. For admission, a student should have a superior academic record, demonstrating sufficient mathematics background. An application packet must include official transcripts, a statement of objectives, three letters of recommendation, and other relevant documents supporting the applicant’s academic preparation for a Ph.D. program in operations research. Applicants may contact faculty in the department  to identify a prospective advisor. 

General admission requirements and the process for applying are presented under Graduate Academic Information . Applications for fall semester enrollment must be submitted by June 8 and for spring semester enrollment by October 14.

Degree Requirements

The degree of doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) is conferred primarily in recognition of the breadth of scientific accomplishment and the power to investigate scientific problems independently, rather than for the completion of a definite course of studies. Although demanding a strong mathematical orientation, the doctoral program in operations research does not fall within the traditional boundaries of a single academic unit and the scope is quite broad. Consequently, every course in a student’s program of study is evaluated not only as to the content but also as to the way in which it complements other courses and furnishes breadth and depth to the program. The work should consist of advanced studies and scientific research that lead to a significant contribution and knowledge of a particular area of mathematics. 


The doctoral program in operations research requires a minimum of 72 semester credit hours after the bachelor’s degree or 42 semester credit hours after the master’s degree.

Each doctoral student must:

1.    complete an approved program of study,

2.    pass a comprehensive examination,

3.    successfully defend a research proposal and file a petition for admission to candidacy,

4.    complete a program of significant original research and present it at the graduate seminar and/or at a professional conference, and

5.    prepare and successfully defend a dissertation


Candidates must submit a manuscript to a refereed journal and are expected to publish major portions of the dissertation in refereed national or international journals or at a peer-reviewed major conference.

Required Coursework

Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree are required to successfully complete a minimum of 48 semester credit hours of coursework equivalent to 16 5000-level or above courses, ten of which must include the named courses required for the master’s degree in operations research.

Students entering the program with a master’s degree are required to successfully complete a minimum of 18 semester credit hours of coursework equivalent to six 5000-level or above mathematics courses on-site at the Melbourne campus.

Additional coursework in mathematics or a related field might be recommended in order to ensure the student has satisfactory knowledge for research. The academic advisor assists the student in any program plan revisions, which also require department head approval.

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination committee is appointed by the student’s advisor with the approval of the department head. The committee must include three faculty members from the Department of Mathematical Sciences including the student’s doctoral advisor and one graduate faculty member from another academic unit.

The student must pass a comprehensive examination after the successful completion of all coursework. The examination is written, comprising three parts: stochastic analysis, optimization and statistics. The subject areas must be approved by the student’s advisor.

A passing score on the comprehensive examination is 80 percent. A student who scores between 70-79 percent on any one part is given a follow-up oral examination conducted by the committee. A written re-test is given for a score of less than 70 percent.

Once the comprehensive examination is successfully passed, the comprehensive examination committee is dissolved and the dissertation committee formed.

Dissertation Research

The dissertation committee may be different from the comprehensive examination committee with the exception of the student’s advisor and is based on Graduate Policy 2.3.2 Changes in Committee.

The doctoral program requires the completion of a minimum of 24 semester credit hours of research under the supervision of the student’s advisor. At least 15 semester credit hours of dissertation research are required beginning with the term the student is admitted to candidacy.

The graduate policies pertaining to the requirements for the dissertation defense are found here. Before graduation, the student must present their dissertation research at the Graduate Student Seminar hosted by the Department of Mathematical Sciences, or at a professional conference. In addition, each candidate is required to submit a manuscript to a refereed journal and is expected to publish major portions of the dissertation in refereed national or international journals or a peer-reviewed major conference.

General degree requirements are presented under Graduate Academic Information .

Total Credits Required Beyond the Bachelor’s Degree: 72

Total Credits Required Beyond the Master’s Degree: 42