Ph.D. with Operations Research Focus

Course Requirements

Note: All course descriptions can be found in LionPATH.

Core Group – all courses in this group must be taken

  • IE 505: Linear Programming
  • IE 511: Experimental Design in Engineering
  • IE 516/SCIS 516: Applied Stochastic Processes
  • IE 521: Nonlinear Programming

Domain Groups – a total of four courses must be taken from the domain groups; students must take at least one course in each domain 

Domain I: Mathematical Programming

  • IE 510: Integer Programming
  • IE 512: Graph Theory and Networks in Management
  • IE 519: Dynamic Programming
  • IE 520: Multiple Criteria Optimization
  • IE 588: Nonlinear Networks
  • IE 589: Dynamic Optimization and Differential Games
  • IE 597A: Convex Optimization
  • IE 597G: Stochastic Optimization
  • IE 597K: Robust Optimization

Domain II: Stochastic Processes/Statistical Methods

  • IE 509: Operations Research: Waiting Line Models
  • IE 530: Financial Engineering
  • IE 532: Reliability Engineering
  • IE 555: Statistical Process Monitoring and Analysis
  • IE 583: Response Surface Methodology and Process Optimization
  • IE 584: Time Series Control and Process Adjustment
  • IE 597G: Stochastic Optimization
  • IE 597I: Advanced Stochastic Processes
  • EE 560: Probability, Random Variables, and Stochastic Processes
  • STAT 513: Theory of Statistics
  • STAT 517/MATH 517: Probability Theory
  • STAT 518/MATH 518: Probability Theory
  • STAT 519/MATH 519: Topics in Stochastic Processes
  • STAT 551: Linear Models I
  • STAT 557: Data Mining I
  • STAT 561: Statistical Inference

Domain III: Operations Research Practice

  • IE 507: Operations Research: Scheduling Models
  • IE 533: Workforce Engineering
  • IE 562: Expert Systems Design in Industrial Engineering
  • IE 566: Quality Control
  • IE 568: Healthcare Systems Engineering
  • IE 570/SCIS 570: Supply Chain Engineering
  • IE 582: Information Technology for Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • IE 597: Optimization for Modern Data Analysis
  • IE 597C: Service Networks: Empirical Analysis, Modeling & Management

Note: For Ph.D. students admitted beginning with the spring 2016 semester and thereafter, IE 597B: Advanced Linear Programming will replace IE 505 in the core course requirements. As a result, IE 597B will replace IE 505 in the Ph.D. candidacy exam. Doctoral students taking the candidacy exam will be asked questions from the following list of core courses:

  • IE 597B: Advanced Linear Programming
  • IE 511: Experimental Design in Engineering
  • IE 516/SCIS 516: Applied Stochastic Processes
  • IE 521: Nonlinear Programming

Students who started the Ph.D. program in the fall 2015 semester or earlier have the option of taking either IE 597B or IE 505 as a core course.

Grade Point Average Requirements

A grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 (C) or higher must be achieved in each of the above eight courses with the student averaging a GPA of 3.33 (B +) or higher in the courses.

Ph.D. Candidacy Exam

The candidacy exam can be taken only after a student completes the eight courses in the core group and the domain groups while meeting the GPA requirements. The exam has two components: an in-class written exam and an oral exam. A student is expected to pass both these components in order to successfully pass the candidacy exam. The process will be as follows:

  • In-class written exam: Each student will have approximately four hours to complete the exam (two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon). The exam will be closed book/notes unless a different format is announced in advance. The exam will include four questions prepared by the Operations Research faculty, one question from each core course (from the Core Group). An important aspect of the exam is to assess the way the student thinks about a given problem and approaches the solution. Each answer will be graded anonymously by the faculty member who prepared the question based on a scale of 0-10. One of the following outcomes will be the result of this evaluation for each student:
    • Pass: This outcome is the result when the student receives a score of 7 or higher on each of the four questions.
    • Conditional Pass: In this case, the student receives a score of 7 or higher in three of the four exam questions. The student will have to take an additional course selected by the Operations Research faculty with a grade of a B or better to pass the written component.
    • Fail: If this is the first time that the student has not passed the written exam, the faculty should provide feedback as to how the student should better prepare for the exam, if they think that the student can successfully pass the exam with additional preparation, or ask the student to leave the program, if they think it is in the student’s best interest do so.

If the student fails the written exam for a second time, the student must leave the program.

  • Oral exam: Students that pass or pass with condition the written exam will be permitted to take the oral portion of the exam. This component will be conducted by the Operations Research faculty and the student’s adviser. The student will give a 20-minute presentation on a research topic selected by the student and his/her adviser. The faculty members, except the adviser, may ask questions during or after the presentation related to the research topic or course material from the four domain courses taken by the student. Each faculty member, except the adviser, will grade the performance on a scale of 0-10. The lowest and highest scores (outliers) will be eliminated and the average of the remaining scores will be the grade for this component. One of the following outcomes will be the result of this evaluation for each student:
    • Pass: This outcome is the result when the student receives an average score of 7 or higher.
    • Fail: If this is the first time the student has not passed the oral exam, the faculty should provide feedback as to how the student should better prepare for the exam, if they think that the student can successfully pass the exam with additional preparation, or ask the student to leave the program, if they think it is in the student’s best interest do so.

If the student fails the oral exam for a second time, the student must leave the program.

If Student Passes the Candidacy Examination

The Graduate School will be notified of the names of those who pass the candidacy examination. In addition, the student can officially select an adviser and other members of his/her doctoral committee, after passing the English Proficiency Examination. Informal selection of an adviser can be done at any time after the student starts his/her graduate program.

If Student Fails the Candidacy Examination

A student is allowed to take the candidacy examination only two times. No student will be permitted to continue in the Ph.D. program after failing the examination twice.

Please note: It is urged that the comprehensive examination is taken as soon as possible after passing the candidacy examination and the English Proficiency Examination

It is strongly recommended that students schedule the comprehensive examination within 18 months after passing the candidacy examination.

Doctoral Committee

English Proficiency Examination 

Comprehensive Examination

Dissertation Requirements

Final Defense

academic plans iconapply nowcontact us icon
 
Research Areas
Facilities and Labs
Student Organizations
Funding Opportunities
 

About

Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

We are Innovators. We are Makers. We are Excellence in Engineering. We are Penn State IME.

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

310 Leonhard Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-7601

FAX: 814-863-4745