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MSc Operations Research & Analytics

Overview of the MSc programme

The MSc Operations Research & Analytics provides participants with the skills needed to apply mathematical methods to real-world analytics problems faced by companies, governments, and other institutions. With study in both practice and theory, participants will gain deep insight into analytics problems. On the practical side, they will learn how to model a range of real-world problems using optimisation, simulation, and statistics, using specialist software taught with accompanying computer lab sessions. On the theoretical side, they will learn to recognise the canonical underlying mathematical problems, and discover how to solve them with state-of-the-art methods. Participants will also have the opportunity to undertake a Project in Operations Research & Analytics, working in a consultancy role in a host organisation, where they will turn a real problem faced by the organisation into a mathematical model whose solution provides tangible benefit. Alternatively, they may choose to write a Dissertation, supervised by a faculty member.

The programme is designed for students with strong quantitative backgrounds who wish to deepen and broaden their mathematical knowledge, while gaining skills in high demand in the marketplace. Graduates will be suited to careers in quantitative positions in consultancy, management, finance, government, and business, anywhere in the world. Some will also continue to higher degrees.

The programme aims to:

  • provide participants with a thorough grounding in fundamental concepts and methods of Operations Research & Analytics;
  • provide participants with a thorough understanding of the practical application of analytic methods through lectures, seminars and case studies, and from the opportunity of a real-world project done under supervision in the final three months of the course;
  • offer a range of intellectually challenging course options within Operations Research & Analytics and in Management, Mathematics, and Social Sciences;
  • allow specialisation, including the option of a dissertation as an alternative to the practical project;
  • develop participants’ skills in quantitative analysis, critical reading of texts, and the ability to convey complex ideas clearly.

Application code: G2U1

Duration of course: 12 months full-time only

Programme structure

This is a full-time, 12 month programme only.  Students will take 1 full-unit course and 6 half-unit courses (which typically run for one of the two main teaching terms).

The programme has three compulsory courses (two in Operations Research and one in Statistics) and a project or dissertation. These are as follows:

Fundamentals of Operations Research: This course is an introduction to a range of Operations Research techniques, including: the foundations of linear programming, including the simplex method and duality; queueing theory and birth and death processes; dynamic programming.

Modelling in Operations Research: This course covers simulation and optimisation. Simulation topics include Monte Carlo simulation, Markov processes, discrete event simulation and variance reduction. The Optimisation part studies a range of modern techniques and approaches, including: the modelling life-cycle and modelling environments; formulation of problems using linear and network models, and the solution of such problems with a special-purpose programming language; interpretation of the solutions and the limitations of such models; formulation and solution.

Data Analysis and Statistical Methods: This course studies common techniques of statistical inference (together with theoretical justification). The techniques are then applied to linear and logistic regression and basic time series models. Statistical software R constitutes an integral part of the course and provides hands-on experience of data analysis.

In addition, each participant completes a Project or Dissertation in Operations Research & Analytics. As well as these core elements, students choose two courses from a range of course in Mathematics and Operations Research, including one related to optimization and/or algorithms. They also choose a course in a Management subject.

The structure of the programme is shown below. (You should note that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, some circumstances may require the suspension or withdrawal of an individual course.) Course guides can be found on the School's Calendar.  

A course of value 0.5 unit typically runs for one of the two main teaching terms.  The total 'unit value' of courses taken is 4.0. 

Papers 1, 2 & 3 Compulsory:

Paper 1

  • MA423  Fundamentals of Operations Research (0.5) 

Paper 2

  • MA424  Modelling in Operations Research (0.5)

Paper 3 

  • ST447 Data Analysis and Statistical Methods (0.5)

Paper 4
One course from the following: 

  •  MA427  Mathematical Optimisation (0.5)
  • MA428  Combinatorial Optimisation (0.5)
  • MA429  Algorithmic Techniques for Data Mining (0.5)
  • MA430  Efficient Algorithms for Hard Optimisation Problems (0.5) (n/a 17/18)
  • MA407  Algorithms and Computation (0.5)
  • MA421  Advanced Algorithms (0.5)

Paper 5
One course from the following:

  • MG401  Operations Management for Management Consultancy (0.5)

  • MG403  Pricing Strategy (0.5)

  • MG405  Behavioural Decision Science (0.5) (n/a 17/18)

  • MG409  Auctions and Game Theory (0.5) *

  • MG422  Thinking Strategically (0.5) *

  • MG455  Consumer Insights II: Judgement and Decision Making  (0.5) (na  17/18)

  • MG456  Analytics for Strategic Decisions  (0.5)

  • MG481  Innovating Organisational Information Technology (0.5)

  • MG4B3  International Marketing: A Strategic Approach (0.5)
    Any other MG4** course, with approval of the Programme Director.

Paper 6
One course from the following:
Another course from the list under Paper 4 above

  • MA402  Game Theory I (05) *

  • MA408  Discrete Mathematics and Graph Theory (0.5)

  • MA409  Continuous Time Optimisation (0.5)

  • MA410  Information, Communication and Cryptography (0.5)

  • MA431  Advanced Topics in Operations Research and Applicable Mathematics (0.5) (n/a 17/18)

  • ST409  Stochastic Processes (0.5)

  • ST422  Time Series (0.5)

  • ST444  Statistical Computing (0.5)
    Any other MSc-level course, with approval of the Programme Director and the teacher responsible for the course.

Paper 7

  • MA425  Project in Operations Research & Analytics (1.0)


  • MA426  Dissertation in Operations Research & Analytics (1.0)

* Students may only choose one the following three optional courses as part of this programme: MG409, MG422, MA402.
Please note that not all optional courses from papers 4, 5, 6 are available every year.


Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally posess at least an upper second class honours degree in a relevant discipline.  Applicants should also normally have taken university courses including calculus, linear algebra, and statistics.  Appropriate work experience also considered (see entry requirements)

For detailed information about the equivalence of non-UK qualifications, please see information for international students.

English requirements
An IELTS or TOEFL is required if English is not your first language, or you do not have proof of your previous degree being taught in English (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: Not mandatory but recommended

Full details regarding entry requirements can be found on the Graduate Admissions pages. 


How to Apply

Application procedure Applications are made centrally to the Graduate Admissions Office.

Personal Statement and Supporting Information The personal statement should be 2–3 pages (A4) in length and we recommend including the following information:

  • How elements of your background relate to the MSc in Operations Research & Analytics programme
  • Reasons/motivation for studying this degree at the LSE
  • An explanation for any grades you believe do not accurately reflect your ability
  • Information about future plans and how the programme fits in with these plans

Transcripts Please include transcripts of subjects taken in the relevant degrees and copies of all certificates and relevant qualifications mentioned in your application.

References Two academic references are required with the application. If you graduated before January 2013, one academic reference should suffice, plus one professional reference. Seek the advice of Graduate Admissions if you are unsure.

Deadline There is no official application deadline for this course, but you are advised to apply as early as possible because competition for places is fierce. We are only allowed to make a certain number of offers, and late applicants may be placed on a waiting list.

You can check whether the programme is currently open for applications on this page.

Application code: G2U1

Duration of course: 12 months full-time only

Fee level: £22,440

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Financial support)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions


All applications are processed centrally through the School's Graduate Admissions Office.  To make an application and for further information on the application procedure, consult Graduate Admissions.  

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the entry requirements/required academic background for this degree? Applicants should normally possess at least an upper second class honours degree in a relevant degree (or equivalent, if awarded by a non-UK institution).  Applicants should normally have taken university courses including calculus, linear algebra, and statistics. Candidates with degrees in mathematics or statistics, also economics, business, finance, engineering, science or social science subjects.  Appropriate work experience will also be considered.

Further information on the the LSE's minimum entry requirements for master's degrees can be found here.

If you have more specific queries that are not addressed on this page or elsewhere on the LSE website, email maths.info@lse.ac.uk

Can I contact an academic member of staff or current student about my application? No. This is because the very large number of enquiries we receive every year. You can address your queries to administrative staff in the Department, and the School's Graduate Admissions team.

When should I apply? Applications opens October each year, for admission in the following September.

Full details about the application process are available on the Graduate Admissions pages. Ensure that you send your application and any related material to Graduate Admissions—sending material directly to the Department will only delay it.

There are no official application deadlines for this course, but you are advised to apply as early as possible because competition for places is fierce. We are only able to make a certain number of offers, and late applicants may be placed on a waiting list.

You can check whether a degree programme is still open for applications on this page.

Do I need to submit a GRE/GMAT score? It is not a requirement for this MSc, but it is recommended.

Do I need work experience? No, work experience is not a requirement for this degree. However, relevant experience may strengthen your application, provided you already meet the minimum academic requirements.

What if English is not my first language? If your first language is not English, or if the language of instruction of your previous degree(s) was not English, we ask you to provide evidence of your command of English. Please consult the relevant Graduate Admissions pages for further information. 

I am an overseas student, but have studied previously in the UK—do I still need to submit IELTS scores? If you have successfully completed a degree taught in English, then you are not required to submit an IELTS or TOEFL score.

Do you interview applicants? No.

How can I check the status of my application? All applicants will be given access to the Graduate Application Tracker.

How long is the programme? The MSc in Operations, Research and Analytics is a 12 month programme, beginning in September each year.

How is the academic year structured? The academic year consists of three terms. Michaelmas (Sep–Dec) and Lent (Jan–Mar) terms are both 11 weeks long, and Summer term (Apr–Jun) last 7 weeks. The majority of teaching normally takes place in Michaelmas and Lent terms, with only revision lectures and exams in Summer term. Term dates can be found here.

How are the courses structured? Courses run by the Department of Mathematics will usually consist of two hour-long lectures and one hour-long class/seminar per week during the two main teaching terms. Lectures and classes are spread over the week, and are taught in various teaching rooms at the School. Timetabling of courses run by other departments is not under our control, and it is possible that some teaching clashes may oc

Students on the MSc in Operational Research & Analytics are required to take courses to the value of 4.0 units. Please see the Programme Regulations for more details.

Where can I get more detailed information on each course? Further information on each course is available here. Please note, not all optional courses are available each year.

How and when do I choose my options? Students have until the third week of the first term (Michaelmas Term) to finalise their options. Courses are selected online using the LSEforYou system. All new students receive a user name and password when they register, giving them access to their student profile online in order to choose courses. Instructions are provided online but the process will also be explained at induction. Each student's Tutor and the Programme Director will then access these initial course choices to approve them (or not, if they are not felt to be suitable to the requirements of the degree). When a student would like to take a course option outside the Mathematics Department they need to ask the permission of the lecturer on that course as certain restrictions may apply. Students also need the approval of the Programme Director if these outside options are not explicitly stated in our programme regulations. 

Further information is available on the Graduate Course Choice page.

Do I need to submit a dissertation or project? Yes, students have the option of completing a project or a supervised dissertation and is a central part of the programme. Students who choose the Project module will be found work in a host organisation (in business, government, health, or a social non-profit organisation), in a consultancy role, typically turning a real problem faced by the organisation into a mathematicial model whose solution provides tangilble benefit. 

Is there any reading I can do in advance? You are not required to do any preliminary reading in advance of this MSc, but if you wish to read some material, we can make a few suggestions.  If you do not have experience of computer programming, you could learn the language R, which you will use in ST447Data Analysis and Statistical Methods.  Programming will also give you a sense of what computers can and cannot do, that will be useful in all algorithmic courses. Good starting points are "Introductory Statistics with R" by Peter Dalgaard, and the Coursera course www.coursera.org/learn/r-programming.

Linear algebra plays a major role in the field of OR and in several key courses. If you need to refresh your memory in this area there are many good textbooks to choose from; one taking a relatively concrete approach to the topic is “Linear Algebra: Concepts and Methods” by Martin Anthony and Michele Harvey.

The Department sends out information packs to successful applicants in August. .

Are there any other MSc Mathematics programmes? Yes, the MSc in Applicable Mathematics and MSc in Financial Mathematics.

Is it possible to do this programme part-time? No, this course is only available to full-time students. 

How much does the programme cost? For up-to-date information on fees and further details, consult the School's Fees pages.

What funding is available? A small number of awards are available from the School as part of the Graduate Support Scheme.

Full details of all scholarships and funding available from the School and from external bodies can be found on the Financial Support website.

What do people go on to after their degree? Graduates will be suited to careers in quantitative positions in consultancy, management, finance, government and business, anywhere in the world. Some specific destinations of  former students are: Accenture, Bank of China, British Airways, Deloitte, Experian, Huawei, L'Oreal, McKinsey & Co,, Panasonic, Paypal, Pricewater House, Royal Bank of Scotland, Tiger Airways. Graduates have also been accepted for PhDs.