Decision Sciences in Theory and Practice

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Gilberto Montibeller NAB 3.16 and Dr Barbara Fasolo NAB 3.15

Dr Melody Zhifang Ni


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Management Sciences. This course is available on the BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics, BSc in Management, BSc in Management and BSc in Statistics with Finance. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available with permission to General Course students.


Students must have completed Quantitative Methods (Mathematics) (MA107) and Quantitative Methods (Statistics) (ST107).

Pre-requisites are Mathematics, Probability Theory, and Statistics to the level of the course Quantitative Methods.

Course content

This full unit course examines 'decision capability', that is the ability of people to make judgments and decisions, and how that ability can be enhanced with appropriate processes and tools. The course blends research on how individuals and groups actually make decisions with theories on how they should make decisions in order to be consistent. The course encourages students to appreciate the influence of social context on decision making and decision analysis. It will cover the foundations of decision theory; models and theories describing how people form preferences, make judgements, deal with conflicting objectives, uncertainty, and risk - individually and in groups; and Decision Analytic tools for structuring and analysing decisions involving multiple stakeholders and conflicting objectives (multi-criteria evaluation and resource allocation problems) as well as uncertainty (decision trees, influence diagrams, risk analysis and Bayesian belief networks). The course uses illustrations of real-world Decision Analysis applications in organisations, and employs several case-studies (supported by specialised decision software) to build students' skills in decision modelling and analysis.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Four assignments will be required in each of MT and LT.

Indicative reading

R. Hastie & R. M. Dawes, Rational Choice in an Uncertain World; Bazerman, M.H (2005) Judgment in managerial decision making. New York: Wiley. Beach and Connolly (2005). The Psychology of Decision Making: People in Organizations. 2nd Edition, Sage W. Edwards & D. von Winterfeldt, Decision Analysis and Behavioral Research; P. Goodwin & G. Wright, Decision Analysis for Management Judgment (3rd Ed.); R.T. Clemen and T. Reilly, Making Hard Decisions with Decision Tools Suite.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Management Science Group

Total students 2012/13: 38

Average class size 2012/13: 12

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills