An Integrated PhD provides a route into research study if you do not have a Masters degree, or have very little research training. It enables you to spend your first year completing a Masters-level qualification, followed by a full-time PhD studied over 3-4 years. We also offer a ‘standard’ PhD in this subject which can be studied either full-time (3-4 years) or part-time (6-7 years).
Businesses, organisations, and individuals all strive to work as effectively as possible. Operational research uses advanced statistical and analytical methods to help improve the complex decision-making processes to deliver a product or service. Working in this field, you might be identifying future needs for a business, evaluating the time-life value of a customer, or carrying out computer simulations for airlines.
The first year of our Integrated PhD Operational Research will appeal to you if your first degree included mathematics as its major subject, and we expect you to have prior knowledge of statistics – for example significance testing or basic statistical distributions – and operational research such as linear programming.
In your second year you move onto the PhD element of the course. You’ll have the opportunity to explore areas where optimisation and mathematical modelling are important. These include logistics, revenue management, networks and stochastic control, areas of great practical interest and use in the public and private sectors. Our projects often have an experimental aspect which is underpinned by forefront mathematical and computational research in these areas.
Our interdisciplinary research recognises that mathematics, including what can be very abstract mathematics, is an essential part of research in many other disciplines.
All University of Essex research students have access to our innovative and unique scheme, Proficio. Postgraduate research students are automatically enrolled on Proficio, which provides a variety of training courses, and a fund of up to £2,500 per student for conference attendance and relevant external training courses.
Our Department of Mathematical Sciences is a small but influential department, so our students and staff know each other personally. You never need an appointment to see your tutors and supervisors, just knock on our office doors – we are one of the few places to have an open-door policy, and no issue is too big or small.
The Department of Mathematical Sciences has an international reputation in all areas of Mathematical Sciences including; statistics, operational research, applied mathematics, pure mathematics, and actuarial science.
Our staff are strongly committed to research and teaching. They have published several well-regarded text books and are world leaders in their individual specialisms, with their papers appearing in learned journals like Communications in Algebra, Studia Logica, International Journal of Algebra and Computation, SIAM Journal in Optimization, IEEE Evolutionary Computation, Computers and Operations Research, Ecology, Journal of Mathematical Biology, and Journal of Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology.
Our course will equip you with employability skills like problem solving, analytical reasoning, data analysis, and mathematical modelling, as well as training you in independent work, presentation and writing skills.
Your exposure to current active research areas, such as decomposition algorithms, prepares you for further study at doctoral level. Graduates of this course now hold key positions in government, business and academia, and work for global companies such as Ocado Technology and Dunnhumby, as well as for HM Revenue & Customs, as data and business intelligence analysts.
Many of our former PhD students have gone on to work as academics in prominent institutions across the world, such as the University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham and many other international universities. Some have also remained at the University of Essex, working as postdoctoral research fellows, research impact officers, or lecturers.
Other graduates have joined organisations like the Met Office, the Ministry of Defence, and companies based in the City of London. There is a high demand for those with a numerate background in all sectors of the economy, so our graduates are sought after in the UK and abroad.
We additionally work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
A good honours degree in one of the following subjects: Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Statistics, Operational Research, Computer Science, Finance, Economics, Business Engineering.
Our four year integrated PhD, allows you to spend your first year studying at Masters level in order to develop the necessary knowledge and skills and to start your independent research in year two.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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Most of our taught courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
The research element of your degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 01: CORE
COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONSOption(s) from list
COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY
A PhD (with a minimum period of three years) typically involves wide reading round the subject area in your first year, then gradually developing original results over your second and third years, before writing them up in a coherent fashion. The resulting thesis is expected to make a significant contribution to knowledge.
Your PhD is awarded after your successful defence of your thesis in an oral examination (viva), in which you are interviewed about your research by two examiners, at least one of whom is from outside Essex.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
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We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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