Graduate Certificate in Operations Research

A graduate certificate in operations research can be completed within one year, and provides individuals with advanced knowledge in operations methods and processes, preparing them for a variety of careers. Read more below.

How to Earn a Graduate Certificate in Operations Research

Many schools offer a graduate certificate in operations research program, which can usually be completed within a year. These programs typically require a related bachelor's degree with a qualifying GPA and may consist of some of the following courses.

Linear Programming

In linear programming courses, students learn to solve problems through many methods of programming. The specific methods covered may include large-scale optimizations, upper bounds, and the simplex and revised simplex methods.


Discrete simulation courses will be included with most operations research certificate programs. These courses teach students to apply simulation models and analyses to discrete systems. Topics covered may include stochastic processes, random number generations, as well as other methods for improving simulation results.

Decision Making and Analysis

Decisions analysis courses typically cover models and methodologies for decisions and decision making. Some of the methodologies covered may include TOPSIS, multiattribute utility methods, analytic hierarchy process, and Bayesian analysis. Students may also learn how to handle situations in which data is uncertain, as well as some programming processes.

Operations Research Methods

Students in operations research courses learn about operations research methods such as the derivation of solutions and nonlinear optimization. Some programs may feature an operations research course as a fundamental requirement, while other programs may separate these topics into courses, such as linear programming. Other topics covered might include integer programming, software for linear programming, and negative variables.

Statistics and Probability

Statistics and probability classes cover different theories and processes of statistics and probability such as continuous and discrete probability distributions. Students may also learn about topics such as joint probability distribution, statistical intervals, probability distributions, and parameter estimation.

Admittance Requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Operations Research

A graduate certificate in operations research programs requires a bachelor's degree for admission. Many programs prefer a bachelor's degree in an engineering-related field, with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Programs usually consist of 12-18 credit hours, or 4-8 courses, and can be completed within a year. For applicants who do not hold a qualifying bachelor's degree, some schools accept relevant work experience in lieu of an engineering degree. Some programs may also require a GRE or an equivalent, a personal statement, and references.

What Can You Do with a Graduate Certificate in Operations Research?

Operations Research Analyst

According to BLS, operations research analyst positions are expected to grow by 26% through 2028, making it one of the fastest-growing careers. Options research analysts apply analytical and mathematical processes to problems in an effort to help company leaders make better decisions. These analysts collect information from employees, customers, and databases and analyze it using simulations and models which are learned during an operations research program.


BLS estimates that statistician jobs will grow 31% by 2028 because of the increasing use of statistics in varying fields. Statisticians collect and analyze data, as well as create and implement surveys and techniques, in an effort to solve problems or make recommendations to business leaders. Operations research programs typically have extensive coverage of statistics, probability, and problem-solving, enabling graduates to be prepared for the essential duties as statisticians.


Actuaries review and analyze potential financial costs related to uncertainty and risk using statistics and other theories that are typically studied within an operations research program. Actuaries compile and review data, create and test investments, and produce reports and presentations reflecting their findings. Actuaries perform most duties on computers using data software and assist their organizations with making cost-efficient decisions.


Logisticians organize and assess supply chains in organizations. Logisticians usually oversee a product's life cycle, from acquisition to allocation and delivery. Logisticians may meet with clients to develop an understanding of their needs and objectives, review functions of production for improvement areas, and create proposals for improvement strategies. Most employers seek candidates who have at least a bachelor's degree, and a graduate certificate provides an even better chance of employment because candidates have a deeper comprehension of operations and processes that are applicable to these positions.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Operations Research Analyst $83,390 26%
Statistician $87,780 31%
Actuary $102,880 20%
Logistician $74,600 5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Graduate certificates in operations research programs can be completed within a year, and require at least a bachelor's degree for admission. Programs typically cover statistics, optimization, as well as simulation, and prepare graduates' careers in many fields such as statistics and analysis.