Master's in Statistics & Operations Research

Individuals who want to work with data or move into higher education may benefit from completing a Master's in Statistics and Operations Research. Students gain an understanding of tools and theories they'll use in research and math-heavy careers. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Get into a Master's Program in Statistics and Operations Research

To enter a master's program in statistics or operations research, applicants must already have a bachelor's degree and certain schools may require this to be in a certain field. They must submit scores for the Graduate Record Examination, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a copy of a resume or curriculum vitae.

How to Earn a Master of Science in Statistics and Operations Research

At many schools, this degree program is split. There's either a Master of Science in Statistics or a Master of Science in Operations Research (or, it may be called Data Science). Regardless, these programs are suitable for students who want to pursue a doctoral degree, work in data science, business analysis, or operations research. These programs can take as little as a year to complete.

Mathematics & Statistics

Students learn about topics like elementary decision theory, as well as point and interval estimation. In this class, exploration of random samples gives students an idea of how likely outcomes may be. Individuals are typically required to complete a prerequisite course that provides at least a cursory introduction to statistics.

Operations Management Introduction

In this course, students are introduced to concepts and tools they'll need to understand in order to assess and improve operations in different organizations. They may use a variety of case studies and simulations, among other tools, to get a sense of how to apply techniques they learn outside the classroom. Some topics in this course may include capacity analysis, risk pooling, risk management and management of pricing and revenue.

Stochastic Operations Research Models

Students learn about modeling based on probabilistic research, working to solve presented problems. Inventory models, game theory and forecasting models are all elements that students may learn about as they explore the models they could use professionally, or in further education efforts. This course includes discussion of a variety of theories in probabilistic research and operations research.

Simulation Models and Analysis

It's not unusual for students to need some knowledge of computer programming for this course. In this class, students learn to create their own models and simulations, using computer programs. There is an emphasis on statistical analysis in various simulations and models created by other students in the course.

The Theory Behind Operations Management

In this class, students learn about the math behind operations management theory. Inventory, supply chain and logistics management are all things the course will cover. Individuals also gain practical experience in using theoretical models to solve operations-focused problems.

Career Paths in Statistics and Operations Management

Operations Research Analyst

An aspiring operations research analyst may qualify for an entry-level position with a bachelor's degree, but it's not uncommon for employers to look for individuals with master's degrees. These professionals may work in healthcare, finance, manufacturing, or other fields. Job duties may include collecting information and applying statistical analysis techniques to data. They could also be responsible for advising decision makers on their findings.

Market Research Analysts

Some jobs require a master's degree, particularly those in research positions. These professionals may work singly or as part of a team, measuring how well marketing efforts work, or gathering information. Often, market research analysts are tasked with monitoring trends in marketing and forecasting trends for use in other marketing efforts.


Many statisticians have positions in the government, higher education, or research and development. These individuals use theories and modeling to solve real world problems. They may be asked to create and use surveys and experiments as part of their information gathering efforts.


Economists spend their time conducting research and exploring market trends. They interpret trends, advise others on economic issues, and offer solutions to a variety of problems. These professionals may also write and publish scholarly articles.

Survey Researcher

In research firms, polling groups and a variety of other organizations, survey researchers design and conduct surveys to gain information. They test surveys before deploying them to their intended audiences, find and solve issues that come up when they don't get the data they expected and needed, and summarize the results. These surveys may be for government research, to get information on public opinion, or for marketing purposes.

Human Resource Manager

Human Resource Managers may have master's level degrees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are involved in recruitment and hiring, strategic planning, and may represent employees when dealing with executives. Human resource managers get involved when there are staffing issues, coordinate employee benefits, and supervise other staff members.


These statisticians work in the medical field and in public health. They design studies and gather information, including determining things like appropriate sample sizes for research. They also analyze information, whether it comes from their own research or someone else's.

Statistical Data Analyst

Individuals in this position work in clinical and non-clinical settings, with research and development departments to analyze studies. They may collaborate with scientists and other data scientists to conduct research. They are responsible for analyzing and reporting information as well as maintaining documentation.

Job TitleMedian Salary**(2018)Job Growth*(2018-2028)
Operations Research Analyst $75,772 26%
Market Research Analysts $53,341 20%
Statistician $72,152 30%
Economist$74,00 8%
Survey Researcher $54,237 1%
Human Resource Manager $66,383 7%
Biostatisticians $75,524 30%
Statistical Data Analyst $59,559 26%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **

A degree in Statistics and Operations Research can prepare individuals for a variety of careers that focus on using and interpreting information to solve problems. These programs may be named Statistics, Operations Research, or Data Science, depending on the university one chooses.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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