Operations Management PhD

Degree Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.

Requirements can also be found in the Program Guidelines for Operations Management PhD students issued by the Kellogg School of Management. 


While the goal of our doctoral program is the awarding of a PhD degree, a Master of Science (MS) degree may be awarded to currently enrolled, qualified doctoral students. Students who are continuing for a PhD degree, or students who withdraw from the PhD program, may be considered for a MS degree if they are in good academic standing, they have completed a minimum of three quarters of coursework with a cumulative 3.0 GPA, and they have achieved a minimum of a “master’s pass” on the preliminary (“field”) exam.


Total Units Required: 24

Students in the PhD program are required to take 24 courses or a minimum of 4 courses in fall, winter, and spring quarters during years one and two.Registration for independent research study with a professor can count towards the coursework requirement. Required courses for the degree are listed below:

Course Title
ECON 410-1Microeconomics
ECON 410-3Microeconomics
ECON 480-2Econometrics
ECON 480-3Econometrics
IEMS 460-1Stochastic Processes I
MECS 560-1Static Optimization in Economics (or equivalent in IEMS)
MECS 560-2Dynamic Optimization in Economics (or equivalent in IEMS)
OPNS 516-0Stochastic Foundations
OPNS 521-0Foundations of Operations Management
OPNS 525-0Emerging Areas in Operations Managements

Operations PhD students are also required to take one MBA course at the Kellogg School of Management: either OPNS 430-0 , “Operations Management,” or OPNS 440-0 , “Designing and Management Business Processes.”

To fulfill the 24-course requirement for the PhD degree, students must take at least 13 approved electives, which may include independent study (OPNS 499-0), in addition to the 11 required courses listed above.

Other PhD Degree Requirements

  • Examinations: Students will take a comprehensive qualifying exam at the end of the first year on the subjects of microeconomics, optimization and stochastic models.
  • Research/Projects: Oral presentation of a research paper to a faculty committee that demonstrates competency in operations research during the first week of the fall quarter of the third year. Upon successfully passing this summer paper and maintaining a 3.0  GPA in the coursework, students are admitted to candidacy.
  • PhD Dissertation: Original and significant research. Topic and advisor or advisors should be selected in the third year; presentation of preliminary results (prospectus) to the faculty committee  no later than December 15 of the fourth year.
  • Final Evaluations: Oral final examination on dissertation and submission of an approved dissertation.