About Operations Research | NC State OR

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About Operations Research

Last Updated: 06/21/2024 | All information is accurate and still up-to-date

The Operations Research Graduate Program (OR) at NC State University distinguishes itself through collaboration across the Colleges of Engineering and Sciences and the Poole College of Management. Our faculty expertise spans engineering, science, management, textiles, and forestry.

Moreover, we proudly welcome our nation’s veterans and military families. The Military OR Group includes active-duty US service members and military veterans from all branches. Recognized as one of the top 10 military-friendly programs, it has been named a Military Times Best College.

About Operations Research Degrees

The program offers three advanced degrees and two minors:

Furthermore, you can often secure teaching and research assistant positions across various departments such as computer science, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering, mathematics, and statistics.

Student Organizations

You can join several student organizations through the Operations Research Program.

All organizations promote professional development and management and offer social interaction opportunities.

The History of the Operations Research Program

Since 1963, Operations Research activities at NC State began with a couple of courses like Introduction to OR and Linear Programming. These initiatives expanded into a minor field of graduate study with courses in Nonlinear Programming, Dynamic Programming, Econometrics, and Special Topics. Initially driven by the Statistics and Electrical Engineering departments, support also came from Economics and Industrial Engineering.

Between 1963 and 1970, graduate theses labeled as “OR” were produced under the auspices of departments like Statistics (for Ph.D. dissertations) and Electrical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (for MSc theses).

The official Program started on January 16, 1970, by decree of the now-defunct N.C. Board of Higher Education. This decree established two sister programs: one at NC State University and another at UNC at Chapel Hill. Both were authorized to grant master’s and doctorate degrees in OR. Since then, OR has operated as a distinct graduate program, setting its academic requirements, admitting students, and awarding degrees under the Graduate School.

Salah Elmaghraby, a renowned figure in the field, was the founding director of the OR program at NC State. His leadership set a high standard, followed by other distinguished faculty members who have led the program forward.

About Operations Research Leadership

  • 1990-1995 | Shu-Cherng Fang (Industrial Engineering)
  • 1995-2000 | W.J. (Bill) Stewart (Computer Science)
  • 2000-2001 | Shu-Cherng Fang (Industrial and Systems Engineering) NOTE: Fang was asked by the deans of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (Now Sciences) and the Graduate School to assume interim directorship to create a co-directorship with one co-director from Engineering and one from Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
  • 2001-2003 | Elmor Peterson (Mathematics) and Xiuli Chao (Industrial Engineering)
  • 2003-2004 | Yahya Fathi (Industrial Engineering) and Ralph Smith (Mathematics)
  • 2004-2005 | Hien Tran (Mathematics)
  • 2005-2010 | Hien Tran (Mathematics) and Negash Medhin (Mathematics)
  • 2010-2013 | Negash Medhin (Mathematics) and Thom Hodgson (Industrial and Systems Engineering)
  • 2013-2017 | Negash Medhin (Mathematics) and Michael Kay (Industrial and Systems Engineering)
  • 2017-2022 | Michael Kay (Industrial and Systems Engineering)
  • 2022-present | Maria Mayorga (Industrial and Systems Engineering)