About Operations Research | NC State OR

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Operations Research at NC State

Last Updated: 09/01/2023 and all information on this page is accurate and up-to-date

The Operations Research Graduate Program (OR) at NC State University is unique from many other OR programs because of its diverse nature shared by the Colleges of Engineering and Sciences and the Poole College of Management. The diversity of its faculty ranges not only from engineering and science but also management, textiles and forestry.

The program proudly welcomes our nation’s veterans and military families. The Military OR Group includes US active duty and military veterans from all Services. It has earned a top 10 military-friendly ranking and was named a Military Times Best College.

The program offers three advanced degrees and two minors:

  • Master of Operations Research (on-campus and online) (non-thesis)
  • Master of Science in Operations Research (thesis)
  • Ph.D. in Operations Research
  • Operations Research Minor (MS)
  • Operations Research Minor (Ph.D.)

OR students have teaching and research assistant positions in many departments, including computer science, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering, mathematics and statistics.

Student Organizations

OR students can join several student organizations through the Operations Research Program.

All organizations promote your professional development and governance and offer social interaction opportunities.

The History of the Operations Research Program

Operations Research activities have existed at NC State since 1963, first in the form of a couple of courses (an Introductory course and a course on Linear Programming), then as a “minor” field of graduate study with a few more courses (in Nonlinear Programming, Dynamic Programming, Econometrics, and Special Topics). These activities were spearheaded by the Statistics and Electrical Engineering departments, with support from Economics and Industrial Engineering. Between 1963 and 1970, graduate theses that may legitimately be labeled “OR” were written under the auspices of the sponsoring department, notably Statistics (for Ph.D. dissertations) and Electrical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (for the MSc theses).

The Program as we know it came “officially” into being on January 16, 1970, by a decree of the (now defunct) N.C. Board of Higher Education. That decree established two sister programs: one at NC State University and the other at UNC at Chapel Hill, and authorized both to grant master’s and doctorate’s degrees in OR. Since that date, OR has stood as a separate degree-granting graduate program, admitting its students, establishing its academic requirements, and awarding its degrees under the auspices of the Graduate School.

Salah Elmaghraby was the founding director of the OR program at NC State. Elmaghraby was a force – extremely well known in the field. After Elmaghraby, OR has been led by some of NC State’s most outstanding faculty members.

  • 1990-1995 | Shu-Cherng Fang (Industrial Engineering)
  • 1995-2000 | W.J. (Bill) Stewart (Computer Science)
  • 2000-2001 | Shu-Cherng Fang was asked by the deans of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (Now Sciences) and 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)