A student must be admitted to one of the participating programs first. After the student joins the participating program, he/she should fill out the application form found in the Admissions section of the Operations Research website and submit it to the Chair of the Operations Research Program. The application for admission to the dual doctoral degree must be submitted before the student takes the candidacy examination in his/her department.
Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in both their primary graduate program and OR. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.
The minimum requirements for the Ph.D. dual-title degree in Operations Research are:
- 9 credits in stochastic/statistical methods, including a minimum of 3 credits in stochastic processes and 3 credits in statistical methods.
- 9 credits in optimization, including 3 credits in linear programming.
- 6 credits in computational methods, including a minimum of 3 credits in simulation.
- 12 credits in applications/specialization.
Check the approved OR classes.
The minimum number of credits for Ph.D. students is 36 credits of OR approved classes, with a minimum of 18 credits in the 500 series. Particular courses may satisfy both the graduate major program requirements and those in the OR program.
The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Operations Research program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both the primary graduate degree program and Operations Research. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.
In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the chair and at least two members of the doctoral committee of an OR dual-title Ph.D. student must be members of the OR Graduate Faculty. One of these two members should be the external member in the student’s doctoral committee. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. The OR representatives on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.
“A Dual Ph.D. degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research gave me a great cross-discipline perspective including engineering, business, statistics, and math. This broad perspective prepared me to tackle problems from Antarctica to the Pentagon, and continues to serve me well in my career to this day.”
– Brian Rieksts, a 2004 Penn State graduate who is now a research staff member with the Cost Analysis and Research Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses.