Our PhD Operational Research gives you the opportunity to explore areas where optimisation and mathematical modelling are important. These include logistics, revenue management, networks and stochastic control, areas of great practical interest and use in the public and private sectors. Our projects often have an experimental aspect which is underpinned by forefront mathematical and computational research in these areas.
Our staff are strongly committed to research and teaching. They have published several well-regarded text books and are world leaders in their individual specialisms, with their papers appearing in learned journals such as: International Journal of Mathematics in Operational Research, Transportation Science, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Mathematical Problems in Engineering, and European Journal of Operational Research.
Our Department of Mathematical Sciences is genuinely innovative and student-focused. Our research groups are working on a broad range of collaborative areas tackling real-world issues. Here are a few examples:
We also offer an MPhil and an MSD in this subject, and part-time research study is also available.
The Department of Mathematical Sciences has an international reputation in all areas of Mathematical Sciences including; statistics, operational research, applied mathematics, pure mathematics, and actuarial science.
We encourage PhD students to meet with their supervisor regularly. While undertaking your research within Mathematical Sciences, joint supervision across other Essex departments and schools is possible. Joint supervision allows you to have a supervisor based in our Department and another in a relevant Department or School (such as Life Sciences, or Computer Science and Electronic Engineering).
At the end of your PhD you may be publishing your research in academic journals. Our PhD students have had papers accepted and published in journals such as: Ecology, Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, Mathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena, and The North American Journal of Economics and Finance.
The Department of Mathematical Sciences is based in the University’s state-of-the-art STEM Centre. Research students have a dedicated work space and PCs, with access to software such as MATLAB, LaTeX and R.
All University of Essex research students have access to our innovative and unique scheme, Proficio. Postgraduate research students are automatically enrolled on Proficio, which provides a variety of training courses, and a fund of up to £2,500 per student for conference attendance and relevant external training courses.
Many of our former PhD students have gone on to work as academics in prominent institutions across the world, such as the University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham and many other international universities. Some have also remained at the University of Essex, working as postdoctoral research fellows, research impact officers, or lecturers.
Other graduates have joined organisations like the Met Office, the Ministry of Defence, and companies based in the City of London. There is a high demand for those with a numerate background in all sectors of the economy, so our graduates are sought after in the UK and abroad.
You will need a good honours degree and a Masters degree in a relevant subject. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You may be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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A research degree gives you the chance to investigate an area or topic in real depth, and develop transferable research skills. During your time in the Department you have opportunities to attend conferences, publish papers, and give talks at departmental research seminars. You may also attend some university modules, and will meet with your supervisor typically on a weekly basis.
Within our Department, our PhD students are usually encouraged to take our taught module, Research Methods, in the first year of study, so you are well equipped with the necessary skills to undertake effective research. You may also attend some other modules on an informal basis.
All our students wishing to study for a PhD enrol on a combined MPhil/PhD pathway. In your second year of study, depending on progress, a decision is made by our Department on whether to proceed with either an MPhil or a PhD.
Our full-time research students have a supervisory board to review their progress every six months (or annually if studying part-time). Typically, the board involves your supervisor and one other academic. The recommendations of this are considered by our Departmental Research Students’ Progress Board, which will make decisions on your registration status.
If you progress well, you should be confirmed as a PhD student in the first term of your second year of study.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
A PhD (taking at least three years) typically involves wide reading round the subject area in your first year, then gradually developing original results over your second and third years, before writing them up in a coherent fashion. The resulting thesis is expected to make a significant contribution to knowledge.
Your PhD is awarded after your successful defence of your thesis in an oral examination (viva), in which you are interviewed about your research by two examiners, at least one of whom is from outside Essex.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
Set within the 200-acre award-winning beautiful parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
Whether you are planning to visit us at one of our Open Days, or coming to an Applicant day. Our campus conveniently located and easy to reach by car, train or bus.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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