PhD Program

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  • Operations Management

    The purpose of our doctoral program is to train individuals in the pursuit of original and high-impact research in the field of Operations Management. Examples of research areas to which our students have contributed under the supervision of our faculty include: supply chain design and control, inventory management, production scheduling, product development, design of services, industrial contracting, dynamic pricing, industrial risk management, logistics, manufacturing and supply-chain strategy, total quality management. Although the program is primarily designed to prepare for leading academic positions in top business and industrial engineering schools, a number of our graduates also assume high-level consulting or other industry positions.

    For more information, please visit the Web site of the MIT Operations Management Group.

    A Stimulating Academic Environment

    Besides interacting with the other students and faculty of our group as a whole, each student in the program develops a strong working relationship with a Faculty Advisor, identified by matching research interests.

    Through our weekly luncheon seminar, our students get a unique opportunity to interact in an informal setting with leading researchers in Operations Management coming to MIT to discuss their latest work. In addition, this seminar offers a venue for students in later stages of the program to present their own research and benefit from the feedback of participants.

    Students typically interact with faculty and students of the Operations Research Center, an interdepartmental center located near MIT Sloan. Students also often participate in the activities of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program, a joint research and education effort of MIT Sloan, the School of Engineering, and several large manufacturing firms. Finally, some of our students have interacted extensively with the Center for Innovation in Product Development, the The MIT Center for Digital Business and the Center for Transportation & Logistics.

    The Program

    Our PhD program is very rigorous and demanding, with a target completion time of four years — actual completion times have historically varied from three to six years. Its formal requirements include:

    • Completion of appropriate coursework; Under the guidance of the faculty advisor, each student designs a course schedule consistent with his research interests and developmental needs. In particular, the coursework should (i) reflect breadth through a diversity of course topics (so that a student does not prematurely limit subsequent research options); (ii) be relevant to the future research field, broadly construed; (iii) be of sufficiently deep intellectual content; and (iv) reflect depth in one chosen area of concentration. Additionally, doctoral students in Operations Management participate in the seminar 15.799 Workshop in Operations Management and are expected to take 15.764 Theory of Operations Management in each of their first two years. The satisfactory completion of this coursework serves as the qualification of each student for the doctoral program.
    • Submission of a Research Paper; Ideally this paper will be the result of research initiated during the first year or summer and completed by the second summer. Often this paper will provide the basis for the dissertation research.
    • Completion of General Examination; Typically taken at the end of the second year, the General Examination is based on a list of roughly 50 to 100 research papers and a number of classical monographs (developed by the student under guidance from the faculty). It is composed of a written examination, typically consisting of four to six questions about this set of papers, and an oral examination. In the oral part, the student is first asked to make a critical presentation of a paper given in advance of the examination. The remainder of the oral examination consists of follow-up questions on the paper that was presented, the written examination, and the student's coursework.
    • Submission of a Thesis Proposal, expected to occur during the third year and presented as part of the weekly seminar;
    • Successful defense of a dissertation before a Thesis Committe composed of 3 or 4 MIT faculty and chaired by a member of the Operations Management Group.

    Application Procedure

    The Ph.D. program in Operations Management is very demanding and extremely selective. We are looking for highly motivated individuals with clear goals and outstanding research potential; Application is open to both international and US students, with, at a minimum, a Bachelor's degree or equivalent. An engineering or other strongly quantitative major, although not strictly required, is helpful.

    The application is mainly composed of a statement of personal goals and research interests, recommendations and transcripts. In addition, a GRE score obtained within the last five years is required for all applicants (GMAT is not a valid substitute). Also, a TOEFL score obtained within the last two years is required for non-native English speakers (note that self-waivers are not valid, and the possession of a degree from within the United States does not automatically exempt applicants from submitting a TOEFL score). The application process follows a yearly cycle (with an application deadline in January) and there are no rolling admissions. Once enrolled in the program, admitted students are offered financial support in the form of fellowships covering both tuition and stipends.

    The general application procedure is to apply to the PhD Program in Management of the MIT Sloan School of Management and indicate a concentration in Operations Management. Application documents, deadlines and other additional information on this program, life in the Boston area and housing options for MIT students and their families may be obtained from the MIT Sloan Doctoral Program Office.