United States Air Force Academy

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Applying Modeling Methods to Real World Problems

OPERATIONS RESEARCH

Operations Research arose from the need to determine optimal resource allocation and assist decision makers during World War II. Groups of mathematicians, physical scientists and economists were assembled to perform studies that would provide quantitative input for commanders. The results of their efforts were impressive, and soon thereafter, the commercial sector realized the power of these new planning techniques.

Using mathematics to model real world systems was nothing new—physicists and economists had been doing it for years. What defined this new field called Operations Research (OR) was its focus on the operations of organizations. Not only were traditional mathematical modeling methods used, such as statistics and probability, but new modeling methods, such as mathematical programming and queuing theory were created.

Operations research, therefore, entails the development and application of new quantitative modeling methods to real management and economics problems. This is an exciting field—one that attracts curious problem-solvers who are strong in mathematics and computer science and are eager to solve real world problems.

This interdisciplinary major is jointly administered by the Departments of Computer and Cyber Sciences, Economics and Geosciences, Management, and Mathematical Sciences. Cadets take courses from each of the four departments.

The Academy’s OR program is one of the best in the world. In 2017, we were recognized by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) as the winner of the UPS George D. Smith Prize for effective and innovative preparation of cadets to be good practitioners of operations research, management science, or analytics. The Academy became the first undergraduate institution to win the prestigious prize and joined an impressive list of previous winners.

POTENTIAL JOB ASSIGNMENTS
Within the Air Force
  • 61A – Operations Research Analyst
  • 63A – Acquisition Manager
  • 17D – Cyber/Network Operations
  • 14N – Intelligence
  • 38P – Personnel
  • 13S – Space Operations
Outside the Air Force
  • Operations Research Analyst

Industries – Airlines, finance, government, consulting, transportation, and more

In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked Operations Research Analyst as the #2 Best Business Job in America.

SAMPLE COURSES
  • Systems Analysis
  • Deterministic Models
  • Quick-Turn Analysis
SUGGESTED COURSE SEQUENCE
4th CLASS YEAR (FRESHMAN) 3RD CLASS YEAR (SOPHOMORE) 2ND CLASS YEAR (JUNIOR) 1ST CLASS YEAR (SENIOR)
Beh Sci 110
Chem 100
Comp Sci 110
English 111
For Lang 1
For Lang 2
History 100
Math 141
Math 142
Physics 110
Comp Sci 212
Math 243
Math 344
Ops Rsch 310
Chem 200
Bio 215
English 211
Econ 201
MSS 251
Pol Sci 211
Engr Mech 220
Comp Sci 362
Econ 365
Math 377
Math 378
Ops Rsch 311
Ops Rsch 312
Ops Rsch 331
Law 220
Astro Engr 310
ECE 315
Adv Sociocultural Opt
Econ 465
Ops Rsch 405/406
Ops Rsch 421
Ops Rsch 422
AF Ops Rsch Opt
Ops Rsch Opt
Ops Rsch Opt
Aero Engr 315
Philos 310
Soc Sci 311
History 300

For full program requirements and course descriptions, download the current Curriculum Handbook.

CONTACT US

Lt Col Christopher Cullenbine
Working Group Chair
christopher.cullenbine@usafa.edu
(719) 333-1411

Lt Col Johnathon Dulin
Advisor in Charge
johnathon.dulin@usafa.edu
(719) 333-8357

WANT TO STUDY OPERATIONS RESEARCH?