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 Science, 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

Com Sci 110

English 111

Engr 101

For Lang 1

For Lang 2

History 100

Math 141

Math 142

Physics 110

Chem 200

Comp Sci 212

Econ 201

English 211

Engr Mech 220

Law 220

Math 243

Math 344

MSS 200

Physics 215

Pol Sci 211

Sys Opt Ops Rsch 310

Beh Sci 310

Biology 315

Comp Sci 362

ECE 315

Econ 365

History 300

Math 377

Math 378

Ops Rsch 311

Ops Rsch 312

Ops Rsch 331

Philos 310

Academy Opt

Aero Engr 315

Astro Engr 310

Econ 465

English 411

Mgt 400

MSS 415/416

Ops Rsch 405/406

Ops Rsch 421

Ops Rsch 422

Ops Rsch Opt

Ops Rsch Opt

Soc Sci 412

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

CONTACT US

Maj Drew Richardson
Working Group Chair
Andrew.richardson@usafa.edu
(719) 333-8323

Lt Col Justin Hill
Advisor in Charge
Justin.hill@usafa.edu
(719) 333-2285

WANT TO STUDY OPERATIONS RESEARCH?