CORS Diploma in Operational Research

Operations Research or Operational Research (OR) deals with making the "best" decision when confronted with many choices plus a variety of constraints in a large scale problem. Examples of typical problems are: minimizing operating costs in a large hospital while maintaining quality service to patients, finding the shortest route for a delivery truck which has many stops, or scheduling jobs on a large construction project to finish in the shortest possible time. The problems are represented by mathematical models and various algorithms are used to find the optimal solution. Because of the magnitude of these problems, computers are usually needed to execute the algorithms.

Employment opportunities usually occur with large organizations with complex operations such as transportation, manufacturing, utilities or government agencies (including the military). Another group of employers are managment consulting firms who offer OR expertise to other companies. Some current areas where OR practitioners are employed are in organizational design, industrial engineering, supply chain management, decision technology, enterprise resource planning and expert systems. To encourage students to study OR and seek employment in this field, the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS) offers a Diploma in Operational Research to students who complete a prescribed set of courses.

In the Department of Mathematics and Statistics one can satisfy the requirements for the CORS Diploma while completing an honours degree. This is simplest in Applied Mathematics and Mathematics for Commerce (Operations Research Stream) since many of the courses required for the diploma are part of the degree requirements. In other programs, careful planning in choosing courses may be required. The courses required for the Diploma are listed below. Students are also encouraged to become student members of CORS and participate in their meetings. This is a very good way in which to meet practitioners in the field of OR and find out more about potential job opportunities. A membership in CORS listed on your resume will indicate to future employers your seriousness about a career in this field. You can find out more about CORS through its web page (

The Faculty Liaison for the CORS Diploma for 1999/2000 will be Professor A.D. Stauffer (223 Petrie, tel. 77742, e-mail: Students who complete all courses for the diploma should arrange to have a transcript and mailing address sent to this individual, who will notify CORS to grant the diploma. Further information and membership forms for CORS will also be available from the Faculty Liaison.

Course Requirements for the CORS Diploma

In order to obtain the CORS Diploma students must have graduated from an honours program and have completed the following courses with at least a B average. These courses are required of all students wishing to take the diploma regardless of program. These courses may also be used to satisfy degree requirements in the various programs.

  1. MATH3170 and MATH4170 - OR courses

  2. MATH2131 plus one of MATH3033 or MATH3330 - statistics courses

  3. COSC1020/1030 or COSC1520/1530 or COSC1540 - computer languages

  4. one of MGTS4000, MGTS4200, MGTS4550, MGTS4660 - applications of OR - these courses are offered by the Schulich School of Business. Note that they have the prerequisites of MATH2131 and MATH3170.
  5. Students are strongly encouraged to select additional courses from the following list in preparation for a career in OR:

    Note that these courses may require additional prerequisites.

    Here are some local links to CORS activities: