How to become an operational researcher

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • applying directly


You'll usually need a degree in operational research, maths or other relevant subject, for example:

  • statistics
  • computing
  • economics
  • management science

Some employers may prefer you to have a postgraduate qualification in operational research or management science.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

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Direct Application

You may be able to get into operational research if you've got related experience from industry, for example in research and development or project management.

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Professional and industry bodies

Joining a professional body like The Operational Research Society may improve your career prospects.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in operational research from The Operational Research Society.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • business management skills
  • maths skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day tasks you may:

  • observe staff and managers, and interview them about their jobs
  • collect and analyse data, using mathematical and statistical methods
  • apply business theories
  • identify areas for improvement and recommend changes
  • advise managers on making changes
  • check to see how changes are working
  • set up and test solutions to problems, using statistical and computer forecasting
  • present findings to the organisation

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a project or team leader, then manager of an operational research department.

You could also become self-employed as a management consultant.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an operational researcher right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Business Studies

  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: Bath

Business Studies

  • Start date: 03 September 2021
  • Location: Sandwich

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

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