Stochastic Operations Research (SOR)

Who is the Master’s programme for?

If you wish to join the Master’s in Operations Research, you are required to have a Bachelor’s degree (BSc) in one of the following fields:

  • Operations Research and/or Econometrics
  • Mathematics and/or Statistics
  • Computer Science
  • Physics
  • Industrial, Mechanical or Electrical Engineering
  • For detailed information have a look at the admission requirements

What is Operations Research?

Operations Research (OR) is also referred to as Management Science or Operations Management in business environments. In the UK it goes by the name of Operational Research, while the term Business Analytics is on the rise in the US, especially in connection with IT and data.

OR is closely associated with Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. In the Netherlands, it has strong links with Econometrics and Industrial Engineering.

As you might expect in such a new and dynamic field, no generally accepted definition has yet been formulated. However, the following brief description covers the main points:

“Operations Research can be regarded as applied mathematical analysis for logistical decision-making in industry, services and business. OR aims to develop mathematical and computational techniques to provide objective, analytical and quantitative support for the evaluation and optimization of complex situations of an operational and logistical nature in industry, service and business environments.”

How is Operations Research used?

Profit organizations generally aim to maximize profitability, while non-profit organizations focus on improving services and quality. The goal of both is therefore to optimize the effectiveness of resources within the context of all kinds of external and internal constraints. Key concepts within OR include:

  • planning and scheduling
  • efficiency and productivity
  • throughput, delay and waiting times

Nowadays OR is used to achieve optimization in a wide range of fields from business environments (multinationals, sales companies, financial firms) to industry (production, distribution and supply chain networks). Transport is another major sector, from aviation (airports and airlines) to public transport and railways. Utilities and public services such as energy, communications, hospitals and healthcare are another relevant field. Last but not least, OR plays a leading role in the field of consultancy (logistical, healthcare, technical, simulation, financial, IT, supply chains).

supply chain



Ρ(Blocked)=∑_i▒Ρ(n_i=N_i )

Max  {c^T x │Ax≤b,x≥0}


Why study Operations Research at the University of Twente?

Twente is the only university campus in the Netherlands with housing and excellent sporting and other facilities, only a two-hour train journey from Amsterdam.

We offer a well-balanced two-year programme. In your first year you will take OR courses and practical assignments to acquaint you with real-life issues and equip you with essential techniques. In your second year, you will complete a practical OR internship (of either 3 or 6 to 9 months) and your Master’s thesis.

We provide a strong theoretical and practical focus, with two specialized OR centres: one in healthcare and one in energy. Our teaching staff have outstanding scientific and professional track records in deterministic and stochastic OR.

The programme is also plugged into an extensive network of contacts that provides excellent career prospects. As a graduate, you can also be part of our active alumni programme. At the University of Twente, you will benefit from a highly flexible course programme and a personalized approach. There are effective structures in place for students who need to catch up in particular areas.


As an applicant, you should have a strong mathematical background, equivalent to the holder of a Bachelor’s degree in the fields mentioned above. For the general admission requirements for Applied Mathematics and the options open to you if your existing qualifications are not up to standard in all areas, see the admission requirements for Applied Mathematics.

No specific knowledge of OR is required. However, it is advisable to have a basic knowledge of standard OR topics, such as:

  • linear programming
  • integer programming
  • dynamic programming
  • combinatorial optimization
  • stochastic dynamic programming
  • Markov chains
  • queueing
  • simulation

These topics will also be reviewed and expanded on during the Master’s courses. But if you are unsure of your knowledge in any of these areas, you are strongly advised to familiarize yourself with these topics.