The Ph.D. curriculum consists of two major phases: the course phase (typically the first two years of the program – 4 semesters) and the dissertation phase (two-three years in addition to the course phase).

1. Course Phase


Note: This list of courses represents a “typical” plan of study for an OPIM doctoral student. Other plans of study are certainly possible, subject to the approval of the OPIM PhD Program Committee. Credits for each course are given in parentheses.  All courses taken are on the graduate level: 6000-level courses are reserved for Ph.D. students; 5000-level courses can be taken by Masters as well as Ph.D. students.  Undergraduate courses (3000 and 4000-level) cannot be taken for credit in the Ph.D. program, unless special permission from the Ph.D. coordinator is obtained.

According to the Graduate School rules, a student must complete a minimum of 37 credits in the areas below before the General Exam can be taken.  However, the OPIM department recommends taking a minimum of fourteen 3-credit courses (excluding independent study) during the first two years in the PhD program in order to build a solid theoretical foundation for future research.

More information about the courses below (including pre-requisites, course descriptions, etc.) can be found in the UConn Graduate Course Catalog.

Major Area of Concentration (OPIM)

Subject area Course Number Course Title Credits
OPIM 6201 Research Methods for Operations and Information Management; and

Ph.D. Seminar in Operations Research and Optimization

(2 x 3)
OPIM 6202 Ph.D. Seminar in Operations Management (3)
OPIM 6203 Ph.D. Seminar in Information Systems (3)

Note: The specific content of OPIM 6201, 6202, and 6203 may change year-over-year, in which case they can be repeated for credit. All students are required to take at least four OPIM 6200-level courses, including at least one OPIM 6201 and three courses in any combination of OPIM 6202 and 6203, as approved by their advisor.

Research Methods and Supporting Courses in Related Areas

In addition to the four required courses in the Major Area of Concentration (OPIM), the Ph.D. student takes a set of required courses in theory and methodology from related areas, more specifically Economics and Statistics.  The exact list of courses and requirements can be determined by the student and his/her advisor and Ph.D. coordinator based on the student’s background and interests, and will also include courses from other areas (Engineering, Mathematics, etc.) depending on the student’s background d and interests.  Required courses in Economics and Statistics are in boldface, but can be substituted (e.g., when not offered) by courses in non-boldface with permission of the PhD advisor.

Subject area Course Number Course Title Credits
STAT 5585 Mathematical Statistics I (3)
STAT 5685 Mathematical Statistics II (3)
ECON 6201 Microeconomic Theory I (3)
ECON 6211 Microeconomic Theory II (3)
ECON 6310 Econometrics I (3)
ECON 6461 Industrial Organization (3)
OPIM 5272 Business Process Modeling and Data Management (3)

Common Elective Courses in OPIM

The list below is a sample of courses that students have taken in the past and found useful.  The Ph.D. student has great freedom in deciding upon elective courses and customizing his/her course list to his/her own interests and research areas. In addition to courses from the list of courses above (“Research Methods and Supporting Courses in Related Areas”), students may find the courses below of interest as well.  Elective courses need to be approved by the student’s Ph.D. advisor if they want to be counted towards the 37-credit minimum course requirement.

Subject area Course Number Course Title Credits
ECON 6301 Advanced Mathematical Economics I (3)
ECON 6302 Advanced Mathematical Economics II (3)
ECON 6311 Econometrics II (3)
ECON 6312 Econometrics III (3)
ECON 6462 The Organization of Industry (3)
ECON 6463 Economics of Organization (3)
ECON 5461 Industrial Organization (3)
STAT 5515 Design of Experiments (3)
STAT 5815 Analysis of Experiments (3)
STAT 5361 Statistical Computing (3)
STAT 5825 Applied Time Series (3)
STAT 5725 Linear Statistical Models (3)
ECE 6111 Applied Probability and Statistics (3)
ECON 5311 Applied Econometrics I (3)
ECON 5312 Applied Econometrics II (3)
ECE 6104 Information, Control and Games (3)
ECE 6437 Computational Methods for Optimization (3)
CSE 5500 Algorithms (3)
CSE 5506 Computational Complexity (3)
CSE 5705 Discrete Optimization (3)
CSE 5713 Data Mining (3)
CSE 5717 Big Data Analytics (3)
CSE 5800 Bioinformatics (3)
MATH 5620 Financial Mathematics I (3)
MATH 5621 Financial Mathematics II (3)
MATH 5660 Advanced Financial Mathematics (3)
MATH 5530 Mathematical Modeling (3)
MATH 5580 Optimization (3)
FNCE 5151 Intro to Economic Markets (3)
HCMI 5243 Health Care Economics (3)
MKTG 6202 Behavioral Applications in Marketing (3)
MKTG 6203 Intro to Quantitative Applied Marketing (3)
ARE 5474 Industrial Organization and Empirical Analysis (3)
ARE 6474 Empirical Industrial Organization I (3)
ARE 6476 Empirical Industrial Organization II (3)
OPIM 5501 Visual Analytics (3)
OPIM 5502 Big Data Analytics with Hadoop (3)
OPIM 5503 Data Analytics Using R (3)
OPIM 5504 Adaptive Business Intelligence (3)
OPIM 5604 Predictive Modeling (3)
OPIM 5671 Data Mining and Business Intelligence (3)

Other Milestones and Requirements

1. Research Apprenticeship. (OPIM5895). As soon as the student enters the Ph.D. program (1st semester), s/he gets assigned to one or more OPIM faculty members to participate in an on-going research project. The goal is to get the Ph.D. student immersed into research from the start and have the student learn (as a “research apprentice”) the different steps and methodologies of performing research and producing academic research articles.

2. Qualifying Paper. (OPIM6200). During the second year, a Ph.D. student takes the lead in carrying out an independent research project, culminating in the submission of a academic research paper at the end of the Spring semester.  The student independently identifies a research topic, formulates the research questions which will expand the body of academic knowledge, and finishes a research paper that can be submitted to an academic journal.  The student receives feedback about his/her progress at various stages from the Ph.D. Committee.  The Ph.D. Committee evaluates the quality of the paper at the end of the academic year.  The student needs to pass the Qualifying Paper by the end of the second year in order to progress to the Dissertation Phase in the Ph.D. program.

3. Qualifying Exam. (“General Exam”). At the end of the second year students are required to pass the Qualifying Exam in OPIM.  The exam consists of four parts: (i) Operations Research and Research Methodologies; (ii) Statistics and Econometrics; (iii) Operations Management; and (iv) Information Systems.  Upon passing the Qualifying Exam, the student has completed the Course Phase of the Ph.D. program and moves on to the Dissertation Phase.


2. Dissertation Phase

Normally in the beginning of the third year, the Ph.D. student moves to the Dissertation Phase.  The student chooses one or more faculty members as advisors for his/her dissertation. The advisor(s) together with the student set up a plan for completion of the Dissertation.

A Ph.D. student will sign up for GRAD 6950 Dissertation Research (up to 9 credits per semester). All students must complete a minimum of 15 research credits.

Generally at the end of the third year (or during the course of the student’s fourth year), the student passes the Dissertation Proposal Defense and the Student now becomes a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.  During the remainder of the Dissertation phase, the student—supervised by the student’s Dissertation Advisor(s) and the Advisory Committee—completes the Dissertation research consisting of significant original research contribution, and prepares for the Final Dissertation Defense in oral examinations.  Upon passing the Dissertation Defense, the student is conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.