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The Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research and the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics jointly offer the Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences. The Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research offers concentrations in operations research and statistics. This document contains information about applying to and completing these concentrations. Graduates of the operations research and statistics concentrations are employed by Capital One, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Bank of America, Dominion Resources, JP Morgan Chase, US Marine Corps, US Navy, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and VCU. The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics offers concentrations in pure mathematics and applied mathematics. Information about these concentrations can be found at www.math.vcu.edu.


All applicants are required to supply GRE scores, academic transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. The program does not have minimum scores on the GRE, but the quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing scores are all considered in the context of the other application material. For admission to graduate study at VCU, the Graduate School requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. In cases where the undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, additional factors, including performance in the last 60 hours of course work, may be weighted more heavily in the admissions assessment. For students with earned graduate degrees from accredited institutions, the graduate GPA may be the primary basis for consideration. The three letters of recommendation must come from instructors or professional references in the applicantís intended field of study. The personal statement must address the applicantís reasons for pursuing graduate education in the planned course of study at VCU.

International applicants must provide evidence of proficiency in the English language prior to admission and/or full-time enrollment in the university. An applicant may satisfy university English proficiency requirements by obtaining a satisfactory score on the TOEFL. The program requires a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based) or 100 (Internet-based).


Information about applying to all graduate programs at VCU, including the Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences, can be found at the Graduate School website.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents apply through the Graduate School.
     • Click here for more information on the application process.
     • Click here to submit an electronic application.

International students must apply through the Global Education Office.
     • Click here for specific admissions requirements for international applicants.
     • Click here for information on the application process and to download the required forms.


Admissions requirements for this program are listed in the VCU Graduate Bulletin. VCU also has admission requirements for all graduate students. All students in Mathematical Sciences are required to have completed the 30 required undergraduate credits in mathematics, statistics, or operations research, including calculus I and II, multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, before they can be admitted. If less than 6 credits short of this requirement, the student can be provisionally admitted with a requirement to complete the remaining courses with a grade of B or better prior to or concurrent with taking other courses in the program.


The College of Humanities and Sciences and the Graduate School provide a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships for full-time students. The graduate teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis for two years. The graduate teaching assistants teach labs for general education courses, act as lecture assistants, or grade homework and tests. Graduate teaching assistants are expected to maintain good academic progress and perform their assigned duties in a timely and professional manner. Failure on either count will lead to termination of the assistantship. Graduate teaching assistants are expected to complete a full-time course load (9 credit hours) each fall and spring semester that counts towards the completion of their program.

To apply for an assistantship, in addition to the application to the program, please complete the assistantship application form and follow the submission instructions on the form. Click here to download a GTA application in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.




The program consists of 30 credits including core courses, electives, research and communications seminar, and a final paper (either an applied project or a thesis). The official curriculum is defined in the VCU Graduate Bulletin.
     • General Program Information for Mathematical Sciences
          • Operations Research Concentration
          • Statistics Concentration
All VCU graduate students must also be aware of the General Academic Regulations and satisfy the Graduate School's Graduation Requirements.

According to VCU's Graduation Requirements in the Graduate Bulletin, all students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and no more than six credit hours or 20 percent of total credit hours attempted (whichever is greater) at C level or below (C, D, F). A student in the operations research concentration or in the statistics concentration who receives a grade of C will be put on probation. A student who receives either
     • 2 grades of C or below with at least one grade at D or F or
     • 3 grades of C
will be terminated from the program (only includes courses that count towards the program).


In the semester before the final defense of a thesis or applied project, the student must form a committee consisting of three faculty members where at least two are drawn from across the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research and/or the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and at least one is drawn from outside of these two departments. The studentís advisor will chair the committee and the committee must be approved by the Graduate Program Director and the Graduate Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. Once a dissertation committee has been formed, the student must complete the Admission to Candidacy Form and submit it to his advisor.


Once the advisor has approved the thesis or applied research topic, the student will initiate his dissertation work. Each student must take at least 3 or 6 credits of thesis research (OPER 698 or STAT 698 -- Thesis), or 3 credits of applied project (OPER 696 or STAT 696 -- Applied Project) resulting in a final document and a successful defense. The student is expected to work closely with the advisor during this period and to keep his committee updated on the major achievements. Students registering for 6 credits of thesis are expected to complete sufficient research such that a research paper that can be submitted to a peer-review journal can be easily developed from the thesis work.

Please note that a faculty member is not obliged to serve on a committee or advise a particular student. The student is requesting a significant amount of time and effort from the faculty member, and the faculty member must allocate his time according to his other duties at the university. If a student does not make significant progress in a given semester, the advisor will assign a grade of U. The student must then successfully defend his thesis or applied project in the following semester to avoid termination. Once started, the student must complete the thesis or applied project with the same advisor, unless a change is approved by the graduate program director. Failure to maintain progress and complete a thesis or applied project will result in termination from the program.


A final thesis document must adhere to VCU Graduate School guidelines. The final thesis or applied project report must be provided to both the advisor and the committee four weeks before the proposed defense date. Once all members of the committee agree that the student is ready to defend the thesis or applied project (notice of defense form), the student will post announcements of the defense at least two weeks prior to the defense date. At the defense, the student will give an oral presentation of the work; committee members, other faculty members, and audience members will be given a chance to ask questions of the candidate; the committee will then privately deliberate the result of the defense. At this point the committee can decide to pass the thesis or applied project as is, to pass with required changes verified by the committee, or to require that the student must perform another defense after significant additional work is performed. In the worst case, a student that is demonstrating no progress towards a passable thesis or applied project may be failed and terminated from the program. In the case of the applied project, if the customer terminates the project because of lack of performance by the student, then the student will be terminated from the program.

In cases where there is disagreement among the committee members regarding whether the student is ready to defend or whether the student should be passed, the graduate program director will assess the situation and can ask for a majority vote to make the final decision.


VCU now requires that all theses and dissertations are submitted electronically, and VCU Libraries handles the archiving of theses and dissertations.
     • Click here to get more information on the electronic thesis and dissertation requirements.
     • Click here to submit your completed dissertation to the digital archive.


In the semester in which a student plans to graduate, he must register for at least 1 credit and submit a graduation application (available on Banner) to their advisor by the date shown on the academic calendar. If all requirements for graduation are fulfilled by the end of the semester then the student will graduate as planned. If all requirements are not met by the end of the semester then the student must plan to graduate in another semester. He will then need to register for at least 1 credit and submit another graduation application by the date shown in the academic calendar for that semester.




The Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research offers operations research courses which cover topics such as linear programming, integer programming, network modeling, decision analysis, risk analysis, simulation, and data mining. Emphasis is placed on mathematical techniques as well as practical applications. Depending on their interests, students can take additional courses in mathematics, computer science, statistics, engineering, or economics. It is recommended that students contemplating study in operations research have a background that includes multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probability, and computer programming.


The Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research offers statistics courses which cover topics such as regression analysis, design of experiments, data mining, Bayesian theory and methods, multivariate statistics, time series analysis and response surface methods. These courses consist of a blend of mathematical theory and application. Depending on their interests, students can take additional courses in mathematics, computer science, operations research, engineering, finance or economics. It is recommended that students contemplating study in statistics have a background that includes multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, and computer programming.


Virginia Commonwealth University is an urban institution of higher education located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. It is comprised of two campuses. The Health Sciences Center Campus is located near the financial, governmental, and shopping areas of downtown Richmond. The Monroe Park Campus is two miles west in a residential area that dates from the nineteenth century. The University is committed to providing an environment in which students of diverse ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds can thrive.

Today the total University enrollment is over 30,000. The University has multiple teaching hospitals and over a dozen academic schools and colleges which offer numerous undergraduate, first-professional degree, and graduate programs. VCU has been included for the past several years in the top 100 universities in the U.S. in terms of research funds received from federal agencies.

Richmond is the capital of Virginia, and it has a rich historical heritage from the Civil War and Colonial times. Its central location is only two hours south of Washington, D.C., two hours west of Virginia Beach, and two hours east of the Blue Ridge mountains. It features several museums and many galleries, a symphony orchestra, a ballet company, a performing arts center, and other cultural attractions. Richmond is the location of several major corporations such as Philip Morris, Capital One, and Virginia Power; other companies have large facilities nearby, including Dupont and Allied Chemical.


VCU School of Graduate Studies: Home Page
VCU School of Graduate Studies: Admissions Page for US Citizens
VCU International Education: Admissions Page for students from outside of the US
VCU Degree Requirements: Master's Degree in Mathematical Sciences (OR & STAT)
VCU Schedule of Classes: Click on the semester of interest then look for "Operations Research" or "Statistics" classes
Graduate Teaching Assistantship: VCU Mathematical Sciences (OR & STAT) GTA Application


For More Information...

Please send inquiries or requests for application materials to:

Dr. QiQi Lu
Master's Degree Program Director
Statistical Sciences & Operations Research
P.O. Box 843083, 1015 Floyd Avenue (Grace E. Harris Hall)
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3083
Voice: (804) 828-1304
FAX: (804) 828-8785
email: QLu2@vcu.edu

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Statistical Sciences and Operations Research
P.O. Box 843083
1015 Floyd Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284-3083
(804) 828-0001
FAX: (804) 828-8785

Directions to Harris Hall (1015 Floyd Ave.)

College of Humanities and Sciences

For information, contact one of the
persons on the following page.

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Date Last Modified: June 3, 2015

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