Statistics and Operational Research

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Course overview
(Postgraduate Diploma) Postgraduate Diploma
Statistics and Operational Research
University of Essex
University of Essex
Mathematical Sciences
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate Diploma
DIP G20109

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A degree with an overall mid 2.2 in one of the following subjects: Mathematics, Statistics, Operational research, Finance, Economics, Business Engineering, Computing, Biology, Physics or Chemistry.

Will consider applicants with a unrelated degree but which contained at least three modules in calculus, algebra, differential equations, probability & statistics, optimisation or other mathematical modules.

Applications from students with a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Prof Fionn Murtagh

Professor of Data Science

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 27 January 2020 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 MA305-7-AU Nonlinear Programming Compulsory 15
02 MA306-7-SP Combinatorial Optimisation Compulsory 15
03 MA318-7-AU Statistical Methods Compulsory 15
04 MA319-7-AU Stochastic Processes Compulsory 15
05 MA902-7-FY Research Methods Compulsory 15
06 Option from list Compulsory with Options 15
07 Option from list Compulsory with Options 15
08 MA322-7-SP Bayesian Computational Statistics Compulsory 15
09 MA199-7-FY Mathematics Careers and Employability Compulsory 0

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To enhance the general skills of students (including IT skills, presentation skills, problem solving abilities, numeracy and their ability to retrieve information in an efficient manner.)

To offer students the opportunity to study statistics and operational research to an advanced level within an environment informed by current research.

To provide students with advanced training that will be of use in a career as a statistician or operational researcher.

To provide students with training in the preparation of reports involving mathematical material, including correct referencing, appropriate layout and style.

To provide students with information that will help them to make an informed judgement as to the appropriate methods to employ when analysing a problem of a statistical or operations research nature.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: A range of ideas concerning Statistics and Operational Research including methods appropriate in specialized applications.

A2: Ways in which statistical methods can aid understanding in the social sciences.

A3: Some of the limitations and assumptions underlying standard methods.

Learning methods

A1-A3 are principally acquired through the coherent programmes of lectures, exercises and problem classes.

These are supplemented, where appropriate, by the use of computers, computer packages, textbooks, handouts and on-ine material.

In most modules there is regular set work.

This work is marked and this process informs the course teacher of common difficulties that require extra attention during the subsequent problem classes.

Assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding are assessed through examinations and essays.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: Analyse a mass of information and carry out an appropriate analysis.

B2: Express a problem in mathematical terms and carry out an appropriate analysis.

B3: Reason critically and interpret information in a manner that can be communicated effectively to non-specialists.

Learning methods

B1-3 These skills are developed through the regular coursework exercises.

In seeking to answer these exercises students become accustomed to identifying key facts in a body of information.

The problems classes provide back-up as required.

Assessment methods

The level of attainment of these skills is assessed through the summer examinations.

C: Practical skills

C1: Carry out analyses of complex data sets, design experiments & analyse practical OR problems.

C2: Use simple algorithms.

C3: Use computer programmes and/or packages

Learning methods

C1-C3 are developed through the programme of lectures, regular exercises and computer work.

Assessment methods

C1-C3 are assessed by regular coursework and examinations.

D: Key skills

D1: Write clearly and effectively

D2: Use computer packages and/or programming languages for data analysis and computation and use computer packages for presentation of material to others.

D3: Enhance existing numerical ability

D4: Choose the appropriate method of inquiry in order to address a range of practical and theoretical problems.

D5: Learn from feedback and respond appropriately and effectively to supervision and guidance

D6: Work pragmatically to meet deadlines.

Learning methods

D1 is promoted by class teachers’ feedback on written solutions to problems.

D2 results from the coursework associated with various modules.

D3 is a natural consequence of modules with high numeric content.

D4 is a consequence of the coursework, problems classes, lectures and laboratory work.

D5-6 result from a tightly timetabled course of lectures and submission dates that require the student to effectively organise time to meet deadlines.

Assessment methods

Key skills are assessed throughout the degree via coursework and examinations.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: