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Programme Structure & Curriculum

Students are encouraged to complete the programme in 4 years.

The minimum duration of the programme is three years. Most students, however, are expected to take about four years to complete the programme. The maximum registration duration of the programme is five years, unless special approval for a longer duration is given by SMU.

The curriculum consists of

  • 6 Foundation courses (6 course units)
  • 2 Electives (2 course units)
  • 4 Advanced Research Topics (ART) courses (4 course units)

The programme also requires the preparation and completion of a PhD Dissertation (28 course units).

Programme Schedule 

Year Term 1 (Aug - Nov) Term 2 (Jan - Apr) Term 3 (May - Aug)
1 Foundation courses

Elective courses
Foundation courses 

Elective courses
2 ART courses


Prepare Dissertation Proposal
ART courses


Pass PhD Qualifying Exam

Form Dissertation Committee
3 Submit Written Dissertation Proposal

Oral Defence of Dissertation Proposal

Dissertation Research
Dissertation Research Dissertation Research
4 Dissertation Research Dissertation Research

(i) Submit written report of completed Dissertation Research

(ii) Oral defence of completed Dissertation
(i) Revise and/or re-submit Dissertation Report

(ii) Submit Approved Dissertation Report to LKCSB PGR Office

(iii) Dissertation Report from LKCSB PGR Office to GSO for approval

Year 1 & 2

Six Foundation courses including:

Introduction to Business Research
Linear Optimisation
Probability and Statistics
Foundations of Operations Management 
Dynamic Programming
Stochastic Models

Two Electives courses out of the following:

Microeconomics I
Econometrics I
Decision Support and Optimisation
Learning and Planning in Intelligent Systems
Other courses in LKCSB or other schools subject to the Programme Coordinator's approval 

Four Advanced Research Topics (ART) courses including:

Topics in Advanced Optimisation Techniques
Topics in Game Theory and Its Applications
Topics in Manufacturing and Service OM
Topics in Interdisciplinary Research in OM
Independent Study I
Independent Study II

Each course meets for three hours per week during the Term.

Years 3 and 4

Completion of PhD Dissertation

Students are expected to form a PhD Committee in Year 2, including the selection of a PhD Supervisor. Then, under the supervision of the PhD Supervisor, students will prepare and defend their dissertation proposal, conduct their dissertation research, and conduct a final defence of the dissertation.

Graduation Requirements

  • Foundation courses (6 course units)
  • Elective courses (2 course units)
  • Advanced Research Topics (ART) courses (4 course units)
  • PhD Qualifying Examination
  • Oral Defence of Dissertation Proposal
  • PhD Dissertation (28 course units)
  • Oral Defence of completed Dissertation


Last updated on 26 Oct 2015 .