The Operations, Decision Sciences and Artificial Intelligence (ODSAI) Interest Group offers very flexible options for a doctoral student in a variety of related fields. These programs require coursework for about two years, followed by a period of dissertation-related research. The doctoral program is primarily designed to prepare students for a career in research and teaching at an institution of higher learning.
Available concentration areas include:
- Data Mining and Business Analytics
- Decision Sciences
- Project Management
- Revenue Management
- Simulation Methodology
- Stochastic Modeling and Applied Statistical Methods
- Supply Chain Management
During the first two years of the program, doctoral students typically work with multiple ODSAI faculty, either as graduate research assistants or as teaching assistants, so that they can learn about the different research interests of the faculty. Some of the coursework taken during the first two years is common for all the various concentration areas, but programs of study are typically customized to meet individual student backgrounds and needs. Students, in consultation with their faculty advisors, take courses at Katz, but supplement them with courses from other departments (such as Mathematics, Statistics, and Industrial Engineering) or schools (such as the School of Information Systems) at Pitt and at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. When appropriate for their research, students are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary management issues, such as those that overlap between operations and marketing, operations and strategy, and operations and accounting.
The programs are designed to lead to involvement in research as soon as possible. Students typically take four courses in each of their first two terms, and then, in their first summer term, begin a significant research project, which may be related to their graduate student assistantship duties. The summer project is intended to produce, by the end of the summer, a document the student's advisor considers to be sufficient for the first draft of a journal-submittable article. A polished version of that draft is expected to be completed by the end of the fall term of the second year of study. The polished version will either be submitted to a journal at that point or will be further developed into a dissertation topic. Students take additional coursework in their second year of study, and are expected to take their comprehensive exams no later than the end of the summer of their second year in residence.
Depending on the complexity of the topic, a dissertation may either follow the multiple-essay model or be an extended, single document. In either case, a student is expected to have publications in appropriate journals before entering the job market at the end of the program.
PhD students must take eight doctoral courses that provide a solid foundation in the core areas of mathematical programming, probabilistic models, and statistics, and the specific skills necessary to perform top-quality research in the chosen subarea of study. We encourage students to consult with their advisors early and often during their first two years so as to optimize their choice of coursework.