Programme Information

Graduation Requirements

To fulfil the graduation requirements, students must:

  • Pass the coursework requirements;  
  • Pass the English module(s) (for students who are not exempted from it);
  • Pass the PhD Qualifying Examination within 24 months of candidature;
  • Complete a thesis and oral defense to the satisfaction of the examination panel;
  • Maintain a minimum Cumulative Average Point of 4.0; and
  • Complete the above requirements within the maximum candidature.


Coursework Requirements

Students are required complete a minimum of 40 MCs modules comprising 3 essential modules (4 MCs each) and 7 elective modules (4 MCs each).


Essential modules:

Students must read and pass 2 essential modules in the area of ‘Operations Research (OR)’ as both modules will be tested in the PhD Qualification Examination (Written QE) at the end of their first year of candidature.


Operations Research (OR)

Module Code

Module Title

BDC6111/ IE6001

Foundations of Optimization

BDC6112/ IE6004

Stochastic Processes I


Students must read and pass 1 essential module in the area of ‘Analytics’.



Module Code

Module Title


Introduction to Data Analytics


Theory and Algorithms for Machine Learning


Elective modules:

Students have the flexibility to select the elective modules to match their research interests. The elective modules are grouped into 3 categories: OR Methods, OR Modeling and Data Analytics.

Among the electives modules chosen, at least 2 modules (8 MCs) must be in OR Methods, 1 module (4 MCs) in OR Modeling and 1 module (4 MCs) in Data Analytics.

OR Methods

Module Code

Module Title


Robust Modelling and Optimization


Discrete Optimization and Algorithms


Bayesian Modelling and Decision-Making

BDC6305/ IE6509

Theory and Algorithms for Dynamic Programming

BDC6306/ IE6505

Stochastic Processes II

BDC6303/ IE6507

Queues and Stochastic Networks


Surrogate and Metaheuristic Global Optimization


Theory and Algorithms for Nonlinear Optimization


Stochastic Analysis in Mathematical Finance


Advanced Probability Theory


Microeconomic Theory


Advanced Microeconomic Theory


Advanced Game Theory


Contract Theory and Applications


Combinatorial and Graph Algorithms


Advanced Algorithms


OR Modeling

Module Code

Module Title


Foundations of Inventory Management


Logistics and Supply Chain


Optimal Stopping and Stochastic Control in Finance


Optimization for Communication Systems


Data Analytics

Module Code

Module Title


Algorithms for Statistical Inference


Data Modelling and Computation


Advanced Statistical Theory


Advanced Statistical Theory II


Advanced Topics in Applied Statistics


Statistical Models: Theory/Applications


Applied Econometrics I


Econometric Modelling and Applications I


Econometric Modelling and Applications II


Topics in Econometrics


Not all modules are offered in every semester or academic year. Students are responsible in ensuring that they do not register for modules with any timetable clashes and are able to attend classes and sit for examinations as scheduled.
Students will follow the same module registration procedure as the other graduate students in NUS Business School.


PhD Qualifying Examination

Students must pass the PhD Qualifying Examination (QE) within the stipulated period in order to continue with the PhD programme. Passing the PhD Qualifying Examination is the signal for the students to embark on the dissertation.

The PhD Qualifying Examination consists of 2 components: Written QE and Oral QE.

Students are required to pass the written QE at the end of the first year and the oral QE at the end of the second year.


Written QE

The written QE comprises 2 closed book written examinations based on the following essential modules:

Module Code

Module Title

BDC6111/ IE6001

Foundations of Optimization

BDC6112/ IE6004

Stochastic Processes I



Oral QE

The oral QE comprises two components as follows:

  • Presentation of research oriented (RO) paper and
  • Oral examination of 2 elective modules chosen by the student and approved by the thesis advisors. The elective modules chosen must be related to the student’s RO paper.


Students who have passed the written QE can commence on their RO papers, which will be submitted for their oral QE at the end of the second year. The purpose of the RO paper is to examine the students’ ability to conduct independent research under the guidance of their supervisors.


The QE committee will examine the student’s RO paper and proficiency in the two elective modules before recommending a pass/fail.


Thesis Requirements

Proposal Defense

After clearing the QE, students should begin to put together a proposal for the thesis. The proposal is an original idea for investigation put forth by the student, after an extensive study of the topic. The students are expected to detail the research question and also provide an outline of the study design.

A Proposal Examination Committee will be formed and students are required to defend their thesis proposal. As a guide, all students need to defend their thesis proposal in Year 3 to Year 4 in the programme.

Thesis Submission and Examination

Students are required to submit their thesis for examination after being approved by their supervisor(s) and the IORA PhD Director.

The thesis must demonstrate the student’s ability to perform original, independent research, and represent the student’s work and significant contribution to the knowledge in the specific domain of research.

Following the evaluation of thesis by internal and external examiners and if there are no/ minor amendments, the oral examination/ defense will be arranged. The student will be considered for award of degree by the Board of Graduate Studies when all minor/ major revisions are incorporated in the thesis to the satisfaction of the supervisor(s) and the Oral Panel (if applicable) and the thesis has been successfully uploaded onto the relevant system(s).

After the degree has been awarded by the Board of Graduate Studies, the Chancellor's approval will be sought for the degree to be conferred in writing.