The following requirements are prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management and used to determine minimum qualifications.

Individual Occupational Requirements

Basic Requirements:
Degree: in operations research; or at least 24 semester hours in a combination of operations research, mathematics, probability, statistics, mathematical logic, science, or subject-matter courses requiring substantial competence in college-level mathematics or statistics. At least 3 of the 24 semester hours must have been in calculus.

Evaluation of Education:
The primary requirement of operations research work is competence in the rigorous methods of scientific inquiry and analysis rather than in the subject matter of the problem. Therefore, applicants should have sufficient knowledge of applied mathematics to understand and use the fundamental concepts and techniques of operations research methods of analysis. In addition, some positions may require knowledge of a specific subject area.

Courses acceptable for qualifying for operations research positions may have been taken in departments other than Operations Research, e.g., Engineering (usually Industrial Engineering), Science, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, or Management Science.

The following are illustrative of acceptable courses: optimization; mathematical modeling; queuing theory; engineering; physics (except descriptive or survey courses); econometrics; psychometrics; biometrics; experimental psychology; physical chemistry; industrial process analysis; managerial economics; computer science; measurement for management; mathematical models in social phenomena; and courses that involved application of operations research techniques and methodologies to problems of management, marketing, systems design, and other specialized fields; or other comparable quantitative analysis courses for which college-level mathematics or statistics is a prerequisite. Courses in theory of probability and statistics are highly desirable, but are not specified as minimum educational requirements because to do so would possibly exclude some applicants who would otherwise be well qualified.

Experience and education requirements for GS-7 and above
In addition to meeting the basic entry qualification requirements, applicants must have specialized experience and/or directly related education in the amounts shown in the table below.



4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree

3 years, 1 year of which was equivalent to at least GS-4



1 full year of graduate level education
superior academic achievement


1 year equivalent to at least GS-5


master's or equivalent graduate degree
2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree
LL.B. or J.D., if related


1 year equivalent to at least GS-7


Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree
3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree
LL.M., if related


1 year equivalent to at least GS-9




1 year equivalent to at least next lower grade level

NOTE: Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for all grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable.

This page was last updated on August 18, 2020