The official curriculum is defined in the VCU Graduate Bulletin.†The program requires a minimum of 57 graduate-level credits.

Core courses

MATH 532 Ordinary Differential Equations I (3 credits)

OPER 639 Practical Optimization (3 credits)

STAT 546 Linear Models (3 credits)

Seminar courses

SYSM 681 Systems Seminar I (1 credit)

SYSM 682 Systems Seminar II (1 credit)

SYSM 683 Systems Seminar III (1 credit)

Systems research

Each student will be required to take SYSM 697 Systems Research (3 credits) with a faculty adviser before admission to candidacy.


Students will take 24 credits in electives at the 600Ė and 700Ėlevel. At least 12 credits must be at the 700-level. A student must take electives in at least two of the three subject areas: mathematics, operations research and statistics. If a student chooses to take electives in two subject areas, they must have at least six credits in each. If a student chooses to take electives in three subject areas, they must take at least three credits in each. Electives will be determined based on the studentís research interests and in consultation with the studentís adviser and the doctoral program director.

Admission to candidacy

Admission to candidacy is made by evaluation of a qualifying portfolio, including exams and project work from courses; writing samples from the research seminars (SYSM 681, 682 and 683); research products from systems research projects (SYSM 697); and statements from faculty advisers and instructors. The portfolio can be submitted after all course work has been completed, as well as any additional preparatory course work required at admission. The candidacy committee will evaluate the studentís readiness to begin their dissertation work. Supplementary examination may be required by the committee.

Dissertation proposal

After admission to candidacy and the completion of all course work, the student will prepare a written and oral proposal of the intended dissertation research area, including a complete literature review. A successful proposal must be completed at least nine months prior to the dissertation defense.

Dissertation defense

The student must complete 18 credits in SYSM 798 Dissertation Research resulting in a publishable dissertation and a successful oral defense. The student also must have submitted at least one paper to a refereed academic journal and prepared a second manuscript or given a conference presentation on the research prior to the defense.

All VCU graduate students must also be aware of the General Academic Regulations and satisfy the Graduate School's Graduation Requirements.