Graduate Program


The Ph.D. is formulated to prepare students for research and teaching. The aim of the program is to provide a strong disciplinary background in one of the core areas of research in the department. The emphasis is on the theoretical foundations, mathematical models, and computational issues in practical problem solving. Current teaching and research activities include probability and stochastic processes, stochastic analysis, mathematical statistics, linear and nonlinear optimization, stochastic optimization, convex analysis, stochastic networks and queueing theory, mathematical and computational finance, and financial econometrics. Application areas of current interest to faculty include finance, energy, health, bioinformatics, and engineering problems. To learn more about the research interests of individual faculty members, please visit the Research page.

The departmental faculty are affiliated with a number of interdisciplinary programs and centers, including the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics, the Bendheim Center for Finance, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Princeton Environmental Institute, and the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning. Students may combine their departmental work with courses and research opportunities offered by such programs and centers and also by other departments including Computer Science, Economics, and Mathematics. About half of PhD recipients in Operations Research & Financial Engineering accept positions in academia. See this list of first positions of our graduating PhD students.


In the first year of the Ph.D. program, students enroll in the 6 departmental core courses in probability, statistics, and optimization in consultation with the Department's Director of Graduate Studies, to be followed by a qualifying exam at the end of the summer. In addition, at least two advanced courses and two semesters of directed research are completed under the direction of a faculty adviser in the student's area of interest by the end of the second year in preparation for the general examination. The general examination is normally taken in the Spring of the second year of study. Usually, beyond the general examination, two to three years are needed for the completion of a suitable dissertation. Upon completion of theses studies and acceptance of the dissertation by the department, the candidate is admitted to the final public oral examination.

A comprehensive guide to the ORFE Ph.D. program can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook and in the Graduate School Catalog.

Research Seminars

The weekly departmental colloquium series brings distinguished researchers to the department to present their latest work. In addition, informal research seminars are organized in order to exchange information and to discuss ideas arising from the research work in progress. Students, research staff, visiting scholars, and faculty members participate in these seminars.


A bachelor's degree in engineering, sciences, or mathematics is normally required for admission to the graduate program. A strong mathematical background is expected for admission. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results will be optional (not required) for Fall 2023. Applicants whose primary language is not English or who have not earned their undergraduate degree in an institution where the language of instruction is English should also submit the results of the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo. Applicants whose graduate study was on a full-time basis for at least one year where instruction is entirely in English as certified by the institution is accepted.

Further details on applying to the graduate program are available via the Graduate School.

You may request an application fee waiver within the application.

Financial Support

The department aims to support all doctoral students requesting aid through a combination of fellowships and assistantships. All first-year Ph.D. candidates are supported by full-time fellowships, allowing students to focus on courses and providing flexibility in the choice of a research adviser. From the second year onward, students are supported by a combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. Continuation of support is recommended on the basis of satisfactory progress.

Further details on financial support are provided by the Graduate School.

Research Groups

The Department features several research groups that facilitate collaborations between students and faculty and provide a variety of resources for research and teaching. These include the following:

Financial Engineering. This group is home to computers, software, and financial data feeds needed for teaching and research in financial engineering. It is a focal point for graduate students in the Ph.D. program in financial engineering and M.Fin. It also serves as a gateway to collaborative research projects with financial institutions.

The Statistics and Financial Econometrics labs emphasize statistical methods in financial econometrics and risk management, computational biology, biostatistics, high-dimensional statistical learning, data-analytic modeling, longitudinal and functional data analysis, nonlinear time series, wavelets and their applications, among others. The group's primary research focuses on developing and justifying statistical methods that are used to solve problems from the frontiers of scientific research.

Transportation Center. The center conducts research on information and decision engineering technologies and how these technologies can be used to improve transportation-related decision making.

Master in Finance

The department is a major participant in the Master in Finance (M.Fin) degree program offered through the Bendheim Center for Finance. Further information is available via the Bendheim Center for Finance.

A large group of researchers posing for a group photo in a research space.

Statistics Laboratory Research Group

A large group of conference attendees posing outside of Sherrerd Hall.

Oxford-Princeton Workshop

A group of minority-representing researchers pausing a meeting around a conference table to pose for the camera.

Wesley L. Harris Scientific Society

Professor Ahmadi and Graduate Students in Bordeaux

Professor Ahmadi and Graduate Students in Bordeaux

Graduate Students Enjoying Dinner Together

Graduate Students Enjoying Dinner Together

Professor Shkolnikov at Oxford-Princeton Conference with Colleague

Professor Shkolnikov at Oxford-Princeton Conference with Colleague