Engineering & Management Systems (EMS) Certificate

The Engineering and Management Systems (EMS) certificate is no longer available for enrollment, it has been replaced by the Optimization Quantitative Decision Science (OQDS) certificate.

Students who were enrolled in the EMS program before August 1, 2021 have the option to (i) complete the requirements of the EMS program and receive an EMS certificate, or (ii) complete the requirements of the OQDS program and receive a OQDS certificate. Under no circumstances will both certificates be awarded. Students cannot get the OQDS certificate by completing the old requirements for EMS. Students who have completed their degree (e.g., graduated) cannot retroactively have the EMS certificate renamed OQDS.

The certificate program in Engineering and Management Systems provides students with tools for the complex decision-making problems that arise in engineering, the sciences, and management. It is aimed at three types of students:

  • Engineering students interested in preparing for careers in management or consulting.
  • Students in the liberal arts looking to acquire the analytical tools typically used for careers in corporate or government settings.
  • Students in the sciences interested in a stronger exposure to analytical methods, and potentially careers in management or public policy.

It offers a coherent, integrated set of core courses that are based on analytical methods with applications in the planning and control of complex systems required by a modern technological society. Emphasis is placed on rigorous modeling and analysis, taking advantage of the vast flow of data and ubiquitous computing power available today. The EMS certificate program complements both the Finance Certificate and the Certificate Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. Our emphasis is on developing analysis skills that are useful in engineering and management.


The EMS certificate program is open to both B.S.E. and A.B. majors. B.S.E. students are required to take math through Math 201 and 202, which will satisfy the math prerequisites of any of the core courses. However, there is flexibility in the choice of core courses, and the math prerequisites depend on the electives that a student chooses. For A.B. majors, it is the student’s responsibility to take the necessary prerequisites for their program of study.

To be admitted, interested students should email the director of the program, stating that you would like to participate in the program. Please include your class and major, and let me know if you have placed out of any course requirements.


The program for each student is worked out by the student and the departmental adviser. In some cases, a course can fulfill both a certificate program requirement and a regular departmental requirement, with the exception that ORFE concentrators may not double count the course that integrates optimization and uncertainty. The EMS certificate program does not have a GPA requirement, so courses may be taken pass/fail, limited only by university regulations on pass/fail courses. The program requirements are as follows:

  • An introductory statistics course:
    • ORF 245 - Fundamentals of Engineering Statistics
    • ECO 202 - Statistics and Data Analysis for Economics
    • POL 345/SOC 305 - Introduction to Quantitative Social Science
    • PHY 301 - Thermal Physics and PHY 312 Experimental Physics (both courses must be taken)
    • PSY 251 - Quantitative Methods
    • SOC 301 - Sociological Research Methods
    • WWS 200 - Statistics for Social Sciences
    • This requirement may be satisfied with a score of 5 on the AP statistics exam or by taking a higher-level statistics course such as ORF 350 or 405, or ECO 302/312.
  • An introductory optimization course:
    • ORF 307 - Optimization
    • ORF363/COS 323 - Computing and Optimization for the Physical and Social Sciences
    • CBE 442 - Design, Synthesis and Optimization of Chemical Processes
    • MAE 433 - Automatic Control Systems
  • A course in probability:
    • ORF 309 - Probability and Stochastic Systems
    • MAT 385 - Probability Theory
  • A course integrating optimization and uncertainty:
    • ORF 311 - Optimization Under Uncertainty
    • ORF 360 - Decision Modeling for Business Analytics (taken concurrent and prior to Fall 2017)
    • ORF 418 - Optimal Learning
    • CEE 460 - Risk Assessment and Management
    • COS 324 - Introduction to Machine Learning
    • MAE 345 - Robotics and Intelligent Systems
    • ECO 418 - Strategy and Information
    • ECO 462 - Portfolio Theory and Asset Management
    • ECO 465 - Options, Futures and Financial Derivatives
    • WWS 340/PSY 321 - The Psychology of Decision Making and Judgment

Note: ORFE majors (class of 2019 and later) may not count the course used in this category as a departmental elective.

  • An integrative course in management, entrepreneurship or systems:
    • ORF 411 - Sequential Decision Analytics and Modeling
    • CBE 442 - Design, Synthesis and Optimization of Chemical Processes
    • EGR 395 - Venture Capital & Finance of Innovation
    • EGR 497 - Entrepreneurial Leadership
    • EGR/ELE 491 - High-Tech Entrepreneurship

A senior thesis or project must be completed and submitted to the program director that demonstrates a command of some portion of the core disciplines of statistics, probability and/or optimization. Students in engineering departments that require a one-semester project can typically use a suitably designed project to satisfy the requirement.

Acceptable theses can be on a wide range of topics, but they must demonstrate a command of the core disciplines of the EMS Certificate program, including statistics, probability and/or optimization. The thesis must demonstrate, in appropriate mathematics, the ability to model a problem and perform analysis that leads to some conclusion or scientific result. A thesis with minimal or no mathematical modeling will not be acceptable.

Theses that are not allowed include "soft" topics such as the history of the Chinese economy, and hard-science theses (laboratory-based theses) that do not have a significant data-analysis component (for example, collecting observations and taking averages is not sufficient).


Director: Amir Ali Ahmadi, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Interdepartmental Committee

  • Matias Cattaneo, Operations Research and Financial Engineering (2019-2023)
  • Elad Hazan, Computer Science (2015-2023)
  • Alain Kornhauser, Operations Research and Financial Engineering (2005-2022)
  • Miklos Racz, Operations Research and Financial Engineering (2019-2023)
  • Peter Ramadge, Electrical Engineering (2019-2023)
  • Clancy Rowley, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (2019-2023)
  • Robert Vanderbei, Operations Research and Financial Engineering (2019-2023)