Operations, Information and Decisions, PhD

Wharton’s program in Operations, Information and Decisions emphasizes research on real management problems and maintains a balance between theory and implementation. The faculty trains scholars in decision making, information systems and operations management.

Our faculty leads in the development and application of an innovative blend of analytical and empirical approaches to important problems facing the private and public sectors, including the design, development, and evaluation of:

  • behavioral approaches to individual and managerial decision making;
  • information systems as a means of commerce and of decision making; and
  • operations for the fulfillment of demand and broader economic and social needs.

Our PhD program provides a unique mix of behavioral, economic, statistical and analytical training to its students, and its strength is reflected in our students’ record of placement and achievement.

Three Areas of Specialization

Decision Making (DM)

What factors influence human judgment and decision-making? Why and when are people prone to judgement errors and biases? What kinds of interventions will help people make better decisions, or improve human welfare? Our interdisciplinary Decision-Making PhD program focuses on training students to conduct and publish academic research that helps to answer these important questions. Along the way, students receive rigorous quantitative/statistical training and acquire a deep understanding of the literature on judgment and decision-making, significant exposure to the fields of psychology, economics, organizational behavior, and marketing.

Information Systems (IS)

The Information Systems PhD Program covers a broad range of research interests, from the development of detailed analytical and information-technology-based methods for managing complex organizations to the broader economic evaluation of the impact of organizational and market-based use of information systems and information-based strategies.

Operations Management (OM)

The Operations Management PhD Program focuses on the processes that define an organization’s outputs, as well as the methods commonly used to analyze these processes. Students specializing in OM are interested in a wide range of functions, including operations strategy, product and process design, technology management, capacity planning, and supply chain management.  Their work similarly covers a wide range of organizations and industries, including education, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, distribution, and retailing.

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.

Students must complete 16 course units (CU’s) of classes to graduate.  They may earn up to 4 CUs of credit for courses previously completed as a part of a master’s degree or PhD program, with the approval of the PhD Coordinator and the Wharton Doctoral Program Office.

Program Milestones

The overall program of study is the same for all students:
Summer before matriculation
Preparatory Math and Tech Camps, August before the 1st Year (Optional)
1st Year Fall
(Mostly) Required Courses
1st Year Spring
(Mostly) Required Courses, Choose Summer Paper Topic and Advisor
1st Year Summer
Written Qualifier, 1st Year Summer Paper
2nd Year Fall
(Mostly) Elective Courses
2nd Year Spring
(Mostly) Electives Courses, Choose Dissertation Advisor, Sketch Area of Research Interest
2nd Year Summer
2nd Year Summer Paper
3rd Year
Dissertation Research
4th Year
Dissertation Proposal in Fall
5th Year
Job Market, Dissertation Defense
Course Requirements
Operations, Information and Decisions
Introductory Faculty-Student Seminar1
Introduction to OID Faculty and Their Research
*This is a 0.5 CU course that must be taken in both the Fall and Spring semesters of the first year.
At least one of the following three core disciplinary courses, with the approval of the OID PhD Coordinator1
Foundations of Decision Processes
Operations Management
Research Seminar in Information Systems
At least two CU in statistics/econometrics, with the approval of the OID PhD Coordinator and Wharton Statistics Department. The courses include but are not limited to the following.2
Applied Regression and Analysis of Variance
Introduction to Nonparametric Methods and Log-linear Models
Advanced Statistical Inference I
Advanced Statistical Inference II
Applied Econometrics I
Applied Econometrics II
Econometrics I: Fundamentals
Econometrics II: Methods & Models
At least two CU in economics, with the approval of OID’s PhD Coordinator. These courses include but are not limited to the following.2
Microeconomic Theory
Game Theory and Applications.
Microeconomic Theory I
and Macroeconomic Theory I
Microeconomic Theory II
Experimental Economics
Behavioral Economics and Policy Analysis
Contract Theory and Applications
Additional Courses Required of All Operations Management Students
At least one CU of OIDD 9410, Distribution Systems Seminar, the department’s advanced seminar in Operations Management. OIDD 9410 is a 0.5 CU course, and students fulfill the requirement by taking it at least twice.1
At least one CU of courses related to stochastic processes, with the approval of OID’s PhD Coordinator. These courses include but are not limited to the following.1
Stochastic Models
Stochastic Processes ll
Dynamic Programming and Stochastic Models
Stochastic Processes
At least one CU of courses related to optimization, with the approval of OID’s PhD Coordinator. These courses include but are not limited to the following.1
Intro to Linear, Nonlinear and Integer Optimization
Introduction to Optimization

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.


Typical Course Schedules

As the Requirements Outline suggests there is great flexibility in how students may complete their course requirements.  Thus, while the example plans of study, below, provide a sense of common first-year course rosters for the three concentrations, individual students’ plans can vary widely.
 

Decision Making

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCourse Units
OIDD 9010 Introduction to OID Faculty and Their Research 0.5-1
OIDD 9000 Foundations of Decision Processes 1.0
STAT 5000 Applied Regression and Analysis of Variance 1.0
Elective 0.5
Elective 0.5
Elective 0.5
 Course Units4.00-4.50
Spring
OIDD 9010 Introduction to OID Faculty and Their Research 0.5-1
ECON 6110 Game Theory and Applications. 1.0
STAT 5010 Introduction to Nonparametric Methods and Log-linear Models 1.0
Elective 0.5
Elective 0.5
Elective 0.5
 Course Units4.00-4.50
 Total Course Units8.00-9.00

Decision Making students then take a second economics course and electives in the second year.
 

Information Systems

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCourse Units
OIDD 9010 Introduction to OID Faculty and Their Research 0.5-1
Elective 0.5
Elective 0.5
Elective 0.5
STAT 5200 Applied Econometrics I 1.0
ECON 6100 Microeconomic Theory 1.0
 Course Units4.00-4.50
Spring
OIDD 9010 Introduction to OID Faculty and Their Research 0.5-1
OIDD 9550 Research Seminar in Information Systems 1.0
STAT 5210 Applied Econometrics II 1.0
ECON 6110 Game Theory and Applications. 1.0
Elective 0.5
 Course Units4.00-4.50
 Total Course Units8.00-9.00

Information Systems students then take electives in the second year.
 

Operations Management

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCourse Units
OIDD 9010 Introduction to OID Faculty and Their Research 0.5-1
OIDD 9400 Operations Management 1.0
OIDD 9120 Introduction to Optimization 0.5
OIDD 9300 Stochastic Models 0.5
STAT 5200 Applied Econometrics I 1.0
ECON 6100 Microeconomic Theory 1.0
 Course Units4.50-5.00
Spring
OIDD 9010 Introduction to OID Faculty and Their Research 0.5-1
OIDD 9410 Distribution Systems Seminar 0.5
OIDD 9310 Stochastic Processes ll 0.5
STAT 5210 Applied Econometrics II 1.0
ECON 6110 Game Theory and Applications. 1.0
 Course Units3.50-4.00
 Total Course Units8.00-9.00

Common Electives

The choice of elective courses can also vary widely, according to each student’s interests and focus of research, and valuable electives are offered within OID, as well as by departments throughout the University of Pennsylvania.  The following list is a sample of courses, beyond the options listed above, that multiple OID PhD students have taken in the recent past.

BEPP 9110Empirical Public Policy1
BEPP 9310Numerical Methods in Economics1
CIS 5200Machine Learning1
CIS 5220Deep Learning for Data Science1
CIS 5450Big Data Analytics1
ECON 8310Econometrics III: Advanced Techniques of Cross-Section Econometrics1
ECON 8450Empirical Methods for Industrial Organization1
FNCE 9260Empirical Methods in Corporate Finance1
MGMT 9330Psychological and Sociological Foundations of Research in Management
MGMT 9530Seminar in Research Design0.5
MGMT 9570Emotions in Organizations
MGMT 9610Special Topics in OB: Making a Contribution
MKTG 9400Measurement and Data Analysis in Marketing - Part A
MKTG 9500Judgment and Decision Making Perspectives on Consumer Behavior - Part A0.5
MKTG 9510Judgment and Decision Making Perspectives on Consumer Behavior - Part B0.5
MKTG 9520Information Processing Perspectives on Consumer Behavior - Part A0.5
OIDD 9370Methods Stumblers: Pragmatic Solutions to Everyday Challenges in Behavioral Research0.5
OIDD 9530Explaining Explanation1
OIDD 9920Conflict Mgmt Seminar1
STAT 5710Modern Data Mining
STAT 9210Observational Studies1
STAT 9270Bayesian Statistical Theory and Methods1
STAT 9710Introduction to Linear Statistical Models1
STAT 9740Modern Regression for the Social, Behavioral and Biological Sciences1