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Virginia Commonwealth University - Systems Modeling and Analysis

The Systems Modeling & Analysis program is an applied mathematical sciences doctoral degree program jointly run by the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research. The program comprises four research areas: discrete mathematics, mathematical biology, operations research, and statistics. We have about 20 faculty and 40 students. Approximately 40% of our students are female and over 50% are U.S. citizens.

Program Description

After taking foundation classes in the first semester, students may focus on a particular research area or prepare for research at the interface of multiple research areas. Students are involved in research early in the program. In a sequence of three seminar classes, students write a literature review, a draft journal article, and a dissertation proposal in a cohort setting where they benefit from feedback from peers, the instructor, and an advisor. The overall goal of the program is to have students participate in and eventually lead impactful research.


Over 75% of students are full time students and there is a strong sense of community among students. Most of the department faculty and graduate students are co-located on the same floor. Full-time students beginning in the same year are guaranteed to have at least two foundation classes together. The program has active INFORMS and SIAM student chapters that hold regular events that connect students outside of class and support career development. Pi Mu Epsilon, a mathematics honor society, and Mu Sigma Rho, a statistics honor society, are also active. The two sponsoring departments conduct four weekly seminar series. Students attend seminars to join in VCU’s community of researchers and learn about current work in their field. When students begin the program, they are assigned a mentor in a field unrelated to their dissertation research area. The mentor provides counsel throughout the program.


Student body profile

Students strive for careers in academia, industry, and government. The program has alumni working in all three sectors. Students interested in academic positions are given the opportunity to teach classes in their area. The presence of part-time students and relationships with regional companies allow students to network with professionals in their fields of interest.

Funding opportunities

The program has 14 teaching assistantships. First-year students are on 12-month contracts and returning students are on 9-month contracts. There are opportunities to teach in the summer. Some students are supported by faculty research grants. The program has a travel budget to assist students attending conferences.

More information

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Contact for more information:

  • Angela Reynolds