Department profile and history

The Department of Management Science is one of the longest established of its type in Europe. Its origins lie in the Department of Operational Research (OR), one of the founder departments of Lancaster University in 1964 and in the Department of Systems Engineering, founded in 1966.

Both departments were the first of their type in the UK and both stressed the importance of the rational analysis of complex problems. Even in those early years the Department's current philosophy was clear: to try to help organisations solve real problems. This mission was carried out in both departments by postgraduate degrees, which quickly became established as the leading programmes in the UK.

By 1993, when the Department of Management Science was created, OR had expanded to include Operations Management, and the original systems engineering focus had shifted to stress work on soft systems methodology and information management. The two Masters programmes remain, accompanied by a vigorous doctoral programme and a wide range of undergraduate courses.


More than thirty years later these foundation stones remain firmly in place. However we now operate as the Department of Management Science and we include:

  • Operational Research: based on model building, using computers and mathematical tools.
  • Operations Management: which aims to help organisations deliver their products and services as effectively and efficiently as possible to the customers.
  • Systems and Information Management: systems has a long and distinguished history at Lancaster, notably including the world-renowned work on soft systems methodology. This work on systems continues vigorously together with extensive new work in Information Management.

Departmental resources are excellent with extensive computer facilities on hand and, within the University library, a full range of journals, electronic databases and books.