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DOE Jobs Online logo Operations Research Analyst, GS-1515

Basic Requirements for All Grades, GS-5 and above

Degree: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree that included a major field of study or specific course requirements in operations research; or at least 24 semester hours in a combination of operations research, mathematics, probability, statistics, mathematical logic, science, or subject-matter courses requiring substantial competence in college-level mathematics or statistics. At least 3 of the 24 semester hours must have been in calculus.

Evaluation of Education: The primary requirement of operations research work is competence in the rigorous methods of scientific inquiry and analysis rather than in the subject matter of the problem. Therefore, applicants should have sufficient knowledge of applied mathematics to understand and use the fundamental concepts and techniques of operations research methods of analysis. In addition, some positions may require knowledge of a specific subject area.

Courses acceptable for qualifying for operations research positions may have been taken in departments other than Operations Research, e.g., Engineering (usually Industrial Engineering), Science, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, or Management Science.

The following are illustrative of acceptable courses: optimization; mathematical modeling; queuing theory; engineering; physics (except descriptive or survey courses); econometrics; psychometrics; biometrics; experimental psychology; physical chemistry; industrial process analysis; managerial economics; computer science; measurement for management; mathematical models in social phenomena; and courses that involved application of operations research techniques and methodologies to problems of management, marketing, systems design, and other specialized fields; or other comparable quantitative analysis courses for which college-level mathematics or statistics is a prerequisite. Courses in theory of probability and statistics are highly desirable, but are not specified as minimum educational requirements because to do so would possibly exclude some applicants who would otherwise be well qualified.

Additional Experience and Education Requirements For GS-7 and Above

In addition to meeting the basic entry qualification requirements, applicants must have specialized experience and/or directly related education in the amounts shown in the table below:





OR Specialized Experience



1 year of graduate-level education in an accredited college or university or superior academic achievement

1 year equivalent to at least GS-5


2 years of progressively higher level graduate education in an accredited college or university leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree

1 year equivalent to at least GS-7


3 years of progressively higher level graduate education in an accredited college or university leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree

1 year equivalent to at least GS-9

GS-12 and above


1 year equivalent to at least next lower grade level

NOTE: Education and experience may be combined for all grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable.


Graduate Education: Completion of graduate level education in the amounts shown in the table, in addition to meeting the basic requirements, is qualifying for positions at grades GS-7 through GS-11 if it provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered an academic year of graduate study. Part-time graduate education is creditable in accordance with its relationship to a year of full-time study at the school attended.

Specialized Experience: Experience that equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization.

Examples of Specialized Experience:

For GS-9: Working as a team member on specified assignments that facilitate the efforts of the team and provide experience toward independently planning and conducting complete assignments; applying conventional techniques to complete relatively uncomplicated projects; checking reports, records, ledgers, and other documents against source documents.

For GS-11: Serving as an analyst with responsibility for performing a variety of assignments that involve conducting either segments of a project or complete projects where assignments are either well-precedented or occasion the use of conventional techniques in gathering and evaluating the pertinent data; for example, a project in which the employee performs a range of functions in planning and conducting the work, reporting results and making recommendations.

For GS-12: Assisting a senior analyst on assignments that are characteristically segments of a larger project, such as one of the major phases of a project or several phases of a specific question, including setting up the problem, conducting background investigation, collecting and reducing data, displaying data for analysis, formulating mathematical expressions, and drawing conclusions. Typically uses conventional methods and techniques, exercising judgement in applying standard professional practices to new situations and in relating new work situations to precedent ones. Developing conclusions about or proposals for design of experiments; isolation of representative factors to describe the operation; specification of data collection methods and techniques; construction of parts of analytical and mathematical models for predicting the effects of alternative courses of action; or preparation of reports describing and justifying the results of analytic studies.

For GS-13: Performing complete projects independently, responsible for each step of the analytic process, using a variety of conventional operations research methods, techniques and approaches; examining the underlying relationships, selecting appropriate methods or techniques from a variety of possible alternatives, and drawing conclusions that usually are not controversial. Using considerable originality to modify or adapt problem solving or other techniques such as mathematical techniques to fit specific situations; using innovation to deal with the higher level of problem complexity and to explain the underlying relationships of a system which involves uncertainties in some significant aspects.

For GS-14: Working on a wide variety of assignments that are characterized either by their breadth or depth, where technical precedents and guidelines are generally not available or those that do exist only provide a framework or foundation for departure. Assignments involve very difficult, complex problems that have facets that are new, strange or unfamiliar. These unique problems require considerable ingenuity in determining the approach and in identifying the relevant factors for analysis; require innovation in the selection or application of techniques to solve problems, enhance performance, or increase efficiency and effectiveness; involve projects with high visibility, unusual urgency or program criticality; and/or require application of a variety of operations research techniques. With broadly stated or ill-structured problems, studies, or projects, analysts are responsible for ascertaining the exact nature of the problem, identifying the ramifications involved and delimiting the context in terms of the alternatives to be considered; are responsible for providing expert judgements concerning the validity of assumptions made and the criteria by which alternatives will be evaluated. Work is performed with a marked degree of professional independence and technical authority; analysts at this level are responsible not only for the thoroughness of the study, but for the significance of the findings and effectiveness of the presentation.

For GS-15: Working on projects of major importance to agency programs and operations that may have national or international impact; on problems that are unique and very difficult to define, require unconventional approaches, or require the application and adaptation of sophisticated analytical techniques, with results that are usually original in nature. Assignments frequently arise from previous studies that expose problems or highlight other applications and are very large, extremely complex, controversial, or sensitive. Problems may be controversial because of differences of opinions or interpretations among experienced and respected professionals; because of the political or economic sensitivity of alternatives under consideration; or because the work.

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Page Last Updated: 7/14/2015 7:01 AM