Quality and operations management, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Continuously improving business processes is of increasing importance for companies competing in today's global markets. For society, there is a strong need to sustain work opportunities by realising and utilising the potential in existing businesses. Companies need to compete both by bringing new products to the market and by improving existing products and processes. These two aspects constitute the rationale underlying this master’s programme.

Quality and operations management​ master's programme at Chalmers

Aimed at improving the processes through which new and existing products and services are developed and delivered, we now witness a strong upsurge in the industry’s interest in improvement techniques and philosophies. Examples are Six Sigma, Lean Production and Lean Product Development. Many industrial companies and public organizations are using improvement programmes based on these or similar ideas. Success in these programmes requires a change in mindset together with organisational transformations. Engineers equipped with the knowledge and competence required for leading quality driven change processes and business improvement are therefore crucial.
This Master’s programme in Quality and operations management supports you as a student in acquiring the knowledge and skills required to manage, improve and transform organisational processes.

The master's programme gives you a thorough understanding of tools for identifying customer needs and business opportunities. You will be trained in the skills needed to manage the process of developing and delivering products and services. A strong focus will be on the usage of different qualitative and quantitative tools. Another focus will be on production and delivery processes, in both manufacturing and service and on the tools and techniques for their improvement. You will acquire a number of competencies needed to manage improvement and change processes, whether they concern product development or production. These skills include leadership, project management and change management.

The programme’s pedagogic frame is built on your participation and responsibility for your own learning process. Within the theoretical parts of the education and in order to improve your ability to present ideas both in written and oral form, you will write, present and discuss cases and term papers at seminars.
In the programme, a number of group projects will be carried out, all of them in cross-cultural teams. This provides a training arena for cross-cultural group work preparing you for taking the lead in cross-cultural improvement projects.

Topics covered

The subjects of product development, change management and leardership are fundamental areas in the Quality and operations management master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as operations strategy, six sigma and quality imp​rovement.

Master's programme structure 

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses​.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with five compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Quality and Operations Management. Each course is usually 7.5 credits.
  • Quality and operations management
  • Integrated product development
  • Design for quality
  • Operations strategy
  • Research methdology​

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice. 
  • ​Master's thesis

Compulsory elective courses

Select an industry project: 
  • Six sigma certification
  • Operations improvement
  • Product development
​The master's programme consists of one compulsory block of 60 credits here 15 credits are alternative compulsory, which gives the student a chance to choose between three alternatives. The alternatives are all industrially based projects, focusing on quality improvement, operational improvement or product development. Another option to attain the 15 credits alternative compulsory is to take the courses Change management and improvement processes, and Platform development and modularization management – both these courses are given in the third semester. If you have taken one of the industrially based project courses during the second semester, the third semester includes 30 credits elective courses.​

 
​​​

Sustainable development 

The programme is highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development goals (SDGs). The table below provides an overview of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme.




Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Students and teachers at discuss the development of products, processes, and services in a way that acknowledges not only buyers as a critical customer, but a wider range of stakeholders including society and the natural environment. 

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Students and teachers in this programme strongly engage in the continuous improvement of products and processes to minimize adverse effects on the environment, e.g. reducing scrap and other types of waste.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Students and teachers actively problematize contemporary practice from a sustainability perspective, e.g. there is case work on how to advance operations management into sustainable operations management.

Goal 13: Climate Action
Integrating sustainability considerations in the teaching supports development of alumni that are well-aware of needed climate actions and of how they, in their professional role and through the practices they apply, can contribute to this field. 

​Career

Graduates of the programme can find positions as quality and improvement process facilitators, problem solvers or change agents, production, quality or product development engineers or project managers. There is also the prospect of working within management in the above mentioned areas as well as management consultants or academic researchers.
 
Examples of positions acquired by students of earlier versions of this programme are: management consultants, production engineers, quality engineers, Six Sigma Black Belts, project leaders in product development and company internal quality consultants. Future career opportunities are not restricted to manufacturing organizations, but also include service providing organizations and public services.

Research within Quality and operations management

All courses and projects are taught and supervised by active researchers in the field of quality and operations management and we apply or include our current research to examples, cases, projects and regular lectures. As a student, you will be able to take part in research discussions and analyses.
 
The master's programme is also connected with industry through guest lecturers in various courses and an industrially based project course. The industrial cooperation is facilitated by the division’s research collaboration with various companies and organizations, e.g. SKF, Volvo Trucks and the Region of Västra Götaland.
 
In the project courses – Six Sigma, operations improvement, or product development – you will carry out a project in close co-operation with a company. In the Six Sigma project an employee from the company involved will work together with a group of students carrying out a Six Sigma project in that company. The operations improvement project is similar to a small research study where a group of students investigate a problem of interest to a certain company e.g. through interviews and study visits. The product development project concerns development of a prototype for a company. 

Student interview

“Sustainability is a part of all courses”​
​​​Quoc Hung Dang, Vietnam, Quality and Operations Management

Why did you choose this programme?
– It seemed like the perfect match for me since I have a bachelor’s in industrial management and wanted to learn more about this field. Chalmers sustainability motto spoke to me and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is part of all our courses. Our lecturers constantly keep us updated about the latest knowledge and research in the industry.  But the focus is not only on what is going on right now. We train to have a long-term vision too and learn how to make things better in 20-30 years. 

What have you been working on?
– A classmate and I teamed up with an employee from an electric manufacturing company outside of Gothenburg. We got to go there, see what they are doing and understand their needs, and which challenges they are facing. They presented a problem to us and we came up with ideas on how to solve it based on what we have learned here at Chalmers. 

What do you like the most about your programme?
– We don’t only learn the theory, but we have a lot of opportunities to practice everything we have learned too. In both case studies and projects where we work together with team members from the industry. It’s an opportunity I didn’t have in my home country. 

What do you want to do in the future?
– I would like to become a researcher in a field where I get to learn new things every day. 

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Fri 21 May 2021.