The MSc in Operational Research includes a summer project, which often takes the form of a consultancy exercise for an external organisation.
During the period June to August, candidates for the MSc in Operational Research work on a project and write a dissertation based on this work. Only students who have passed the exams on the taught part of the MSc are allowed to start a project.
The project gives you the opportunity to apply skills developed earlier to real operational research problems. Projects often take the form of a consultancy exercise for a sponsoring organisation. Projects usually involve modelling the problem and applying existing packages and/or developing a computer program for a new application of OR. It is also possible to have an academic project without a direct link to an external organisation.
Academic projects are defined and supervised inside the department. External projects are defined by some external organisation, which may be an industrial or commercial company, a government body or research lab. There will be one supervisor in the University and one in the outside organisation. In an external organisation, you may work as part of a team on a project, but the work you do must be sufficiently self-contained that it can be written up into a coherent dissertation.
The purpose of the external placement is to enhance your experience through working on a practical project, and to allow you to apply and extend the knowledge and skills that you have already developed as part of your MSc programme. You will also develop your communication and other transferable skills, and interact with others on a more open-ended problem than you will have experienced in the taught part of the MSc.
You may be based in the University with occasional visits to the external organisation, or vice versa. June and July can be spent away from Edinburgh, but we normally require students to return to Edinburgh in August to complete the writing up.
The project for the MSc gives 60 credits out of the overall 180 credits of your MSc degree.