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Part-time MSc Projects

Part-time MSc students are required to propose their own projects related to their employer's business. The process is as follows

Identify a suitable project

During your first year of registration on the MSc course you should identify a suitable topic to form the basis of your project and dissertation. This should be done in consultation with your Managers and your Company Training Department.

Your project topic can be selected from a wide spectrum of technical and engineering/process business subjects, however, choice may be constrained by your own company policy. For the Warwick Manufacturing Group MSc programmes, the dissertation is expected to be comprehensive report embracing technical, economic and human aspects of engineering industry and their interaction. The topic of your research must be relevant to the degree for which you are registered.

The title of your degree programme is important to you and your employer. As a substantial part of the work is the project it is clear that this should reflect the main theme of your programme of study. It is not intended that your project should be solely on that theme, only that it should be central to the work. There have been occasions when students have not complied with this and their degree has not been awarded. Please take care during the project selection process.

The dissertation should be an exposition of your work and ideas. Where others have had an input (e.g. in a teamwork situation) this should be clearly identified. Since the subject areas of dissertations can be so diverse it is impossible to define a standard approach to content, however, this should include an introduction and definition of objectives, a literature survey, and a review of the problem followed by a description of your approach to solving the problem, your results or findings, an intellectual analysis of your results or findings and, finally, a logical review of the conclusions you have drawn.

Advice and guidance on company policy should be sought from your Training Officer whilst advice on the University requirements and suitability of topics can be sought from the Project Manager

Identify a suitable Industrial Supervisor

Having selected a subject area for your project it is your responsibility to find someone prepared to act as your Industrial Supervisor. The role of the Industrial Supervisor is as follows:-

(i) To monitor progress on the project over a period normally of 1 to 2 years in order to be able to assess effort, competence and comprehension.

(ii) To liaise with the Academic Supervisor to ensure that the project is directed so as to be industrially relevant and academically suitable.

(iii) To read and assess the completed written report with regard to quality, content and presentation.

(iv) To jointly (with the Academic Supervisor) conduct an oral examination to assess overall breadth and depth of knowledge.

The Industrial Supervisor should be a suitably qualified, senior individual within the company who has a knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the project and who can judge the relevance of methods used and conclusions drawn in relation to normal company practices and current and future business objectives.

Since the Industrial Supervisor is responsible for deciding marks which affect the awarding of a degree, the University stipulates that the Industrial Supervisor should meet the following requirements:-

(a) The person should normally have a degree or an equivalent professional qualification.

(b) The person should occupy a significant position of authority and responsibility.

(c) The person should have a significant awareness of the project and be in a position to assess an individual's performance on the project.

Points (b) and (c) above normally mean that an Industrial Supervisor should be in a fairly senior position but not so senior as to be remote from the detail of the project. As a guide, supervisor are usually 1 to 3 levels higher than the student within the management hierarchy. Advice may be sought from the training department concerning suitable supervisors.

You should approach a prospective supervisor and should explain your requirements with the aid of "Information for Industrial Supervisors". You should obtain agreement on the content of the project and the supervisor’s agreement to fulfil the role outlined above.

If you have problems identifying a suitable person within your organisation to act as an industrial supervisor, you should consult with the local Project Manager or Director of Studies. They will be able to advise you and, if necessary, suggest someone outside your own company who could act as a supervisor.

Submit your Project Proposal

Having identified an Industrial Supervisor you should, with their agreement, write a brief synopsis of your project proposal headed with your name, your Industrial Supervisor’s name, contact addresses and phone numbers together with your Industrial Supervisor’s qualifications and company position. This should be followed by the project title and a clear statement of the objectives of the project and the way in which you will satisfy these objectives. A standard form for the project proposal is included with these guidelines.

After clearing the proposal with your company you should send the proposal to the Programmes Secretary, at the local IGDS office, before the end of your first year of registration.

Your proposed topic will be considered along with your nomination of an Industrial Supervisor. If both are acceptable a suitable Academic Supervisor will be appointed and you will be notified by post and asked to contact both supervisors to arrange an inaugural meeting.

If the project proposal is unacceptable you will be asked to submit a new one.

NOTE: If you have not proposed a suitable project by the end of your second year of registration, you will be considered by a Board of Examiners with a view to down-grading your registration to the Postgraduate Certificate (for which no project is required). Should your registration be down-graded, and the Postgraduate Certificate later awarded, you would NOT be eligible for advanced credit standing in a subsequent MSc registration.

Set up a Meeting with your Supervisors

The initial tripartite meeting to discuss your project could ideally be arranged at your place of work so that your Academic Supervisor can become acquainted with the environment in which the project is to be conducted. The meeting should allow the project to be discussed thoroughly, for all parties to resolve any outstanding questions and to specify project mile stones and agree a timetable for their achievement. It is useful at this stage to discuss proposed chapter titles and contents to give both supervisors a feel for the extent of coverage and depth of the planned work.

Following the initial meeting, the student should regularly report progress to the Supervisors. In the event of a major problem a tripartite meeting should again be initiated: e.g. if the direction of the project has to be changed as the result of new findings or a change occurring in company circumstances, etc. Regular liaison with the Academic Supervisor is advisable in order to ensure the project attains a suitable academic content and tripartite progress meetings are encouraged.