School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

MSc projects

MSc Individual Project

The Masters Individual Project is designed to expose you to a real-life engineering problem to which you apply the skills and knowledge acquired in the area of your degree course. The work must be completed within budget, using available resources, by a specified deadline, and presented to an audience not necessarily directly familiar with the work you have done. The project is designed to expose you to issues of project management, resourcing, planning, scheduling, documentation, and communication and will demand individual responsibility, critical awareness and creative thinking.

The project will involve you as an individual working on a particular area of activity relevant to your degree, with the goal of meeting a specific set of objectives. Your project will be supervised by a single member of faculty, who takes on the role of technical director. A second (minor) supervisor is also assigned to provide occasional guidance. The specific objectives will depend on the nature of the project. It is however typical for a project to involve you in developing competency in project management, specification, development of concepts, detailed design, hardware and/or software implementation, testing, analysis, evaluation and communication.

  1. Exercise initiative and personal responsibility in planning, conducting and reporting on a substantial engineering project
  2. Demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge from various sources to form a view of a real and current engineering problem and as a basis for developing a solution to the problem
  3. Undertake the planning of a substantial project, identifying resources required, estimating effort and forming contingency plans for unexpected outcomes and problems arising.
  4. Apply engineering principles to address the chosen problem and demonstrate the ability to make sound judgments in complex situations and in the absence of complete data
  5. Select and deploy appropriate analytical and practical techniques applicable to advanced scholarship in the area of the degree course
  6. Apply a holistic approach to the project brief by exercising professional judgments in terms of cost, market, environment, sustainability, safety and ethics
  7. Deliver an oral presentation in order to communicate the technical information and findings of the project clearly to a combined specialist and non-specialist audience
  8. Document the implementation and findings of the project in a substantial technical report

MSc Group Project

The MSc Group Project involves at least three and up to around six students working in a team to undertake an engineering project in the area of their degree course. Formation of the team, and the actual start of the project takes place at the start of teaching block 2. The Group Project experience is designed to develop a range of skills, including a good understanding of system design and implementation, and experience of team-working. The challenge is to meet stated specifications, targets, milestones, and delivery deadlines, all within a set budget. This is achieved through good project management by applying proven scientific, technological, and engineering principles to a real-world engineering problem. The project will exercise original thought and judgement, making best use of published literature and recent technological developments. It will be necessary for the team to variously specify, design, construct, manufacture, test, and commission a system, product, or process. Each member has a distinct role with responsibilities to others. An agreed Team Leader and Secretary are appointed (from the Group) early in the project, to take responsibility for day-to-day project co-ordination. The project is steered by an academic supervisor. At project steering meetings, formal minutes are taken and recorded (by the Group Secretary). The assessment for each student is based on both a group and an individual contribution. The team submits a group feasibility study, gives a formal group presentation and submits a substantial group dissertation in the form of a technical report.

  1. Play an identified team role in planning, managing, conducting and reporting on a substantial group project at a professional level
  2. Demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge from various sources to form a view of a real and current engineering problem and as a basis for developing a solution to the problem
  3. Contribute to the planning of a substantial project, identifying resources required, estimating effort and forming contingency plans for unexpected outcomes and problems arising.
  4. Apply engineering principles to address the chosen problem and demonstrate the ability to make sound judgments in complex situations and in the absence of complete data
  5. Select and deploy appropriate analytical and practical techniques applicable to advanced scholarship in the area of the degree course
  6. Apply a holistic approach to the project brief by exercising professional judgments in terms of cost, market, environment, sustainability, safety and ethics
  7. Contribute to a team-based presentation in order to communicate the technical information and findings of the project clearly to a combined specialist and non-specialist audience
  8. Make an identified individual contribution to a substantial technical report which documents the implementation and findings of the project

How to select a project

1. A list will be circulated by email and made available on Study Direct. You choose up to four Projects in order of preference. The MSc project convenor will aim to allocate you your preferred project and will inform you of the allocation by email, usually in January.

2. Alternatively, if you have an idea of your own that you would like to pursue, you can approach a member of Engineering & Design faculty and ask them to supervise you. The project is given a name - Special Project.

Students in MSc Mechanical Engineering are required to take a group project. The project proposals will be listed on the web and the project groups will be formed through a meeting in Week 1 of Spring Term.

The assessments and submission deadlines for the individual and group MSc projects are detailed on your Sussex Direct pages. The associated marking criteria are available to download on Study Direct.

You commence work on your project in the Spring term, initially concentrating on project planning and the literature survey. At the end of the Spring term you submit an interim report on these tasks, for assessment and feedback.

Following the examination period in May, you work full time on your project until the end of August. Your dissertation is submitted early in September (see Sussex Direct for the date) and you complete your assignments shortly afterwards with an oral presentation at the MSc Symposium. Throughout this period you will meet regularly with your supervisor.

Handbooks containing guidelines for individual and group MSc projects are available on Study Direct.

These handbooks contain information on:
- Planning your project
- Conducting your project
- Writing reports

School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

School Office:
School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Chichester 1 Room 002, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ
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