During the three-month-long project/research phase students work on a research topic with a supervisor, usually from a local university. Students are not expected to do original work to achieve a passing grade. The criterion for an outstanding essay is broadly that it could constitute the early part of a Master’s thesis. For example, it could be publishable in a journal, or form an outstanding introduction to the field that could be used by other students entering the area. During this phase targeted communication skills and computing classes may continue, at the lecturers’ discretion. The purpose of a Master’s research project is:
•to give students the opportunity to work with an expert supervisor on a non-trivial project;
•to go through the process of independently reviewing, understanding and explaining scientific or mathematical material;
•to optionally (usually) do experiments — on a computer or otherwise — and report the results;
•to write a scientific report.