The CDRC Masters Dissertation Scheme gives masters level students the opportunity to conduct their dissertation with the co-supervision of a large Business. The projects offer students a chance to work with consumer datasets on real-world business problems.
The programme offers students:
The programme presents an invaluable opportunity for students who are wishing to pursue a wide range of successful careers related to business and data insight.
Please also see the FAQs at the bottom of this page.
How to Apply
Applications for students are not yet available but will open in 2023. Once the application process is open, the following procedure can be followed:
If a project takes your interest, please complete the application form, and send it back to [email address not yet open for applications], along with a copy of your CV. Both documents should be in PDF format. Applications will be sent to industry partners on a regular basis until all projects are successfully filled.
The CDRC Masters Dissertation Scheme is organised by Prof Paul Longley (UCL), Richard Arnold (UCL) and Hon Prof Keith Dugmore (UCL), and has been supported by over 25 companies and the Data Analysts User Group (DUG) since it was introduced in 2012.
The programme supports the ESRC’s aim of developing its engagement between academia and the private sector, particularly in the field of large data sets. The scheme provides a unique and invaluable opportunity for Masters students to work on large commercial datasets which would otherwise be unobtainable or extremely costly. It also provides opportunities to conduct research on real-world problems faced by large businesses. Consequently, the programme has had positive implications for graduate recruitment. Most of the students from previous years of the programme immediately went on to work in the data industry (some at their sponsor companies). In addition, 10 students have joined the CDRC as research students – some of which are pursuing PhDs with the support of their original sponsors from the dissertation programme.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the research take place?
The research can take place for any duration after April, although we ask a PDF copy of the dissertation to be submitted in September so that they can be sent to the judging panel. The intention of this programme was that it would fit in with the schedules set by your own institution. If your application is successful you will be invited to a meeting (face-to-face or telephone) with a business contact where you can agree on a work schedule that fits in with your degree programme.
Where does the research take place?
This depends on the project so please check the project description page and see the “Would any work by the student need to be carried out onsite at the Company with the exception of supervisory meetings?” box. The majority of projects enable the student to work offsite. However, some may request that you work from their head office to access their data and also to benefit from their onsite support.
In addition, some sponsors are flexible, the student can choose to work onsite if they wish. If the project is listed as onsite then please ensure that you are able and willing to work from their office before applying.
Are there any fees?
No. In fact, most companies offer £500 sponsorship (as indicated in the “Financial assistance offered by the company” box in the project descriptions.
Can I apply for multiple projects?
Yes, up to three, but you would need to indicate an order of preference. In addition, you would need to complete a cover letter for each project individually and we strongly recommend that you take the time to write targetted cover letters for each project rather than general summaries of skills and interests.
Your applications will be processed in order of preference. As this programme requires a lot of resources from the business sponsors, each application is processed chronologically so we recommend that you concentrate on one topic.
Are there deadlines for applications?
Not exactly, although applying early may improve your chances of being placed with a sponsor. Applications are sent to sponsors in the order in which they are received, and successful applicants are then contacted by the collaborating organisation for further discussion. This process may take several weeks. Once a student has been successfully placed with a sponsor, that proposal is marked as closed on the website. You are therefore encouraged to apply early to avoid disappointment.