George Mason University
OR 680 / SYST 798
Project Course in Operations Research and Systems Engineering

Karla Hoffman

Systems Engineering and Operations Research
George Mason University


Spring 2004


Course Description: OR 680 / SYST 798 is the capstone course of the Master’s degree program both in Operations Research and in Systems Engineering. Students should take this course at the end of their degree program. The primary activity is completion of a major applied project, utilizing material learned from a large number of previous courses. In addition, the course will taught in a seminar style with readings from the OR and Systems literature.  Discussions related to all aspects of professional life (advancing in your career, ethics, importance of oral and written communication skills, changing industries, networking, etc) will take place. 

In the first or second week of class, each student will give a 10-15 minute presentation on a project idea. Students will then select the most promising ideas as projects and will organize themselves into groups. Each group will have 3-4 students. Different groups will work on different projects. Students from different degree programs may work jointly on a project, but students’ contribution to their project must reflect their individual areas of studies. Students are encouraged to use ideas from work as a basis for a project. However, the project must be separate from work. In other words, students cannot be paid for working on their project. The project must be in addition to employment. As part of their work, each group will establish and maintain a web page describing their project. Each group will submit a final report at the end of the semester. In addition, each group will give final presentations to the department faculty. Part of each student’s grade will be based on the evaluation by the faculty. Finally, there will be interim reports

and presentations due throughout the semester.



Class Hours:              Tuesday 7:20 – 10:00 pm, Krug Hall 253

Pre-requisites:            OR 541, 542 and the completion of 24 credits toward graduation

Instructor:                  Karla Hoffman

703-993-1679, 703-993-1670 (dept office), 703-003-1521 (fax)

Science & Tech II, room 119

Office hours: Tuesdays 4:30-6:10p.m.




VBA for Modelers: Developing Decision Support Systems Using Management Science by S. Christian Albright

ISBN: 0534380123
: Paperback, 576pp
Pub. Date: January 2001

2. Leadership Rudolph W. Giuliani, Ken Kurson   (do not need to buy – can be taken out of local library)

ISBN: 0786868414
: Hardcover, 432pp
Pub. Date: October 2002

Publisher: Miramax Books
Edition Number: 1



Student Evaluation Criteria:

Itermediate and Final report 35%

Final presentation 25% (including review by the faculty)

Web page 10%

Class participation 20%

Project associated with using VBA 10%


Current Schedule (Updated 1/05/04)

Tues. Jan 20

Course introduction
Student proposals

Tues. Jan 27

Student proposals
Formation of groups

Tues. Feb. 3

Discussion on Professionalism/Ethics

Tues. Feb. 10

Presentation on using VBA

Tues. Feb. 17

Preliminary presentations
Preliminary reports due

Tues. Feb. 24

Individual meetings with groups

Tues. Mar. 2

Discussion on Leadership

Tues. Mar. 9

Spring Break

Tues. Mar. 16

Interim presentations
Project web page due

Tues. Mar. 23

Interim presentations
Interim reports due

Tues. Apr 6

Individual meetings with groups

Tues. Apr. 13

Dr. Hoffman traveling – groups meet

Tues. Apr. 20

Near-final presentations

Week of April 27th

Set up individual reviews with groups

Tues. May 4

Final reports due
Final web pages due

Final  Presentations to Class

Fri. May 7th

Final Presentations
(1:30 - 4:00)

Tues. May. 11

Revised final reports due
Revised final web pages due