Theory Applied--Experience Tours at the Naval Postgraduate School
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The Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California educates analysts who are fully capable of conducting independent analytical studies of military problems. Significant to this education is an opportunity to apply theory from the classroom to a problem from the real world. Halfway through the two year program, each student is encouraged to participate in a three to six week experience tour at a Department of Defense (DoD) analytical organization. During this tour students obtain hands-on experience working military operations research problems alongside experienced analysts. They also identify a thesis topic for follow-on research when they return to the NPS. Faculty members supervise the students’ thesis research during the remainder of their time in Monterey. The theses are more than just a graduation requirement, some result in publications in refereed journals and most solve pressing problems for the DoD. We recognize that the unique set of circumstances here at NPS makes this all possible but hold strongly to the idea that applied experience is essential to our graduates and that aspects of our program are exportable to civilian universities.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/ited.1120.0094