Master thesis

Graduates with Initiative

Students that write a master thesis at the Operations Research and Logistics (ORL) group have the chance to put their acquired knowledge and skills into practice and further strengthen their research skills. They learn how to conduct a research project and become a specialist in (one of the) central themes of the ORL group. Taking into account the size of the thesis (i.e. the number of ECTS), we together decide about a project which fits best.

Are you interested in exploring a master thesis with ORL, or are you triggered after following (one of) our courses? Do not hesitate to send an e-mail to our thesis coordinator Harmke ( and fill out this intake form. You will be invited to visit one of our plenary intake meetings (which are organized organized bi-weekly).

Research themes

Designing and managing circular food and biobased supply chains

Typical areas we work on are optimizing the supply chain for new food processing opportunities, by-product valorization and optimization, supply chain design for circular business models, forecasting waste flows

Managing disruptions in food and biobased supply chains

Relevant domains here are resilient food supply chain design, planning approaches for supply chain flexibility, supply chain resilience assessment

Dietary optimization and sustainable supply chain design

Here you can think of optimization of diet compositions, effect of protein transition on supply chain design, the tradeoff between dietary choices and sustainable supply chain desig

Not-for-profit supply chain design

Possibilities include food bank network design, donation forecasting, food collection management, food bank menu planning

Supply chain planning to minimize waste

Here some areas are perishable inventory management, cold-chain optimization

Omnichannel retail

For this category you can think of studies related to consumer preferences in relation to supply chain design, demand and stock allocation strategies


Students can explore our availabe thesis topics in ORL Thesis Brightspace. Find us via the discover tab, and enroll yourself. We also allow students to write their own topic proposal. Please contact to discuss your ideas, or meet our coordinator in the walk-in hours.

Personal development

Personal development of our ORL students is leading. Together with the thesis coordinator, you determine the type of thesis that you will conduct. During your master thesis, one of our group’s experts will support you from the start, but it is our sincere belief that most students have to deal with common challenges. To overcome these challenges, we create learning communities for our master students in the form of thesis rings and colloquia. In thesis rings, students get familiar with the process of thesis writing and, via peer reviewing and social discussions, get insights in the progress and challenges of fellow students. In colloquia, students will present their work and have the opportunity to pose questions or to provide (receive) feedback to (from) fellow students. Thesis rings are organized in each new period.

For further information on the master thesis, please check our prerequisites, procedures and examples on the right.


What do I need to know about a master thesis at WUR?

The 'MSc thesis course guide Wageningen University' - which can be downloaded here - explains all important aspects of the trajectory, for instance the compulsory deliverables, supervision arrangements, explanation on thesis delay and so forth.

At ORL, can I write a master thesis with a company?

It is possible to write a thesis with a company, as long as the thesis puts central a research question that is relevant and generic. In such theses, students may e.g. rely on data of the company or treat companies as specific cases in a more general academic problem.

What is the difference between an ORL thesis and an ORL internship?

The difference between a thesis and internship lies within the character of a problem: in a thesis, we expect students to study a problem with a generic character. In an internship, students may also study and solve problems that are specific for one company only. In a thesis, generic problems can be studied relying on companies as 'cases' or as suppliers of specific data.

How can I choose a thesis topic?

Key in selecting a topic is the decision on the methodology that you would like to apply in your thesis. In turn, the methods that you are able to perform decide the types of problems that you are able to address. Also the topic of your thesis is important, since you will be working on it for at least six months. We advise to start looking for a research topic on time. On our ORL Thesis Brightspace, we display a list of available thesis topics and thesis themes, from which students can choose. Note: the ORL Thesis Brightspace is a self-enrolment page, you can find us via the discover tab.
If you are sure about one of the topics, please send an e-mail to

It is also possible to submit your proposal for a self-created topic. In this case, please send an e-mail to to receive further instructions on what is needed for this preliminary proposal. For inspiration, we advise you to visit the publications of our group on our website (and the fingerprints of our staff!), to discover our current projects, to have a look at the examples of master theses, and to join or bi-weekly student colloquium, where students present their research.

How will my thesis be assessed?

The WUR prescribes the assessment criteria for the master thesis in a rubric. You can find this Rubric on the website of Education and Student Affairs here. You can also find our thesis assessment forms there.