ABE020 | Research and Thesis Design

Course Description

For PhD students, efficient time planning and focussed research are serious challenges when writing their PhD thesis. Apart from being motivated, well-educated and highly knowledgeable, a dissertation demands multiple skills from its author from critical reading to time management. The course is intended to help students develop expertise on how to outline a comprehensive topic, how to interpret diverse textual and visual sources, how to frame a research topic through relevant theoretical and content-based secondary readings, how to assess archival and other primary sources, how to set up a time plan for research and writing, how to structure a thesis in a convincing but also efficient manner and how to communicate with disciplinary and interdisciplinary peers and external audiences. The course’s aim is to support the students finding a smooth start into their work and to successfully finishing their research project within a well-defined timeframe. Methodically, the focus of the course lies on hermeneutical research, field studies and empirical evaluation. A wide range of the skills taught will also be applicable for other approaches to scientific investigations. 

Learning Objectives

The main objective in regard to scientific knowledge (D.1) is to achieve the skill of conducting efficient and innovative research as well as the ability to plan complex research projects. The course is furthermore intended to raise awareness of current trends in academic writing and the need to question their applicability to own research. Thereby it supports the students’ ability to critical thinking (R.2d). In addition, the course aims to support interdisciplinary thinking as it covers a wide range of methods and motivates to overcome unidisciplinary approaches. The discussions and debates are designed to stimulate an effective communication (T.1c,d,e). 

Teaching Method

Lecture and discussion, continuous writing assignments, final portfolio

About the Lecturer(s)/Coach(es)

Carola Hein is Professor and Head of the History of Archtecture and Urban Planning Chair at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely in the field of architectural, urban and planning history and has tied historical analysis to contemporary development. Among other major grants, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue research on The Global Architecture of Oil and an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship to investigate large-scale urban transformation in Hamburg in international context between 1842 and 2008. Her current research interests include the transmission of architectural and urban ideas, focusing specifically on port cities and the global architecture of oil. She has curated Oildam: Rotterdam in the oil era 1862-2016 at Museum Rotterdam. She serves as IPHS Editor for Planning Perspectives and as Asia book review editor for Journal of Urban History.

Herman van Bergeijk studied art and architectural history in Groningen and Venice. He holds a Ph.D. of the State University in Groningen. For many years he worked as a free lancer in Italy, Germany and the U.S.A. Since 1995 he teaches at the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University in Delft and since 1998 is president of the Dudok Foundation. He has published many articles and books on various architectural topics. The last years he has specialized himself in the study of Dutch architecture in the 20th century focusing on the period before the 2nd World War. Currently he is writing a book on the work of A.J. Kropholler. He is an editor of the magazine Eigenbouwer.

Tino Mager is a postdoc at the Chair of History of Architecture and Urban Planning at Delft Technical University. He studied art history and media engineering and received his doctorate at the Technical University of Berlin with an award-winning dissertation on the concept of authenticity in architectural heritage. Tino has lectured at the TU Delft, the Technical University of Berlin and the ITU Istanbul. His main interests are preservation of historical monuments and theory of cultural heritage. In addition, he published on post-war modernist architecture and its preservation, on Japanese architecture and the transnational education of artists in the 19th century. In the scope of the ArchiMediaL project, he is working on the development of methods for the application of artificial intelligence in architectural history research.


11 February 202010:00 - 12:00
17 March 202010:00 - 12:00
21 April 202010:00 - 12:00
19 May 202010:00 - 12:00



How to enroll

Please send an email with your name, mail address, start date, research group and title of your research to abe@tudelft.nl

Course Info

Course code
ABE 020

Course type
PhD course

Number of participants
12 PhD-students from BK or other faculties (e.g. TPM, 3ME and CEG)

Name of lecturer(s)/coach(es)
Carola Hein, Herman van Bergeijk, Tino Mager

Course load
9x2 hours course, 9x2 hours preparation

Graduate School credits

4 GS

Upcoming course dates and times
See schedule