Honours Programme

Study activities | Regina Morán, April 2019

The Honours Programme gives you the opportunity to focus on a project of your interest and to take an extra challenge beyond the regular courses. It is an opportunity to see your own capabilities and what you need to improve. You get to manage your time and your workload to move forward with your project. You work with a coach that guides you during the project and you get to know other students that are part of the programme. It is an opportunity to put in an extra effort and challenge yourself.

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Before coming to the Netherlands to study my master, I worked at different companies. My last job was supposed to be “cool”; a small innovation consultancy with young people, flexible schedule and our office located in WeWork (co-working space). Despite all those benefits, my colleagues were always late to every meeting, never delivered on time and with few hours of sleep daily. I wondered why they didn’t pay attention to their lives?

When I arrived at TU Delft, during the first days of the master, we had some Manage your Master days. There are three days at the beginning of semester 1 and 2, to get to know all the possibilities we have in the faculty. In one of those lectures, I heard about the Honours Programme at the university. In the programme, you get the possibility to work on a topic of your choice. In my case, I knew right away I wanted to do a project focused on well-being in organizations.

I knew the Honours Programme was about doing an extra project beyond the regular courses, but I wanted to know more. I joined the meeting announced during the Manage your Master days and I read the material available on the web page. After the session, I decided to enrol. I went to a coaching session to receive some guidance for my motivation letter and to define the scope of my topic. Finally, I sent the documents according to the deadlines.

Now I am part of the Honours Programme. I decided to enroll because it is challenging, and it is a way of pushing myself to give something extra during my master. It is a good opportunity to see what my capabilities are and what I need to improve. I need to be good at managing my time and workload. I need to be responsible and define work days to move forward with my project. Besides the personal project, I am also taking the course of Critical Reflection on Technology, which consists of discussion sessions that have helped me learn ways of argumentation. Closer to finishing my project, I will organize a symposium to share my project with other students.

Benefits of being part of the Honours Programme

The benefits of being part of the programme above are that I am coached by a professor that has experience in the field and is guiding me during my project. I have also met other students that are part of the programme, the idea is that we create a community and support each other. And of course, I am doing my research on how co-design could increase well-being in organizations. So, if you have a personal interest and are willing to put in an extra effort in your master, challenge yourself and join the Honours Programme!

Research Possibilities

Study activities | Regina Morán, March 2019

The faculty of IDE at TU Delft is the largest design research institute in the world with 100 design researchers and 120 PhDs. I interviewed professor Pieter Jan Stappers, director of Research, to know more about it. According to Professor Stappers, “there are plenty of opportunities to find and discover people with research expertise on a particular topic”. In general, the faculty focuses on three societal challenges, sustainability, health and mobility. So, if you are willing to learn more about design research, TU Delft is the right place for you!

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This year, during the first days of the semester (Manage your Master days), we had a Research Day. For me, it was enriching to get to know the research possibilities we have in the faculty. For this reason, I decided to interview Professor Pieter Jan Stappers, director of Research at IDE, to share with you the options we have at TU Delft. Here is a summary of what he shared with me:

During the research day, you mentioned that TU Delft is the largest design research institute. In which sense it is the largest?
“We have 100 design researchers doing research that particularly supports design or creates new ways of doing design. Other leading design schools in the world, have 20 or 60 students. Also, at the faculty of IDE we have 120 PhD students who do research, so if you are looking for a particular piece of expertise we have a lot. And I hear often from visiting researchers that sometimes come for an exchange; "Oh my God! for every topic you have an expert. When I go back to my own school we have six researchers." They cannot carry all the expertise. So, I think that is unique about Delft. We have so many different approaches, many different ways of working.”

You also mentioned that the main themes of the faculty are health, sustainability, and mobility. Why did you decide to focus on those 3 themes?
“There are three societal challenges that we are focusing on, sustainability, health and mobility. Those are three issues that are considered urgent in the United Nations, Europe, and the Netherlands. We also have disciplinary perspectives. Those are the perspectives of the departments according to the backgrounds of the people (psychology, sociology, technology, etc.). We say designers bring together the multidisciplinary perspectives of people, technology and organizations; but health, sustainability and mobility are what people ask for. The challenges are the market pull and the other three are the disciplinary push with the knowledge from different areas. The pull is what society needs. (Figure 1)”.

Market Pull and Disciplinary Push

What do students need to do or who do they need to approach in case they want to know more?
In the master program, there are plenty of opportunities to find and discover people with research expertise. Number one, gossip; talk to other students. Probably they have met someone in a course and they know about a specific topic. Of course, there is the website (IDE Research) and the advertisements that we have on the wall. Also, one of the places where you can find some enthusiastic group of researchers is in the Delft Design Labs. I would suggest students to take a look at the opportunities that are already there in the courses. Many of the projects have research components and have opportunities to get in contact with researchers and experts who know a lot of things that might be a connection for them.

I hope this article gives you an overview of the research possibilities in the faculty. If you are willing to learn more about design research, TU Delft is the right place for you!

Study Associations: The Sweet Spot

Study activities | Marianne Langrand, April 2019

Delft might seem like a small town, but you will be surprised when you discover all the activities that you can do in and out of the University. I assure you that you won’t even have the time to do everything you want, you will have to choose from all the great opportunities there are! There are many possibilities to complement your studies with extracurricular activities, like study associations, research projects, part-time jobs… you name it. But how do you choose?

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Do your research to learn about all the possibilities, and choose what you want to do. Talk to people, research online, talk to academic counselors, and ask your teachers. Don’t worry too much about your final choices, since every experience will be very valuable during your time in Delft. 

During my studies here I’ve tried to find a balance between academic and non-academic activities that will be positive for both my professional and personal growth. Joining study associations has offered me the sweet spot.

I am part of the Latin American Association of Delft (LATITUD) as Media Manager. I initially joined because I wanted to improve my graphic design and marketing skills, as well as acquire soft skills that my Master courses don’t offer me. However I discovered much more than just that. I have met people from everywhere around the world who are looking for every opportunity there is to learn and contribute.

There are many different types of associations that you can join: Sports & culture associations, international associations, Dutch associations, and the study associations of your faculty.

The ID Study Association has various committees that you can join for a semester or a year, as well as many activities in which you can participate. There is also one study association for every Master programme: Futury (Integrated Product Design), Infuse (Design for Interaction), and Studio 360 (Strategic Product Design). 

These committees that are part of the faculty are a great opportunity to complement your studies. It is a chance to organize and participate cases in companies, be in contact with different companies, and get different perspectives of what you want for your professional future. This was something I took with me after being in the organizing team of Cases on Tour (one of the committees).

What I find most special about being part of a study association is that you will find yourself in a highly proactive environment, with people who are there because they want to, and are taking all the opportunities they find to learn, discover new things, and meet new people. You have a chance to share your own ideas, passions and goals with other people, and go after them together!

Say YES!Delft

Study activities | Aman Dalal, February 2019

The faculty of Industrial Design Engineering has a lot to offer in the master courses. However, some of us like to push for the extra mile and engage in pursuits outside academia. If you’re such a person, have an entrepreneurial mindset, or just want to experience the start-up culture in Delft and get a feel for how everything works, say yes to YES!Delft.

As lively as the name sounds, YES!Delft is TU Delft’s own start-up incubator with over 70 exciting and energetic companies founded by graduates with big ideas. The facilities, events, investors, associations, and innovation make YES!Delft a leading tech-incubator not only in the Netherlands, but in Europe.

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YES!Delft has a diverse portfolio of companies that ranges from Robotics to Blockchain, from MedTech to Aviation and is by far the largest physical tech-startup community in the country. It is likely that you would find multiple companies here working in an area of your interest.

Since 2005, YES!Delft has helped over 200 companies grow their ideas and businesses from paper to revenue. They not only provide office spaces, prototyping labs, conference rooms etc. but also guide start-ups along their way up with coaches, mentors, investors, and potential partners.

Building connections during your graduate studies is an important asset that could be very valuable for your future and YES!Delft is a perfect place to start working on it. Start-up events, discovery days, coaching events, and a lot more takes place on a weekly basis to help companies learn, network, and grow. It is fantastic place to find an internship during the break or if you have a great idea, to build your own company after you graduate.

The best part is, all this wonderful innovation is taking place right in our campus, only a 10-minute bike ride from the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering! For more information about the amazing work being done there, head over to yesdelft.com or watch this video:

Our Creative Environment

Study activities | Marianne Langrand, November 2018

The IO (Industrieel Ontwerpen - Industrial Design Engineering) faculty is the place to get inspired, have fun, and develop your design projects. It is a big open space full of design students working all around in teams or by themselves.

The IO faculty was designed for creative minds; we have the freedom to work and play wherever and however we want. The experience of working here is really special for design students because it offers a broad variety of open and closed spaces to get the best designer out of us.

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Depending on our mood and the type of work we have to do, we might have changing needs related to the creative environment.

Designers need noise, silence, music, order,
chaos, colors, post-its, people, whiteboards,
conversations, inspiration, feedback, light,
nature, space, coffee, laughter, stillness,
inspiration, and movement.

There is a creative flow going on at all times at IDE. In this friendly atmosphere it is all about sharing, and you can be a part of everyone’s work. You can see what other design students are working on, test prototypes, and give and receive feedback. However if you need to focus, you can also find your ideal working spot and spend the whole day in your own bubble.

Here is an overview of my favourite spots inside our beloved faculty.

Main Hall Couches

The couches are closed, small, cozy couches ideal for teams of four or five people. Be careful because you might get too comfortable and want to sleep instead of work!

Main Hall Tables

Open spaces are available at all times at the IO faculty. Just find a spot, sit and work in the company of other students! There are also whiteboards that you can use for brainstorming, and temporary exhibitions of other students’ works that can inspire you during your breaks.

JMP Studios

These are closed, small, cozy spaces where teams can meet regularly and use the space and tools to brainstorm. However you must check for availability since they are reserved for some course projects at times!

Further recommendations: If you need to work on a paper or study, you can go to the Library, which is just 5 minutes away by foot from our faculty. There is also a very warm atmosphere in the Pulse building next to our faculty.

The IO faculty thinks about you and your creative needs. The space adapts to you and not the other way around. You will find many different corners and spots to get inspired, do creative play or academic work, and even rest. It is a place to develop your creative self and share with your designer friends.

Experiential Learning

Study activities | Regina Morán, December 2018

The Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering is formed by students all over the world. We all come from different backgrounds and the way in which we were taught at our previous university might be different from the way of teaching at TU Delft. Here at the university, you will learn by experiencing and by putting your knowledge into practice. It is your decision how involved you want to get in every project. I am positive that in the past months at TU Delft I have been able to learn more than I could have imagined.

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The students at the IDE (Industrial Design Engineering) faculty come from different backgrounds. A high number studied their bachelor in Delft, but there are other ones who studied in Eindhoven or other cities in the Netherlands. Or as it is my case, I traveled all the way from Mexico to come to study in Delft. I have classmates from Indonesia, Colombia, India, Denmark, Greece, and many other countries. Currently, 38% of the students in the MSc programmes are international. If you are curious to check the nationalities in the faculty from previous years, you can check the Student Population in TU Delft.

So, why is it relevant that we all have different backgrounds? I think that the way of learning and the way we have been taught in our previous university might be different from the way of teaching at TU Delft. How I call the way of teaching in the faculty is “Experiential learning”, you need to put all your knowledge into practice and experience it. You will have an assigned project and you will have some lectures that will help you prepare for the case, but you won't get a guide for how to do things. You need to try, to dare, and to suggest innovative solutions. During my first two quarters, I have already worked in projects for important companies such as Vanderlande and KLM; and it has been very enriching.

To help you a bit with your first projects, I have some tips for you. Whenever you go to a lecture you need to be ready, meaning that you should read the Lecture Manual on advanced, and probably there will be a paper to read before the lecture (check Brightspace; ask a friend if you don't know how to use it). Professors provide the material that you need, like slides, papers, books, and references. Make the best use of those documents, they will help you as tips or guidelines for your projects. You will have constant sessions with your coaches; be prepared for every session, write down your main concerns, they are always willing to help. A coach suggested us, that we should always choose three main questions to guide the conversation. In case you need extra help, you can ask them for extra coaching sessions. Also, learn from your classmates, we organized some sessions with other teams to share what everyone had been doing, and it was useful to see different approaches to the same problem. Working in teams is also very common in the faculty (Picture 1), so if you want to know more about it you can read the story about Studying in a Dutch environment.

What I can tell you about the way of teaching at TU Delft is that it is very different from what I was used to, back at home. Despite the differences, I am positive that in the past months I have been able to learn more than I could have imagined. It is just that by putting your knowledge into practice you personally experience each stage of your project, and experience is not a thing that books can teach you. I am also impressed by how much do the coaches know, so I am trying to read all the papers that they suggest and dive a bit more into the topics I am interested in. A good thing about studying a master at TU Delft is that you can shape it the way you want and focus on the topics you like the most. So my suggestion would be, enjoy and get ready to learn as much as you want!

An Introduction to the Language

Living in the Netherlands | Aman Dalal, December 2018

Do you really need to learn Dutch to live in Delft? The opinion shared by most students is, “Not at all. Everyone here speaks English so well!”

While that is very true, some of us have a different mindset. If you’ve decided to hop on for a two year long journey to the Netherlands, learning some survival Dutch couldn’t harm. I will take you through what Dutch looks like. Shall we beginnen?

(That’s not a typo. Quite naturally, beginnen means to begin. Many Dutch words are very similar to their English counterparts and if you speak the latter, it wouldn’t take long to understand the former.)

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To keep the pronunciations simple for now, replace every Dutch ‘j’ with an English ‘y’ and every Dutch ‘g’ with an English ‘kkkhhh’. Wait. That’s not like anything in English, you say. Well, yes, you might have to produce a few unfamiliar sounds and really work your throat out if you want to speak Dutch!

In our pursuit to get a feel of the language, let’s go on a short trip to the supermarket or de supermarkt.

Welkom – The supermarkt welcomes you inside!

Vruchten  – Did you come here looking for fruits?

Soep – Why not also make some soup tonight because it is getting pretty koud (cold) outside.

Groenten – For your soep, you definitely need to buy some vegetables. Groenten literally comes from groen which means green.

Bon? – Quickly say ja (yes) or nee (no)! At the check-out counter, the cashier will put up this question and stare you in the eyes and you’ll be wondering if you did something terribly wrong. No, you didn’t, but would you like the receipt?

Alsjeblieft – If you said yes, you’ll be greeted with your receipt, a smile, and this incredibly pleasant sounding word. It means here you go but is also a common replacement for please.

Dank je wel – When you get the receipt, this is the right way to say thank you.

Fijne avond – Don’t forget to wish the cashier lady a fine evening before you depart.

Uitgang – Looking for the exit? Just look for the uitgang. Literally, uit means out and ga means to go. Like this, many Dutch words match their English counterparts but are spelt and pronounced slightly differently.

Let op! – Going back home? Watch out! A bike could hit you from any direction.

Hope you enjoyed our little trip. Though Dutch is known to be a difficult language to learn, I find the basics easy to grasp because of its similarity to English.

To start with, Duolingo and LearnDutch.org are great resources to get a grip on to the feeling of the language, the basic phrases, pronunciations, and some vocabulary. Doing this for a month before coming to Delft enabled me to order a coffee and ask for directions in Dutch on my first day here!

If you’re interested to immerse yourself in the language even further, joining the free Dutch courses offered by the TPM faculty would be a good idea. Until then, tot ziens!