Track: Design, Production and Operation

The maritime world increases in complexity; she’s demanding integrators, with knowledge of more than 1 discipline

The Design, Production, and Operation (DPO) track is provided by four research groups, each of which presents abundant possibilities to combine in-depth study of technical topics with either logistics, technical marketing, management, safety and sustainability. These research groups are:

Ship design

A ship is a highly complex object, in which expertise from a multitude of different disciplines needs to be brought together, ranging from stability and strength to energy systems and a proper layout of spaces within a large 3D-object. In particular, ships (and floating offshore structures) designed and built in Europe are highly complex; successful completion of such projects requires enormous effort and coordination.

The Ship Design group focuses on the integration of a great multitude of engineering and design considerations. Students interested should develop an ability to address these many aspects simultaneously, to analyse them and discuss them with professionals in the field of marine technology, and to view these disparate engineering and design matters not as separate aspects of a larger system, but instead as integral elements of a larger whole. The Ship Design group also researches the tools of ship design, including both the use of existing tools and the development of new ones.

Core Courses offered

In this group courses offered are focused on design of complex ships, including the balance between economics, technical aspects and society and on the interesting hydrodynamic aspects of fast ships and special hull forms to achieve high speeds. Other important areas are safety and the management processes associated with the design and construction of ships.

Graduation projects

The majority of master theses are performed either in-house or at national and international ship design firms or shipyards, with ship owners and operators, or within the context of larger (European) projects on the subject of design or on improving the design methods themselves.

Marine Engineering

For ships, especially the complex ones that are built in Western Europe, to fulfil the functions for which they are designed, they must incorporate vast machinery installations. The machinery installations include, but are not limited to, propulsion systems, electrical power supplies, pump-flow systems, and heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

The Marine Engineering group deals with the challenge of designing and integrating the various systems into an efficient overall system. It requires knowledge of the characteristics of the components of systems and the methods to control them, and also requires an understanding of underlying engineering fundamentals. Students interested in the Marine Engineering group should strive to achieve a good combination of in-depth knowledge of these complex systems and the broader knowledge required for successful system integration so essential to marine engineering. Given the large focus on systems, a mechanical engineering background is as much at ease as a maritime engineering background within this group

Core Courses

The Marine Engineering group pays specific attention to diesel engines and gas turbines, the selection of appropriate propulsion systems, auxiliary systems, mechatronics and the modelling, simulation and analysis of the dynamic behaviour of complex systems.

Graduation projects

The master theses are carried out either in-house or, more often, at national and international shipyards, or at sites operated by manufacturers of marine equipment (e.g. propellers or diesel engines) or ship owners/operators, often within the context of larger (European) research projects. Primarily focused on system integration and optimisation, though over a wide variety of detail levels.

Shipping Management

The ultimate goal of a ship is virtually never the technology itself: The ultimate goal of a ship owner is to earn money with the vessel, i.e. the ship owner wants to maximize profit. However, there is a strong relationship between the technical specifications of a ship, its intended operational profile and its ability to earn money.

The Shipping Management group focusses on understanding and quantifying these interrelations, and to optimize the specifications of the ship as well as the way it is used. To do this, extensive knowledge is required of both the technical, commercial and logistical aspects of ships.

Core Courses

The Shipping Management group directs your attention to the business environment, including activities such as the operation of a ship in a competitive environment, project management, related financial and legal issues and logistics. At the same time, students should acquire a fundamental understanding of the technical aspects of ships by means of courses dealing with ship design and the equipment on board modern ships.

Graduation projects

The majority of master theses are carried out with national and international shipping companies, shipyards or banks, and/ or within the context of larger (European) projects. Subjects can range from market research and exploration to designing the best logistical solution for a specific trade.


Ship Production

Ships are highly complex products, which are made up of a large multitude of systems and subsystems. These are in turn all designed and produced by different companies or groups of specialists. Not only is it a major challenge to bring all these technical aspects together into a single product, but the challenge of smoothly and efficiently coordinating these design and engineering processes is further complicated by the fact that many of the parties have their own commercial interests. Lastly new techniques (Additive Manufacturing, Robots, Lean, Modularisation) appear on the market and may overthrow completely how we currently approach ship production.

These challenges do not end with the design of the ship, but continue during its physical production. During all these phases, work is executed under intense time pressure. These issues are at the heart of the field of ship production and, as such, they constitute a major part of what the Ship Production group studies.

Core Courses

The Ship Production group pays specific attention to management of shipbuilding projects and shipyard operations in a competitive environment. Aspects both of process and planning optimisation are core values. Next to that simulation, financing and the interaction between construction and production are valuable subjects for students interested in ship production.

Graduation projects

The majority of master theses are carried out with national and international shipyards, research institutes and the occasional ship owner. Subjects are usually in the field of improving the production, but this can be with a focus on control, physical products, improving estimations made on time and effort required, or increasing/solidifying the position of the company in the market.


Track coordinator DPO

Ir. J.F.J Pruyn
T: +31 15 278 6840
E: j.f.j.pruyn@tudelft.nl
W: www.mt.msc.tudelft.nl