Doctoral Education

The TU Delft requires all PhD candidates in the Graduate School to not only develop their research skills through their research project, but to also work on their personal and professional skills with the Doctoral Education (DE) programme. 

Skill categories

As a PhD candidate you are required to complete the Doctoral Education programme to an amount of 45 GS-Credits (1 GS-Credit = 8 hours of coursework + 4 hours of preparation/assignment). The Doctoral Education programme is divided into three skill categories:

Discipline related skills (15 GS credits)

The discipline related skills category focuses on giving you a greater breadth and depth of knowledge in the field of your doctoral research.

Research skills (15 GS credits)

The focus of the research skills category is to improve your ability to conduct scientific research, and improve your skills needed for a role as a researcher in an academic environment.

Transferable skills (15 GS credits)

The transferable skills category focuses on personal and professional development, which will help you now and in your future career.

More information about the Doctoral Education programme can be found here.



The UGS offers a number of courses in both the transferable skills category and the research skills category. An overview of available courses can be found in the Course Guide.

The IDE Graduate School offers the following IDE discipline related courses/activities:

  • IDE Research Course
    The IDE Graduate School has developed her own PhD course in the 'Discipline' related skills area, the IDE Research Course, which is mandatory for all IDE PhD candidates. More information on this course is available at the IDE Research Course page.
  • PhD colloquia
    About 4 times a year the IDE PhD Council organises a colloquium to give PhD candidates of the IDE faculty the opportunity to share their work and get to know each other. The aim is to have 2 presenters from each department who will present an overall impression of their work or a more specific project he/she is currently working on. The presentations take 5-10 minutes and are followed by a 5-minute Q&A. For presenters it’s a great opportunity to practice their presentation, to get some feedback, or to start some nice discussions with your peers. For attendees it’s a nice opportunity to meet their peers, learn about the interesting work they are doing and to participate in interesting discussions.
    Presenters can obtain 1 GS credit for ‘addressing a small audience’ (learning on the job activity) and attendees can obtain 0.5 GS credits per two colloquia (max. 2.5 GS credits). Please use this form to register your attendance and to claim the GS credits.
    The next PhD colloquium is scheduled for June 14, 2023
  • PhD day
    PhD Day is an annual day organized by the IDE PhD Council for all IDE PhD candidates. Participants connect, network and share research interests. The day is filled with activities like workshops, talks and group sessions, and is a great opportunity for students to get to know each other and their field of work. Participants can obtain 1 GS Credit once. In 2023 the PhD day took place on the 10th of May.
  • Data Processing and Analytics in IDE Research NEW
    (runs once a year in Q4)
  • Research through Design NEW
    (runs in Q4, 2023)
  • Reading seminar on Design and Socio-Cultural Theory
    (runs year-round, every 3-4 weeks)
  • Masterclass ‘Writing a journal paper in the field of human experience’
    (runs once every 2 years (2022, 2024, ...), for 5-6 months, depending on expressed interest. Usually starting September/October. The 2022 edition started in October. Registration closed October 1st.)
  • Conference and Reviewing Skills in Contextual Design (CRS)
    (runs 1st period (September) until end January)
  • Product Experience (PE)
    (runs 3rd/4th period, starts February)
  • Capita User - Product Interaction (CUPI)
    (runs 1st period (September) until end January)
  • Evaluating Design from User - Product Interaction Theory (EDUPIT)
    (runs 1st period (September) until end January)

More information on these courses can be found in the IDE Discipline Related Courses overview.

It is also possible to obtain discipline related skills by following courses at another faculty. For instance, the 3mE course ‘Structuring your design-oriented PhD project'. Please read the course description to make sure the course is open for all PhD candidates. 

Courses from MSc programmes can be used to obtain your Doctoral Education credits. For the 'Research-' and 'Discipline-' related skills there are MSc courses and electives available at the faculty of IDE. An overview of these courses can be found in the online study guide. Furthermore there are also other universities around the world who offer relevant MSc courses. Please contact to check if the quality of the institution meets the Graduate School requirements. 

Within the faculty of IDE a series of 2-day Master Classes is developed for design professionals. The Master Classes are given by top lecturers or alumni from the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, across a variety of disciplines of the design field. These can very well be used to obtain your Doctoral Education credits. More information on these Master Classes can be found on the IDE MC page

Online providers such as EdX and Udacity offer MOOCs and other online courses. At EdX you can take the Delft Design Approach, Circular Economy or Design Practice in Business course developed by members of our own faculty for example.There is also an self-study course on statistics on Brightspace, that has proven to be useful for some PhD candidates – but please note that this course is not rewarded with GS credits. Please contact Manon Borgstijn for access.

It is also possible to obtain credits at conference workshops that have the objective of knowledge transfer or teaching, summer schools and courses at other institutions such as


Learning on the Job

At the IDE Faculty learning on the Job only applies to the Research Skills category. The list of Learning on the Job activities and the credits associated with them can be found on this page (intranet).


Mandatory components

The following courses are a mandatory component of Doctoral Education for all IDE PhD candidates:

  • IDE Research Course (discipline related skills category)
  • PhD Start Up (transferable skills category)
  • Career Development Course (1 GS credit) (transferable skills category)
  • Learning on the Job (5 GS credits) (research skills category)


Planning and keeping track of Doctoral Education

During the PhD Agreement meeting (at 3 months) you should discuss a first outline of the Doctoral Education you intend to fulfill with your supervisory team. You should keep track of your Doctoral Education planning and progress in the Doctoral Monitoring Application (DMA). As this planning is subject to change and courses will be completed, the PhD candidate is requested to update DMA after each mandatory progress meeting.


Credits and registration

In order for you to obtain credits for attending a course you have to get this course attendance form signed by the lecturer of the course (this also applies to MSc courses). If you receive an official certificate for the course you have followed, you may also use this as your proof of participation. For online courses for which you don't receive a certificate you can use this online course attendance form. This proof of participation has to be uploaded in DMA in order for you to obtain credits for the course.

Learning on the Job
For Learning on the Job activities there is no need for a course attendance form. The requirement here is that you choose these Learning on the Job activities in agreement with your supervisors. Please refer to this page for an overview of activities which qualify for Learning on the Job and the amount of credits you can receive for these activities. 


Obtaining the Doctoral Education Certificate

When you have finished your Doctoral Education, you have to apply for the Doctoral Education Certificate (which you need in order to set a date for your Doctoral Defence Ceremony). The process of applying for the Doctoral Education Certificate is as follows:

  1. Make sure all your courses and Learning on the Job activities are registered in DMA correctly (for the courses make sure you have uploaded the course attendance forms as well)
  2. Check if you have met all requirements as stated in 'Doctoral Education Requirements, Conditions & Costs'. This document can be found on this intranet page.
  3. Send an email to asking for a final check of your Doctoral Education programme
  4. The IDE Graduate School checks your Doctoral Education programme and will ask the approval of your supervisor(s) and of the IDE DE programme coordinator.
    If you fulfil all requirements you'll get the Doctoral Education Certificate. If not, you'll be informed on how to proceed. 

It is our experience that the DE check can take some time as adjustments are often required. Therefore, we advise you to request this check about 6 months prior to your defence.
Please note that without approval of your DE programme it is not possible to set a date for your defence.