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. 

For whom?

As of 1 January 2014 Doctoral Education is required for all PhD candidates who have their doctoral defence at TU Delft. For 'old-style' PhD candidates and for internal- and external PhD candidates who were registered prior to that date DE is not required, but these candidates are welcome (and encouraged) to take courses. 


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

The 45 GS-Credits are divided equally among these 3 categories:

  • Discipline related skills
  • Research skills
  • Transferable skills

15 GS-Credits
15 GS-Credits
15 GS-Credits

How to obtain credits

In all three categories of Doctoral Education you can obtain credits by taking courses. In the research skills category you can also obtain credits by Learning on the Job.

Learning on the Job

Learning on the Job only applies to the research skills category. It consists of a number of research activities which are part of your PhD research, such as writing a research proposal or giving a presentation. You Should complete 5 - 15 GS-Credits in the research skills category through Learning on the Job. The list of Learning on the Job activities and the credits associated with them is given in the Learning on the Job overview.


Courses can be taken for all three categories of Doctoral Education. For each course you can get a maximum of 5 GS-Credits. Courses can be obtained from a variety of providers. 

TU Delft University Graduate School (UGS)

The UGS offers a number of courses in both the transferable skills category and the research skills category. For the transferable skills category the courses are free of charge for all PhD candidates within the Graduate School. An overview of these courses is available on the transferable skills course overview.
For the research skills courses the UGS charges a fee of €160 per course day. An overview of these courses is available in the research skills course overview

IDE Graduate School (IDE-GS)

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. If you want to stay updated on this course, send an email to
The IDE Graduate School also offers IDE Discipline Related Courses. These courses are based on MSc courses and adjusted to serve the wishes and needs of PhD candidates. The credits for these courses count in the Discipline Related Skills category. Please contact the course coordinators in order to participate in these courses. Note that some courses can only accommodate PhD candidates if their background is suitable and if there is room in the course. More information on these courses can be found in the IDE Discipline Related Courses overview.

MSc courses

Courses from MSc programmes can be used to obtain your Doctoral Education credits. If you participate in a regular MSc course and take the exam, the ECTS of the course are converted to GS-Credits as 1 ECTS = 1 GS-Credit. 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. 

IDE Master Classes

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 courses

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.
For your Doctoral Education programme you can obtain upto a maximum of 10 GS-Credits via online learning (with a maximum of 5 GS-credits per course). 

Other providers

it is also possible to obtain credits at conference workshops, summer schools and courses at other institutions. Due to the fact that these are mostly announced on a short term there is no list of these available on this website. As soon as we are informed about an upcoming summer school or workshop, we will announce it on this page.
If you have found an interesting summer school or course yourself, please let us know on, so we can check if the quality meets the Graduate School requirements and we can share it with the other PhD candidates. 

Planning and keeping track of Doctoral Education

During the PhD Agreement meeting (at 3 months) you should discuss your planning for the courses and Learning on the Job activities you intend to take with your supervisory team. Once this planning is agreed upon you should keep track of your Doctoral Education planning and progress in the Doctoral Monitoring Application (DMA). This planning should be approved in DMA by the supervisory team. 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, after which the supervisory team has to re-approve the adjusted planning and progress.

Credits and registering attended courses

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 the Learning on the Job activities table 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 get 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. Ask your supervisory team for approval of your Doctoral Education programme
  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. If you fulfil all requirements you'll get the Doctoral Education Certificate. If not, you'll be informed on how to proceed. 

DE Guidelines

This document gives you a short summary of the guidelines and rules for Doctoral Education at the faculty of IDE.