PhD Programme

Join our programme, based on a mix of your research and Doctoral Education; broadening your skills from firmly discipline-related to transferable (personal) skills. We expect you to complete this programme within four years.

Doctoral education

Within the Doctoral Education, you are required to obtain 45 Graduate School Credits. Your study load is 15 GS credits a year, considering your final year will be spent on completing your thesis. Aerospace Engineering and the University Graduate School offer you the possibility to obtain these credits through specific courses and through research-related on-the-job activities. The introduction course and the career-orientation course are mandatory. You can choose the other courses at your discretion, in consultation with your supervisors.   

Reading guide PhD Development Cycle Faculty AE

In order to guarantee the quality of the PhD process and to increase the PhD pass rate, TU Delft has implemented certain measures, including a tailor-made PhD Development Cycle (4 years). This evaluation cycle is better suited to the nature of the PhD process than the R&D cycle and is mandatory for all PhD candidates at TU Delft. The proposed cycle commences on the first day of the PhD period and consists of 6 sections:

1) PhD agreement (within 3 months, obligatory)

A PhD agreement is drawn up within the first 3 months of the PhD period.
Attendants to the meeting: PhD candidate, daily supervisor, promotor.

2) 6 months PhD progress meeting ( in month 6, obligatory)

In month 6 from the start of the PhD period, a progress meeting is held with the promotor, the daily supervisor and the PhD candidate.

3) Go/No go meeting ( in month 9, obligatory)

Attendants to the meeting: promotor, daily supervisor and PhD candidate + external(s).

In month 8 there will be a reminder from the GSAE.

4) Yearly Progress Meeting (after 24 months, obligatory)

Attendants to the meeting: PhD candidate, daily supervisor, promotor.

5) Yearly Progress Meeting (after 36 months, obligatory)

In this meeting, attention is paid explicitly to the schedule for writing the PhD dissertation and transferring knowledge accumulated during the PhD period, and to the next step in the career.
Attendants to the meeting: PhD candidate, daily supervisor, promotor.

6) Exit Survey/Exit interview

After the end of the PhD program the PhD candidate will get an exit survey format (under construction) from the University  Graduate School. In case of interim termination the PhD candidate will be invited by the HR advisor for an exit interview. During the survey or the interview attention is paid to the experiences gained during the PhD period.

A more detailed description of the progress meetings in month 6 and after  24  and  36 months is given below.

Proces 6 months PhD process meeting (in month 6)

To evaluate the start en the progress of the PhD and to prepare the Go/No Go meeting, there is a progress meeting in month 6.  The PhD candidate, the daily supervisor(s) and the promotor(s) are all present at this meeting. This meeting will be held with all PhD candidates (included the scholarship and contract PhD) who have the appointment to graduate (in 4 years).

The reminder to schedule this meeting comes from the Graduate School AE in month 5. To support the meeting there is a format which also serves as a meeting report.

Yearly Progress Meetings (after 24 and after 36 months)In order to reflect on the results that have been achieved (in relation to the agreements set down in the PhD agreement) and to set objectives for the future, progress meetings are held at the end of the second year and at the end of the third year.

The PhD candidate, the daily supervisor(s) and the promotor(s) are all present at the progress meetings. These meetings are held with all PhD candidates. The HR advisor can be invited (by one of the parties, if desired) to take part in the progress meeting. These meetings are scheduled by the promotor, and should take place before the DMA system’s due date.

Preparations for Yearly Progress Meeting

In preparation for the Yearly Progress Meeting, the PhD candidate is asked to submit the GS Progress Meeting Form, including the following attachments in good time (at least two weeks in advance).

1.    Format free: an overview of the results achieved in the area of research and other tasks performed over the past year.

2.    Format free project plan: goals for the coming year, including a timetable and the expected academic results (such as papers and dissertation chapters).

3.    A print of the updated version of the Doctoral Education overview from DMA.

In the self-reflection section, the PhD candidate describes what he/she thinks of the results achieved (what went well, what could have gone better, which obstacles did they face, how were they overcome, etc.). In the additional comments about the process attention could be paid to the supervision, mentoring, support from the Graduate School, Doctoral Education, etc.

Progress Meeting Agenda:

At least the following subjects must be discussed at a progress meeting:

·        Evaluation and feedback on development (including feedback provided at previous meetings)

·        State of development based on competences (personal development) and Doctoral Education

·        New agreements and planning for the coming period

·        Future plans and feedback on supervision

Follow-up steps

The agreements made during the progress meeting for the coming year, on which competences the candidate will work on and any other relevant remarks will be entered on the form by the daily supervisor, the promotor and the PhD candidate, which is then immediately signed by each of them. After this, the PhD candidate modifies the PhD agreement and the schedule in DMA, so that the daily supervisor and/or promotor can then approve them in DMA.

The daily supervisor (or promotor), in conjunction with the Management Assistant of the section, then ensures that the completed GS Progress Meeting Form, with the 2 annexes, is scanned and sent to and the hardcopy is handed to HR who takes care of the further processing and approval by the Chairman of the Department. The GSAE office monitors the process and uploads a scan of the form into the DMA system. The original Progress Meeting Form is filed in the personnel file by the faculty HR secretariat.

Annual meeting at management level

PhD candidates of the Graduate School will participate in the regularly R&D cycle of their department.

Supervision team

Your supervision team will consist of a TU Delft professor and a daily supervisor (Code of good practice). The professor is your main supervisor and promotor.


  • Mentor Pieter Visser for department AWEP
  • Mentor Bas van Oudheusden for department C&O
  • Mentor Jacco Hoekstra for department ASM
  • Mentor Pim Groen for department SpE


Prof.dr. Stefan Hickel, director

Geeta van der Zaken, assistant