Read the stories of our international MSc students at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and discover their experiences of getting used to their new study (and living) environment. Find out their tips to get the most out of the MSc programme or just learn in advance what the best study spots are at the faculty of IDE!
The man, the myth, the legend
Aman Dalal | April 2020
Around 5 years ago, ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ was the book that introduced me to the field of industrial design. Back in the day, I carried it everywhere I went and was amazed by the attention to the details of the world that is offered in each of its chapters.
When I got to meet its author, a superstar in the world of design, psychology, and cognitive science, Don Norman, right here in our own faculty, I was elated.
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As soon as I found out Don was going to be in Delft for the 50th anniversary symposium of our Industrial Design Engineering faculty, I looked for events and adjusted my schedule to make sure I could interact with him. I found a match in a Q&A Session at IDE and I couldn’t be more eager to be inside that hall.
He talked about some of his plethora of experiences and had a fun, insightful story to go along with his answer to every question. When the moment came, not a second passed by before my hand shot up in the air. My question to him was, ‘As a product designer, sometimes the best solution I find to problems and project briefs, is to not design. Do you share this feeling?’
This statement is right at the heart of sustainability and design for the future and has kept me awake on many nights. It questions everything I do and that I am working towards. I was exceedingly curious to hear what he has to say about this.
Norman finally eased into the couch placed in the middle of the stage for him. After a few silent moments, he reiterated Victor Papanek, “This brings us back to Papanek, ‘There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a few’.”
He was referring to the first sentence of Papanek’s book, Design for the Real World. But why would Papanek introduce his very profession with such a negative stance? The reason is pretty clear to me. Design, in any form, has the power to ‘add’ to the world. With this power, comes the responsibility of choosing what to design, what gets made, and what people use. It has the power to create, modify, and control what people demand, and again in turn, what gets created. If you look at this loop and scale it up, this is quite some influence on the world and the way we use our seemingly abundant resources.
Norman carried on, “We blame designers, and that implies we assume that designers have more power than they really do.” He stated the fact that very few designers have the power to decide what should or should not be made. Once the management decides to do something, it is very hard for someone lower in the hierarchy of companies say it is a bad idea. Neither is it difficult for management to find someone else willing to do exactly as they say. Moreover, some things that are bad for the environment are often good for the business, “and that’s evil, that’s wrong.”
“So how do we fix that?”
“Don’t solve the problem you are given. Find out what the real problem is.” The real problem is not that we design things that are bad but that we are asked to do so. And yet we don’t have much power to say no.
“So how do we change that?”
He continues, “One thing we have to do is to get ourselves in a position of power.” We need more designers that are, say, CDOs, CEOs, Managing Directors, not only of small companies but also of large companies.
“However, that’s not enough.” Because we have to change the culture and behavior of people. He gave a practical example of cars. While it is fascinating to have automobiles that go from 0 to 100 in 4 seconds, is that feature something people really use? That’s what people crave and buy, but do they really need it? Will it ruin their lives if it takes them a few seconds longer?
“Maybe people should brag about how slow their car is or that it takes 20 seconds to go from 0 to 100”, because it is indeed more efficient than those superfast cars.
I agree that this is a very specific example and there would be plenty of people on the other side of the argument. But I still believe the time we are living in to be a time to re-think what we really need and should care for. And more importantly, what we should design.
When I took this fresh line of thought to my colleagues at my internship company the next hour, it was welcomed with a healthy discussion. Jiaji Zhao (also IDE IPD graduate) offered his perspective that if industrial designers wouldn’t do their jobs, someone else would do it. And then, we’ll have badly designed products, services, and solutions. Why give away the opportunity of making a difference when we have the ability to do so? This brought us to what IPD majorly focuses on – products and projects that have the possibility of creating real value and making an impact on people’s lives. And that is what I love most about the master course, the quintessence in everything we do.
The 15th day of November was crucial for me as an alignment of my north, reassurance that what I’m working towards and what I’m studying make absolute sense, and I will be ever so grateful to Don Norman and IDE for the same.
Regina Morán | April 2020
For this article, I did a small questionnaire among students at IDE. I collected the answers from students of the three masters at IDE. The aim of this article is to provide you with some tips based on our own experience as students at TU Delft. In the following paragraphs, I share the ones I considered the most interesting and useful. Students answered three main questions; what has been the most surprising aspect of the faculty, what has been the most challenging moment during their studies, and which has been their main learning during their master. Besides, I also add my personal opinion based on my experience.
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What has been the most surprising aspect of the faculty?
I would say, for me, the most surprising thing has been the Delft Design Labs. Our faculty has 10 different labs related to healthcare, cities, museums, entrepreneurship, food, among others. The labs are collaborations between different stakeholders, connecting design science and innovation. Recently, I interviewed a master student who is part of the Critical Alarms Lab, the interview was really interesting. She told me the lab was mentioned at the New York Times last July! You can take a look at the article here.
One student from SPD answered ‘the student support at the university [referring to the service desk]’. The people at the service desk are quite helpful. They can help you to book a room; for instance, if you have a team session or a workshop. Also, you can ask for some equipment like a video camera or voice recorder for your projects. Another student referred to the Wednesdays at ID Kafee. Every Wednesday, you can have some beers with your friends at the student bar, it is a nice place to meet new people, talk to some classmates or even professors. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a nice evening at ID Kafee!
What has been the most challenging moment during your master?
If you come from a different country, it is most likely, that the way of working and the system in the Netherlands is slightly different from your home country. A student from IPD mentioned that it is challenging to adapt to the ‘way of doing things here’. For instance, being self-disciplined without having someone telling you to get things done. You need to organize yourself to be able to manage the workload. Another one could be, the grading system, which might be different from your home country. You might not be aware of those things at the beginning and for me, that was a bit challenging, and sometimes stressful. Therefore, I have some tips that can help you cope with stress.
Of course, the first thing is to plan in advance. However, it is sometimes challenging to keep the rhythm. If you are struggling with the workload, talk to someone. In my case, I have always discussed with my teammates, that is the good part of working with teams. You can support each other and make things work for everyone. You can also talk to your friends, coaches or professors. Besides, the faculty has Academic counsellors, that you can talk to (everything that you discuss with them is confidential) and an e-health webpage with some practical tips.
Which has been your main learning during the master?
Of course, we all have learned valuable things in our masters. However, almost all the respondents agreed that some of the biggest learnings had been personal. An IPD student mentioned ‘I have learned a lot about myself’. You get to know yourself and to be yourself around others. You meet people that accept you by who you are. You discover how capable you are and learn to detect those things or activities that you enjoy the most and that gives you energy. I have learned that is up to me how much I enjoy my master and how much I learn. To have the best experience at TU Delft, I suggest you practice a sport, meet people during Wednesdays, make new friends in the faculty, and all these will make you feel at home!
The master goes by so fast, so a final tip from a DfI student, ‘learn as much as you can, in the end, the biggest benefits are for you’.
Life beyond the faculty
Aman Dalal | April 2020
An important consideration, especially when you are going abroad to study, is the location of your university. Situated in the historic city of Delft, doing a master at IDE comes with the opportunity of having an excellent lifestyle outside of academics.
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If we zoom out on the map a bit, Delft is a very approachable city in the Netherlands. It lies in the province Zuid Holland in the vicinity of cities like The Hague (political capital), Rotterdam (European hub), Gouda (popular for its cheese). These places can be reached in very short train rides or if you fancy, bike rides along scenic routes. The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is only 40 minutes in the train and the capital, Amsterdam, just a bit further North. The central location of Delft is handy if you are looking forward to exploring what the Netherlands has to offer in terms of traveling.
From the outside, Delft is quite a touristy destination, even for the Dutch. It is most famous for its Delftse Blauw (Delft Blue) ceramics (and factory) and its history attached with the father of the nation, Willem van Oranje. In the city center, it is usual to find people exploring the local market, souvenir shops, and enjoying the iconic view from the top of the new church or looking at the fascinating leaning tower of the old church. You can also find them marveling at the remarkable Oostport (Eastern Gate) or one of Delft’s many renowned museums spread throughout the city. Delft is home to just over a hundred thousand people out of which almost 25% are TU students. This makes the city very student-friendly and internationally oriented.
From the inside, Delft can be a satisfyingly peaceful place to live in. It is calm when you need it to be but always welcomes you to go out for events such as museum days, light festivals, music performances, and much more. From a fully-equipped sports center (X TU Delft) to a fantastic university library, you are never too far from what you want to do. A beautiful lake just a short bike ride away from the faculty is the favorite destination among students for barbecues, frisbee, or just a relaxing walk when the sun is out. Perfectly suited for (international) students, every person I’ve ever met in Delft speaks commendable English.
Having been here for over 1.5 years, I can say that Delft is the coziest city I have lived in! My favourite characteristic of the city is its snug size. I like to call it a ‘walking city’ and I love being able to just step out and walk to the university, market, train station, sports center, library, or a café in the city center within minutes. If you live in a less central location, you can still approach all these places by bike in a similar amount of time! Personally, I couldn’t be happier with the biking infrastructure of the country. I am a cycling enthusiast and for people like me, the Netherlands is what one might call ‘heaven’. I crave long rides especially on weekends with good weather. A ride to Scheveningen (famous beach in The Hague) or along the countryside on the way to Zoetermeer has become my tradition for Saturday mornings.
Given all of the above, I reckon Delft as a very exciting place to live as a student. However, it wouldn’t be fair if I give you every detail. I can assure you that there is plenty to explore and a memorable student life awaits you in the Netherlands.
Aman Dalal | November 2019
This article will give you a clear idea of what the master course encapsulates and what you can expect in your 2-year study. The overview is written from my (student) perspective and experience and detailed information can always be found on StudieGids by going to the Programs section.
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Advanced Concept Design (year 1, fall semester):
A project-based course where you work with a company, governmental or social organization (i.e. your client) on a given brief to develop concepts of possible solutions. The first quarter is focused on research and is done with a group of 4-5 students guided by a coach and several experts. The second quarter is primarily individual and involves plenty of ideation, definition, client persuasion, user testing, and some prototyping. The course is composed of sub-courses that have their own lectures and assignments which help move the project further.
Advanced Embodiment Design (year 1, spring semester):
Similar in style to ACD, AED is also a project with a client and the course itself is divided into expertise areas. Both the quarters of this course are group work guided by a coach. Starting from a concept, reaching at least a functional prototype is the goal of every project. The setting of this project is quite similar to a consultancy or in-house design team with added learning attributes.
Other courses (year 1):
Year 1 has still more courses that broaden your knowledge and also let you interact with a lot of students and teachers. One of the courses helps you draw a path for your master program and graduation project, while another helps you deepen your theoretical knowledge about design methodology. A few other courses are over specific topics like sustainability and product innovation. You will also follow a year-long course wherein you attend 14 workshops on topics in the vicinity of design from experts within or outside the faculty.
Moreover, you might also be asked or suggested to follow adaptation courses on drawing, electronics, and ergonomics if you haven’t had such topics in your previous education.
Electives (3rd semester):
This is undoubtedly the most flexible semester of your master program. For both the quarters, you have a multitude of electives offered by our faculty to choose from. The range of their topics is too wide to list in this article. More information can be found on the IDE MSc Electives page.
As a part of your electives, you have the opportunity to do an internship for either 10 weeks full-time or 20 weeks part-time. This can be at a start-up, established company, or organization within or outside The Netherlands. The internship is not only an excellent way to gain industrial experience but also earn 15 ECs to contribute to your electives.
Apart from the internship, you are allowed to take courses outside the faculty as well. The most popular among international students are the Dutch language courses offered by the faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management.
Graduation project (4th semester)
The graduation project is the final step of your master and earns you the closing 30 ECs you require to graduate. There are endless possibilities for the kinds of graduation projects you can do. You can choose to do this project at the faculty or a company of your choice. You will be guided by a chair (supervisor) and mentor from IDE regardless of where you do it. Most students choose to do this project with a subject that they really care about or are wanting to work with in the future. However, you are free to explore new ideas, innovations, and contribute to the research.
Watch the movie, which shows the graduation projects of three (international) students.
To sum this up, I believe the master course to have struck the perfect balance between being structured and flexible, organized yet with plenty of freedom. With this, I wish you the best for fruitful master studies at IDE.
Regina Morán | January 2020
During the first year of my master, I was surprised that in the MSc courses we were already working for companies. One of my first projects was for KLM. Then, I learned about the collaboration between TU Delft and KLM called Design Doing. The aim is to connect employees, researchers and students fostering a culture of design throughout the company. As a student, it is a great opportunity to see the innovation possibilities to design and build design-driven organizations!
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In the project I did for KLM, I worked with three classmates. The assignment was to design a solution to improve the experience of passengers during the flight. We worked during one quarter on the project and had the opportunity to visit the Crew Center and interview some Cabin Attendants. Then, we did the validation of our project on a real plane at TU Delft! Finally, we presented our results at the KLM Headquarters and our project was selected as the best project by the jury from KLM.
Later, I found out that we were not the only ones working for KLM. The collaboration between TU Delft and KLM involves employees, researchers and students, it is called Design Doing. The aim is to deliver knowledge to KLM and have a long-lasting impact on their customers and employees by fostering a culture of design throughout the company. At the same time, TU Delft is able to research and educate students in the KLM practice to learn about the impact of design. This collaboration is present in multiple ways; for example, there is a design elective called X-Lab and there are graduation and internship opportunities you can get to know during the ‘meet and match’ events. Also, some IDE Alumni have being hired at KLM.
Currently, I am part of the Design Doing collaboration because I am working as a student assistant in the Design Doing team, formed by KLM’ers and TU Delft employees. I have had the opportunity to experience and learned about the value of Design Doing. Me and other student assistants were present at the celebration of KLM for their 100 anniversary and at the Dutch Design Week (see Image 1) in a stand where we invited people to design the future of flying. Therefore, Design Doing has external recognition and also has an impact outside TU Delft and KLM. I also helped organize a workshop for students (in the MSc course IDE Academy) where around 60 students went to the KLM Headquarters for a design sprint on three different challenges.
Giulia (student assistant for X-lab) at the Dutch Design Week
I am happy to see how design is present in organizations and to see what the value of designers could be in a big organization as KLM; for example, by improving the experience of passengers or suggesting how to transform KLM into a sustainable company. As a student, it is a great opportunity to see the innovation possibilities to design and build design-driven organizations!
Aman Dalal | January 2020
The faculty of IDE has a long-distance mentor programme. Admitted international MSc applicants preparing for coming to Delft are brought into contact with current MSc students in the same programme. Being a long-distance mentor, I often get questions about IPD from international students. They are usually about what they can expect from the master course and how to prepare the best for it. Here I have summed up the most common ones that can help every future student or applicant understand the curriculum better.
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1) How is the structure of the 2-year master?
The 2 years are clearly divided into 4 semesters. Each semester is further divided into 2 quarters of 10 weeks each. The 1st and 2nd semesters consist of compulsory IPD courses, the 3rd semester is specially dedicated to electives, and the 4th semester is for your graduation project. Each semester accounts for 30 ECs, adding up to the 120 EC master program.
More information about the course structure can be found in my other article, Courses in brief.
2) What is the nature of courses are offered?
Plenty of courses offered in IPD are project-based. Rather than being dry and theoretical, they are practical, involve teamwork and also clients. This is especially true for the first year courses composed of concept and embodiment design projects.
A lot of mandatory as well as optional IDE courses include working in student groups. Knowledge expansion is supported by lectures, workshops, and discussions with experts from the faculty. In most courses, the combination of all these aspects makes sure that students gain theoretical knowledge while also applying it practically.
3) How much freedom do students have in choosing courses?
The courses in the first year are mandatory and your time-table is already defined. You are still free to choose your preferences for the projects you wish to work on within these courses.
The 3rd semester electives (30 ECs) are totally up to you to select. You may opt for pure IPD-related courses or broaden your knowledge by pursuing courses related to other topics. These topics are extensive ranging from design drawing to the business of design consultancies, from using machine learning and electronics for prototyping to in-house team projects with companies. It is also possible to follow courses outside the IDE faculty including Dutch language courses.
The 4th semester graduation project is also free for you to determine. You can choose to work on a topic of your interest at IDE or outside at a company. With all these options in both years, you are quite independent to shape your master the way you want.
4) What do you like the best about the IPD curriculum?
In my opinion, the fact that the courses are made to suit real-life design work is the largest benefit of studying at IDE. The 2 major first-year courses are designed such that students are consulting for real clients (companies or organizations). This quickly teaches you about the interests of stakeholders, client communication, presentations, both methodical and pragmatic approach to design among countless other things that are useful in working outside the faculty. This kind of learning with an experiential component is hugely favourable in developing both your soft and hard design skills, and is what I have gained the most from.
5) How to best prepare before starting the 1st semester?
Reading this FAQ (and other articles) and getting a general idea of what you will do in the 2 years is a good starting point. This way you would know what to expect and not too many things will catch you off guard.
It will be useful to skim through the descriptions of the courses you will study. You can do this on StudieGids by using the Program section.
Another good way to be ready for studying at IDE is to read the celebrated Delft Design Guide. It is a neat reference guide that speaks volumes about the distinguished methodical approach to design at Delft. It will not only be beneficial for your knowledge but also help you quickly adapt to the terminology that is used often here by teachers and students alike.
Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up your sketching, CAD, rendering, and Adobe skills, especially what you haven’t been practicing since a while. You’ll probably use all these at some point in your 1st year and it can only help to be quick at them.
Don’t forget to take some time out to be with your family and enjoy the last weeks at home before you head out for your exciting new journey in Delft.
Regina Morán | November 2019
The Medisign Specialization is meant to form students capable of designing new products and services that answer to current needs and are also future-proof. To be part of the Medisign Specialization, you should be enrolled in one of the masters of the faculty; Integrated Product Design (IPD), Design for Interaction (DfI) or Strategic Product Design (SPD). Among the possibilities, TU Delft has three Design Labs related to healthcare; CardioLab, Critical Alarms Lab and End of Life. Each Design Lab works with different organizations and it is a good opportunity to get deeper into a topic of your preference through a research project. Design in healthcare is expanding worldwide, by choosing the Medisign Specialization you can contribute to improve the healthcare sector.
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The healthcare sector is facing many challenges nowadays, due to global development and societal changes (see Medisign Brochure). Professionals with a creative background are needed to design the future of healthcare. The Medisign Specialization is meant to form students capable of designing new products and services that answer to current needs and are also future-proof. It is designed for master students from Integrated Product Design (IPD), Design for Interaction (DfI) and Strategic Product Design (SPD)* that would like to make a difference in the healthcare sector.
To be part of the Medisign Specialization, you should be enrolled in one of the masters previously mentioned. You do not need to apply for the specialization on advance, you may choose to do it when you have already begun with your studies. One of your projects during your first year of master should be related to healthcare. For example, I am currently doing a project on Value-Based Healthcare in the course of SPD Research (see Picture 1). Then, 9 ECTS of your electives should be focussed on medisign courses; there are different options, like Capita Selecta Medisign, Complex Ergonomics for Complex Systems, Biomechanics, among others. Finally, your graduation project should also be related to healthcare, you can see some projects in the Medisign webpage.
Interviewing a medisign professional
If you are willing to learn more, there are some options beyond the courses. TU Delft has three Design Labs related to healthcare. The three of them work with different organizations and it is a good opportunity to get deeper into a topic of your preference through a research project. The first is the CardioLab, they work collaboratively to explore how smart technologies can reduce cardiovascular diseases. The second is the Critical Alarms Lab (CAL), which focusses on sound in healthcare to shape the future of alarms and soundscapes. And the third one is the End of Life Lab which explores how design could help improve the quality of life in its last stage. If you want to be part of any of these Labs you can contact them to define how could you contribute to the project.
Design in healthcare is expanding worldwide. If you wonder about future possibilities after graduation, here are some examples. In the Netherlands, a well-known company were designers are collaborating is Philips, you can take a look at Philips Design. For smaller organizations, you can check MEDD or Vilans, where some IDE alumni have worked. There are also opportunities in other countries in Europe, some examples are Scope in Finland and The Care Lab in Spain. In case that, there is nothing related to Medisign in your country and you wonder if it would be worth it, I bet it will. You can always take the lead and contribute to improve the healthcare sector.
I final tip would be to talk to people and solve your doubts to enrol in the Medisign Specialization when you have started your MSc in Delft. More information is shared during the Manage Your Master days, at the beginning of the first and the second semester. Also, you can join the Medisign Community on Facebook.
Aman Dalal | November 2019
Internships are a great way to learn and explore your interests while you are still pursuing your master studies. They take you out to the real world, give insights on how things work there, and help build yourself up as a designer. While gaining academic knowledge is one thing, applying this knowledge to an industrial project is a whole different aspect and that is where internships come in handy with the offer of a new perspective without the pressure of making a long term commitment.
Fortunately, at IDE we are allowed to carry out an internship not only in our own time, but are also awarded 15 ECs for it in the elective semester (3rd semester of the master program).
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You can do an internship in the elective semester itself, but another nice option is to start an internship in the summer after your 1st year and finish it earlier. The duration should be either 10 weeks (full time) or 20 weeks (part time) to earn the ECs. The internship is bound to make it easier for you to satisfy your EC requirements as it already accounts for half of the elective semester ECs.
Firstly, you must decide where you would like to do an internship. You can choose to do it in the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world. It is naturally more straightforward to find an internship in the Netherlands as you would be living here, but that shouldn’t restrict you from opportunities abroad.
Secondly, you should think about the kind of a company you would like to intern for. You can map this to your future career and point in that direction or might want to explore a totally new field that you are passionate about. Students generally intern at design consultancies, start-ups, in-house design teams of large corporates, government agencies, etc.
Finally, as you can imagine, finding an internship that fits you is a significant task in itself. At IDE we have several options to help you with it.
The first being the IDE Business Fair which is held in March every year with more than 40 visiting companies and opportunities to get speed-dates as well as talk to employees at their respective stalls. This is an opportunity that should not be missed if you are looking for an internship.
Another major event is De Delftse Bedrijvendagen in February-March in which over 150 companies from all over the country visit to seek interns and employees over the span of a few days. This is not only a great opportunity to network with a wide variety of people but also a place to find an internship in a corporate environment or at a multi-disciplinary company.
The opportunities are not limited to these events but extend to all the places where you can network with executives. This includes lunch lectures and workshops by companies at IDE, open days, YES!Delft events, and even LinkedIn.
Hopefully, with this article gave you enough insight about the opportunities and importance of internships along with your study program. For further details, you can refer to the internship manual on the TU Delft website which provides a complete picture.
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!
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)”.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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.
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!
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!