PDEng Choice

High-tech companies need professionals who can design and develop complex new products and processes and offer innovative solutions. Instead of a PhD, you may prefer to undertake a Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng), a two-year traineeship offered by a small number of Dutch universities who specialise as universities of technology. Here are some points to consider when deciding whether to apply for a PDEng or not.

What is a PDEng?

The PDEng programs were initiated at the request of the Dutch high-tech industry to encourage a pipeline of future talent. The programs focus on applied technological design in respective engineering fields and develops  individuals  capabilities to work within a professional engineering context. The programs are designed closely with high-tech companies and offer trainees the opportunity to participate in large-scale, interdisciplinary design projects. With this cooperation, PDEng programs provide trainees a valuable experience and network of contacts in industry.

What does a PDEng degree entail?

The PDEng traineeship  is a two-year, full-time post-master program which leads to a Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) degree. Trainees usually require or proceed directly from  an MSc degree and focus on advanced design skills and practical problem solving. Typically, trainees spend the first year receiving cutting edge training, before undertaking an extended placement in industry in their final year. The university is responsible for securing trainee placements in industry. Every endeavour will be made to match trainees preferences with an appropriate industry partner however due to demands some flexibility may be required. During the placement trainees will work on a design project which will be completed by a design report and presentation to the committee existing of academic and industry representatives. Due to the confidential nature of the projects trainees work on, confidentiality agreements are required to be signed by trainees.

What competencies are expected of a PDEng trainee?

To be successful in achieving a PDEng the core competence is to have a mind of designer. By this we mean being creative in solving  problems, or to design solutions you are able to think broader, take a helicopter view and be open to new possibilities.  Through-out the program you will develop your project management skills and communication skills to collaborate with others to develop innovative solutions.

How do I fund my PDEng?

PDEng trainees are employed by the university and salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Where can I obtain a PDEng?

PDEng degrees can currently be obtained at three technical Universities in the Netherlands, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, and University of Twente. For further information, refer to the individual universities.

TU Delft PDEng Programmes

TU Eindhoven PDEng Programmes

UTwente PDEng Programmes

Insight into the PDEng programmes

This informational video, developed by  4TU.School for Technological Design, provides insight into the PDEng programmes. Alumni, trainees and supervisors from industry speak about their experiences.

Video PDEng Programs of 4TU.School for Technological Design

How can I best prepare my PDEng application?

To give yourself the best chance of securing a PDEng position you should:

  • Speak to your professors: ask their opinion about you applying for a PDEng. They may be able to help you identify the best program to apply to.
  • Contact the coordinator of the PDEng program
  • Talk to current cohort members or past PDEng graduates: ask about their experience – what they enjoyed, what they didn’t and what their tips might be.
  • Research the programs that each of the universities are offering
  • Find out about the requirements of the application process and any deadlines
  • In your motivation letter explain how the program can help you and what you see yourself doing on successful completion of the degree.
Need further help?

Still deliberating whether you are willing to commit to a PDEng or not? Request a one-to-one consultation session with a Career Counsellor to understand whether this route is right for you.