Structure of the curriculum

General Graduate School guidelines

The curriculum has been developed according to the guidelines of the TU/e Graduate School. The most important guidelines are:

  • The main design assignment has a study load of at least 45 EC's; in total, the design assignments amount to at least 60 EC's.
  • The course-oriented part of the curriculum amounts to 45 - 60 EC's and consists to a considerable extent of common/group projects.
  • The curriculum is individually tailored and includes at least 15 EC's of electives / free space at the post-master level.
  • Design skills, disciplinary knowledge, and professional skills each account for at least 10 EC's.

Appendix A shows that all guidelines have been met.

Structure of the HSI program

The HSI program consists of three major parts: courses, design cases and a design project. The figure below shows an overview of the curriculum. The intensity of the color indicates the relative weight of each category, which is flexible and will vary per trainee.


Courses (core and electives)

The focus of the course work will be during the first year. However, according to the need of the design project, trainees may decide to take some courses in the second year. Most courses will be scheduled once a year.

Courses consist of core courses and electives. The core courses address design skills, disciplinary knowledge, and professional skills. Design skills include systems thinking and engineering methods, creative design thinking, user centered and data driven practices, prototyping and evaluation. In the disciplinary courses, trainees develop knowledge of and skills in research methodologies, Data science, Machine Learning, and AI. Professional skills pertain to Professional Writing, Project Management and Leadership, AI Ethics, and Scientific Integrity.

Typically, trainees choose the electives based on their background and experiences, their personal development goals, and according to the needs of the design project. Electives include topics such as Business Models and Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Design of Experiments.

Design cases

During the program, the trainees will also work on at least two design cases, in parallel to other training activities. Trainees may opt to take a third design case by way of elective. In the design cases, trainees will work in groups with other EngD trainees, or in a mixed team of different levels (with PhD and Master students). The design cases will be hosted by the research groups in squads. Unlike the individual design project, in design cases trainees will be working in a team under close supervision in the university, following a guided user centered design approach, putting theory to practice, contributing to research and aiming for innovation.

Design project

The trainees will be recruited according to the need of industry and they will start working on the design project in close cooperation with or in the context of the industry throughout the program, but more intensively in their second year. The design project has a study load of 60 – 75 EC’s. The normal study load is 60 EC’s, but this can be extended if the character of the design project requires it.

In the design project, the trainee will be working independently under the supervision of a company supervisor who has a sufficient academic education (master’s degree or above), or more than 10 years of professional experience (preferably both). Such a project shall be a real world challenge raised by industry that needs to be addressed with systems thinking, design thinking and business innovation, applying scientific knowledge, engineering and design skills in a professional manner. The trainee will be contributing to established organization practices, learning “real life” practice, dealing with project constraints, and contributing to business aims. The design project will also be overseen by the trainee’s scientific supervisor, to safeguard the academic quality of the work, and also to provide advice and input for the project.