Academic perspectives


A PDEng program is on par with a PhD program. The difference is their focus: a PhD is aimed to establish you as an independent researcher and a PDEng prepares you for a high-level position in industry. A PDEng program is a challenging, balanced combination of theory and practice.

PDEng degree programs 

After obtaining your master’s degree, you can join one of our two-year technological designer programs. During the two-year Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) program, you will improve your technological knowledge and learn to apply it in the field.

The first year, you will take advanced courses to learn complex design and problem-solving skills. In addition to broadening your technological expertise, you will work in interdisciplinary teams and learn more professional skills that will enhance your career opportunities.

The second year, you will apply your new expertise in practice when you design an innovative industrial product or process for one of many prominent high-tech companies. The close cooperation between these companies and the technological designer programs, offers exciting career opportunities. You will graduate with a Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) degree.

All Dutch PDEng degree programs are part of the 4TU.School for Technological Design, the Stan Ackermans Institute. You are appointed as a trainee for the duration of the program. You are a member of the scientific staff and receive a salary in accordance with government regulations. Because you are a trainee, you do not have to pay a tuition fee.

PhD degree programs 

Over the course of our four-year PhD program, you will develop into an independent researcher, write scientific publications and present your research results at conferences, and you are involved in teaching our students.  Under the supervision of a professor you will do cutting-edge research within the field of your choice. You will collaborate with other departments, research groups, industrial partners and research institutions, depending on your research subject. 

We will invest in your personal growth and your social and communication skills. 

After successfully defending your dissertation, you will receive the doctoral title Dr. or PhD. Obtaining your PhD degree will give you an excellent opening for a scientific position at a university or a job in industry. Should you choose to continue your career in academic fields, you can take on a post-doctoral position, often in a different country and/or in a different university. This period allows you to expand and enrich your research skills, to contribute to the research domain and to build up a track record. Following your post-doctoral experience, you can apply for a Development Track as Assistant Professor. Many others continue their career outside of academia, for example in industry or as an entrepreneur.