What is Advanced Technology?

Advanced Technology is a broad natural sciences and engineering programme which enables students to explore and develop their interests within this large domain. As such the programme attracts students with a broad interest like modern Leonardo da Vinci’s. This is the reason for selecting one of his icon thoughts, the helix pteron, or aerial screw as the image on the previous page. It combines a visionary thought with a practical apparatus and knowledge from different disciplines. 

Advanced Technology students first want to experience science and engineering before choosing between many interesting options. This not only facilitates to combine traditional disciplines and work in a multi-disciplinary fashion, but allows in a natural way to have a change of mind about the direction of your studies. In this manner Advanced Technology allows you to find your way in the wide range of possibilities in academic programmes. 

This information guide intends to provide information for prospective students and others interested in the programme to answer this question. Therefore, it compiles general and detailed information about the curriculum and what to do before enrolment. The best idea about the programme is however given by our alumni and therefore we also included testimonials and descriptions of a few Bachelors assignments, the final 10-week project done by a student to show its maturity. The compilation of these assignments provides an excellent overview of the level attained by our students in very diverse directions. I am sure this booklet will answer some of your questions.

Why Advanced Technology?

Advanced Technology is a unique, English-taught broad Bachelor’s programme in natural sciences and engineering. It was established to meet the demand by students to have a broad education not limited by traditional discipline boundaries. This broad interest meets the requirements on future professionals: many of the professions that people have at this moment did not even exist 20 years ago. With this in mind it is impossible to predict what our students will be doing 20 years from now and what disciplinary knowledge is required. One thing is certain our students will probably work in a more complex and swiftly changing environment and their jobs might easily be less secure and less permanent than they are now. This is why we want to educate students to become entrepreneurial ‘T-shaped professionals’. They know the depth of their field of study and can contribute to its development. They are also capable of stepping off the beaten tracks and have the skills to easily adapt new knowledge and apply this more broadly, in collaboration with other disciplines and society. The Advanced Technology programme at the University of Twente combines a bachelor’s level in engineering and natural sciences with the required math and programming skills and insight in entrepreneurship and the impact of technology on society. This enables our students to be eligible for a wide range of masters especially in the engineering disciplines. These masters are both traditional disciplinary masters and masters on new emerging fields such as nanotechnology, mechatronics and sustainable energy.

The Twente Educational Model

The University of Twente introduced in 2013 a modular education concept in which the bachelors programme is divided in twelve modules of each 10 weeks of full time study. Each module is 15 EC and integrates several theoretical courses and requires to apply this knowledge in practicals and projects. This integration implies that each module is centred around a specific theme such as Mechanics, Materials and System Engineering. The first two years (eight modules) represent the core of the programme. In the third year, students choose elective modules for broadening or deepening their knowledge, which also will make them eligible for the master’s programme of their choice. This choice also means that each student has his/her own requirements for the third year, making each programme unique. The last module of the programme is devoted to the bachelor’s assignment, a 10-week research or design assignment in one the research chairs at the University of Twente. 

Modules allow flexibility in offering various teaching methods, such as inspiring lectures, practicals, tutorials, discussion platforms and review sessions or, for example, working full-time on one subject for several days and then switch to a different subject to work on full-time.

In order to encourage that students are involved in their own learning and that they study actively and nominally, it is of the utmost importance that the education offered is appealing. For that reason, the core of a module is shaped by a project: an activity that challenges students to independently gain and apply knowledge and skills. The size of a project is not predetermined. 

With our Student-driven modules and open projects our students have the opportunity to take the reins themselves. Students are therefore expected to take on an active study and work attitude and reflect upon their work themselves. What do they have to pay more attention to and/or spend more time on, which activities do they have to complete to attain the learning objectives, which sources do they need, which role do they take on and in which setting do they perform their project assignment? Making these decisions and therefore being self-directed is something we want our students to learn. At the start of the programme the tutoring is intense while later on this gradually decreases. 

Collaboration is a very important 21st century skill that our students will certainly need after completing their studies. For that reason, students work together frequently in a module. This applies to both the project and the other module units. Together the students have to ensure that in the end they all have sufficient knowledge of all aspects of the project or the assignment on which they have collaborated. This means that they can also be individually tested on the material.

An international programme

Advanced Technology is an English taught programme which has resulted in students that not only come from the Netherlands but also from countries such as Germany, Britain, Indonesia, South Africa and China. The only language requirement is English. Not only all our courses, but also all rules and regulations are in English. At this moment, the origin of almost 35% of our students is non-traditional Dutch. This makes that you will study alongside and collaborate with students of various nationalities which will give you the perfect preparation for the international labour market. You will learn to look at problems in a totally different way and solve problems together in an international team.

Ethnicities of Advanced Technology students

From the years 2017-2020

Ethnicities rest of the world

From the years 2017-2020

Student counselling

When you start university, you are expected to act responsibly and take care of your own business. However, especially when you have just started a bachelor’s programme not everything speaks for itself. It can take a while for you to feel at home and find your way around the university and its rules and regulations. Even later on during your studies you might feel that there are issues you would like to discuss, such as choosing your master, taking extra subjects etc. This is what the study advisor is here for.

Everything you discuss with the study advisor is confidential. Only if deemed necessary, and with your explicit permission, can the study advisor talk to other people about you. The study advisor is bound to the code of conduct of the LVSA (Dutch national association of study advisors).

Studying Advanced Technology at the University of Twente has a personal feel and an informal vibe. Our approachable teaching staff are always ready to answer your questions and your tutor or study advisor is always on hand to help you with any problems you might encounter.

Interview First-year AT student

Maaike Strik, student of Advanced Technology

Hi, my name is Maaike. I am 18 years old and currently I am a student of the Advanced Technology programme at the University of Twente.

Actually, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I did know I was really good at physics and mathematics so I wanted to do something with those subjects. I came across a few study programmes, but they were really specific, like Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering. Then I came across Advanced Technology and I really liked that the programme is so broad. It is a good combination of all the subjects that I like.

You have to be a lot more independent, but I didn’t really mind that because I am a really independent worker. For me it wasn’t that hard, but you do get less guidance than at secondary school. For example, at secondary school you get a lot of instructions and homework, but this a bit different at the university. However, if you do experience problems during your studies, you can always go to the professor or study advisor to help you out. During the Calculus lectures we do still have homework, but I actually like that. This would be nice for the other courses as well.

I really like that in most modules you have one physics class and one for mathematics, combined with a project and lab work. I enjoy the third module a bit less, because that module focusses a bit more on chemistry and there is more theoretical work. I think the combination of theoretical and practical work works best. During the project you work with a group. For example, in the second module you use cycle pumps to cool a container of water. You have to practice a lot and you have to figure out what pumping speed is needed for a certain amount of cooling. During lab practice you work with electronics or in a chemical lab. I really enjoy those practical assignments. Calculus is my favourite subject, but I really enjoy the combination of all the subjects, because I wouldn’t want to focus on mathematics alone.

How to work with others, because during projects you always have to work together. It is actually harder than it seems. I thought I was good at that during secondary school, but now you have to learn how to work with students from other nationalities and that can be tough sometimes. You do get guidance for this. We have a lecturer for academic skills and she gives us tips on how to work together. We also learn what kind of team workers we are and how you can compose a group based on those roles. In the first module I had some problems with my group, but we had some talks with our study advisor and it all worked out in the end.

The combination of theoretical and practical work was new to me, because that is not something you do at secondary school. The first lecture of Calculus was pretty challenging, but it turned out okay. The most difficult part was to find motivation during the covid pandemic. However, I think I struggle with that less than other students, because I am usually quite busy with activities that are not related to the programme. For example, I am a member of a study association and I am part of a committee.

I don’t know what a typical day looks like without the covid pandemic, because then you actually spend a lot more time at the university. I usually start working on assignments around 9 o’clock and afterwards I attend the online lectures. I always like to rewatch lectures, so that I have a better understanding of everything. After lunch I continue my work, but right now I feel like I have a lot of freedom. I do make sure to finish everything by the end of the week, however. You have a lot of variation in subjects during the week. Your project is also very different from the other courses, so that is interesting as well. You can work together with others during tutorials, but I prefer to work by myself.

I actually kind of love it, because I hate cycling and now I don’t have to do that. I am a very independent person and I like working by myself and to have some flexibility. You can pause lectures if needed and you can also speed them up, which is really great. I do have to say that I am not sure if this is the same for other students. Your lectures and tutorials are online and the professors make sure that they are there to help you out, but you can also reach them outside of these scheduled hours. It is definitely a bit of a challenge to connect with other students now, but I am in a study association so that helps a lot. There are plenty of activities that you can participate in, but if you don’t choose to do that then it will be a bit more difficult.

That is a difficult question. Obviously I would like to get a positive binding study advice and I hope to finish the AT programme in three years’ time. After that I would like to do a master’s programme, but I am not sure yet which one that will be. Especially because AT is such a broad programme, I can probably choose between a lot of programmes. Maybe I will also look into programmes abroad or in Delft.

It absolutely has. I expected to learn a bit about everything related to physics and I am doing that. For example, in the first module you learn about Newton’s laws, in the second module you learn about thermodynamics and right now we are working on chemistry, so the programme has a lot of variation. The practical aspect of the programme is great as well.

Make sure that you make the right decision when it comes to a study programme. It is important that you really like what you are going to study. Some students dropped out because they didn’t really know what the programme was going to be like. I wouldn’t advise choosing a programme without doing some research first. If you are excited about physics and mathematics, then you are good to go. The beginning of the first module can  be tough, but just know that you will get through it. You need to adjust to life at the university, but it will all turn out fine. I really like the programme and I am sure you will too!

Quick layout of the programme

The Advanced Technology programme is a three-year bachelor’s programme. In the figure below a condensed view of activities by the programme is displayed, such as the binding recommendation after the first year and the various moments at which students shape their programme with their choices. The first year focuses on the first experience with the programme and the chance of success to succeed the programme. At the end of the first year, students already need to think about the direction they want to go. The second module of the second year is a module of choice, which is one out of the four main directions students go to: materials, transport, mechatronics, and computer science. 

The students’ experience with their first choice will give them insight into the possible master’s they would like to take. At the end of the second year, students need to know with which master’s programme they would like to continue. The third year is characterized by the actual preparation for the master’s programme of the students’ choice.

Timeline

Visit the timeline page at the home page to get a more elaborate overview of the program

One of the guiding pillars of the Twente Education Model is to help students realize as quickly as possible whether they have made the right choice. For that reason, the first two modules reflect the nature and content of the bachelor’s programme and also focus on learning to learn. In addition, the students are also given advice and guidance by the study advisor. In this manner students will be confronted with their motivation, attitude and capability. With this experience our students themselves, aided by the study advisor, will determine whether the programme actually fits them. For most students, this positive encounter will make them even more enthusiastic. However, some will experience a wrong choice and the study advisor will help to get them without delay to a more suitable place.

At the end of the first year, students who have obtained less than 45 EC, will receive a negative binding recommendation and are not allowed to renew their enrolment for the programme. This is the final selection by the programme and with two prior advices after module 1 and 2 a negative binding recommendation never comes as a surprise.

 

In case of personal circumstances known to the programme the ruling of Binding Study Recommendation can be adjusted to the actual capacity of the student. This means that if a student due to justifiable circumstances is not able to study during a quartile, this quartile will not be taken into account. The guideline is that a student should be able to complete at least 75% of the tasks he/she is capable to do. Personal circumstances can vary from sickness, family circumstance to being active as an athlete on a high level. All of these circumstances have to be known in advance to the programme. This allows to make a match of the programme to the abilities of the individual student as far as possible. It also serves to determine in advance what is required for passing the Binding Study recommendation.

Advanced Technology students are not restricted in joining one direction of master’s programme. An Advanced Technology diploma opens the world to a wide range of master’s programmes. Students will think about possible master’s programmes by already making a choice in the second year. They can make a choice in the materials, transport, mechatronics or software direction. The choice in the second year is the first encounter with a possible master direction. The experience with their first choice lets students become aware of their interests. This helps them in making the decision for a master’s programme at the end of the second year and to prepare for the third year. In the third year, the students will take modules that meet the admission requirements of the chosen master’s programme and actually become prepared to join the master’s programme after graduation.

To view a more elaborate layout of the programme visit the timeline page:

Chronological Timeline

Programme learning outcomes

The programme is designed to achieve the programme learning outcomes. A graduate of the Advanced Technology Bachelor’s programme has met the learning outcomes listed below, which are in accordance with the Meijers criteria, the common set of learning outcomes of engineering programmes at the 3 technical universities in the Netherlands.

Can apply basic theoretical concepts, important methods and techniques in the fields listed below and has skills to increase and develop this through study:

  1. Elements from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, chemistry (Newtonian dynamics, Thermodynamics, Material Science, Mechatronic systems, electromagnetism, System Engineering)
  2. Mathematics and programming
  3. Innovation, business administration and development/trends of technology on a local and a global level)
  4. Analysis of impact of technology on a local and a global level
  5. Experimentation in the technical sciences.

A detailed list of this domain knowledge is presented in table 1.

  1. is able to apply the most important scientific research method
  2. is able to apply the most important scientific design methods and is able to divide a design problem in different sub problems.

Is able to organize work both independently and as a member of an international project group. In project work able to define separate problems for team members, to assure the interconnection between these entities and to implement a timeline.

Is capable of communicating on technical-scientific issues both in writing and orally in a clear, concise and professional manner.

Is capable of analysing, modelling, interpreting and solving technical-scientific problems with an academic approach, i.e., formulating a problem definition, selecting scientific information and processing it, conducting research and critically evaluating the subsequent results, and of formulating conclusions.

Is able to recognize personal strengths and weaknesses as well as personal interests that are necessary to opt for either a follow-on study, in particular an academic master’s programme which requires a high level of autonomy or a job in the labour market.

Domain knowledge and skills

  • Newton’s law
  • Static equilibrium
  • Equations of motion
  • Mechanical rotation, torque and momentum
  • Conservation of linear momentum, angular momentum and energy,
  • Elasticity
  • Electrostatics (electric field, Coulomb’s Law, superposition of fields from charges and charge distributions, Gauss’s Law, electrostatic potential, dipole, equations of Laplace and Poisson, dielectrics, electrostatic analogues)
  • Magnetostatics, (magnetic field, Ampere’s Law, Law of Biot and Savart, vector potential, current and current density, magnetic dipole, energy density)
  • Electrodynamics (induction, plane waves in free space, radiation, interference, polarization, resonance in cavities, waveguides, transmission lines, phase and group velocity, pointing vector, reflection and diffraction)
  • Use conservation laws and continuity to model mechanical, electrical and thermodynamic (mixed) systems in a set of differential equations with a lumped system approach.
  • Mathematical description of a distributed system.
  • Analysis of mathematical models and derivation of analytical or simulated solutions
  • Design of a control loop for a system and choice of elementary feedback controllers
  • Define a system that is viable from various perspectives (user, developer, producer, etc.)
  • Translate stakeholder requirements into a consistent set of “System Performance Specs”
  • Make a system design (breakdown the system into modules; make budgets, linking system performance to module performance design of at least one sub-system; make an integration & test plan; make a risk assessment)
  • Creating and validating a computer program in Matlab
  • Use Matlab tools like Simulink and digital filter design tools.
  • Creating a technical drawing in Solidworks
  • Use COMSOL to set-up and validate a Finite Element problem
  • Understanding of technology as a social phenomenon.
  • Social contexts in which technologies emerge and the social consequences of new technologies.
  • Phase diagrams, ideal and non-ideal gas models
  • First and second law of Thermodynamics
  • Heat capacity and heat conductivity
  • Cyclic thermodynamic processes
  • Maxwell relations and interpretation of Energy, Enthalpy, Helmholtz and Gibbs free energy
  • Historic perspective of quantum mechanics
  • Use Schrödinger’s equation to solve elementary problems like particle in a box and the hydrogen atom.
  • Structure on molecular, microscopic and macroscopic level of material classes
  • Understand the relation between properties and the underlying structure
  • Identification of basic chemical structures and functional groups and their reactivity
  • Diffusion processes in solids
  • Binary phase diagrams, phase transition and relation to microstructure
  • Qualitative understanding of electrical and magnetic properties
  • Relation between properties, structure/composition and synthesis
  • Basics of various techniques used for material (film deposition) synthesis
  • Formal logic and proving techniques such as induction principle
  • Solving linear differential equations
  • Continuity and differentiability
  • Functions of multiple variables
  • Integration of functions with standard methods
  • Power series, Taylor expansion and linearization
  • Vectors, matrices and linear transformations
  • Eigenvalues and eigenvectors of matrices
  • Multivariate calculus
  • Fourier, Laplace and z-transform and their applications
  • Analysis of stochastic signals with momentum analysis and correlation techniques
  • Theorems of Gauss and Stokes
  • Gradient, divergence and rotation of a vector field
  • Business models and their constituting elements.
  • Business development in relation to external environment
  • Innovation as a processes of knowledge production
  • Trend analysis, Delphi method, forecasting, backcasting; road mapping
  • Learning basic skills for setting up and conducting experimental work, including safety, and error handling.
  • Familiar with design, realization and analysis of electrical circuits and signal analysis.