Niels Vossebeld

The story of Niels proves that even after completing your Bachelor's degree you will find there is still plenty to learn in the world of Civil Engineering. Niels completed our Bachelor's and Master's programmes and is now a EngD student (together with Rijkswaterstaat) at the University of Twente.

Hello, I am Niels. I am currently a Civil Engineering EngD student at the University of Twente. EngD stands for Engineering Doctorate. It is a two-year programme that you can do after your Master's. When I finish I will be a 'technology designer'.

How did this come about? After a year of Aerospace Engineering back in 2005, I knew I needed a somewhat broader programme. My original programme was going okay, but I missed having subjects other than mathematics and physics. I had actually not expected this to happen with my first degree choice after secondary school. But during that first year, after thinking it through a lot, it became clear to me that I wanted a programme that offered engineering as well as management and organization subjects. I found this in the University of Twente's Civil Engineering programme – more so then in, say, Delft.

During the Bachelor's programme there is a lot of project-based work. You gain a lot of knowledge this way, but you also learn how to work together in a group. This continues on into the Master's Programme Construction Management and Engineering. You read a lot of literature and reports and then you quickly have to work this into your own (group) report/model.

Alongside the programme, I also participated in many excursions and practical days offered by student associations. The programme also offers outings and guest lectures, but the student association offer many more options. I would recommend that every new student do as much as they can on top of their programme! That is how one of my favourite years came about: a gap year after finishing my Bachelor's degree. I had organized a big study trip to Brazil, and of course I joined the trip myself.

As a EngD candidate with Rijkswaterstaat, a Dutch government body, my day-to-day work is designing an information model for road tunnels. I also take subjects for the necessary theoretical background and to gain skills that are important for me as a professional. At work I can quickly understand at an abstract level how new contract types, design and implementation processes and (civil) engineering relate to each other. In this programme I use the knowledge I gained during my Civil Engineering degree to develop a meaningful information model for Rijkswaterstaat. I use this knowledge to understand how my information model can be useful and fit into a real-life context.