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Cursus: 201700242
Semester 3: Extremes
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (ECTS)0
VoertaalEngels L.E. Krab - Hüsken
VorigeVolgende 5
drs. L. Bagur Marques
Docent M. Boon
Docent F.J. Dijksterhuis
Docent J.E. ten Elshof
N. Gertz
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
At the end of Semester 3, the student is able to:
1.   articulate their academic profile as a new engineer and make deliberate choices to develop this profile;
2.   explain and apply advanced concepts, theories and methods from Natural Science, Social Science, and Mathematics in various contexts;
3.   demonstrate deepening of academic competencies of their choice;
4.   set up and execute empirical research and communicate the results;
5.   describe the state-of-the-art, theories and methods of a self-chosen research field and compare and contrast these with those of a second research field.

Use these semester goals as a guiding principle in your S3 Personal Development Plan. Criteria for approval of the PDP are explained in the sessions on 3 July and 28 August and more explanation can be found in Appendix 1 of this S3 syllabus.
Many of today’s challenges involve complex interactions of social and technological developments. Solutions, true solutions, require that both technical and social aspects have been taken into account. These challenges require thorough scientific analysis and research: what do we need to know, how can we translate that into a good research question, which methods can give us the data we need, how can we analyse these data to reach a conclusion, and how can we effectively communicate our findings. As a new engineer, you will have a base in both the social sciences as well as the natural sciences and you will have an expertise in a certain area; both of these are of vital importance in tackling today’s societal challenges.
In this third semester you will develop yourself further as a new engineer. Where the first year in ATLAS was focused more on how to learn, we are now slowly switching towards what to learn. In Semester 3 you get the chance to further explore opportunities (what are these  opportunities or possible directions, which ones do you like, what are you good at?). While still adding breadth to your base, you also slowly start to develop more focus in your direction. On  top, this semester is focused on the knowledge and skills needed for doing research.
“Exploration” and “Focus” are the two functions of Semester 3.

Theme and Goals

Theme: Extremes

The third semester in ATLAS is about Extremes. You will look at extremes on a physical scale, in meters, ranging from nano scale (10-9 m) to Mega scale (106 m), and you will consider the extremes of human experience, exploring new environments and high-stress situations (see picture). You get acquainted with scientific research (in the natural/engineering sciences, and in the social sciences, or interdisciplinary) that is being done in ‘application contexts.’ Your research project aims at answering concrete questions, and/or the development of (new) technologies that are of societal relevance.

To be able to pass the semester, students need to demonstrate that they meet the semester goals, and pass a minimum of 27 EC, consisting of 9 EC for domain courses, 9 EC for elective courses, and 9 EC for the semester project.

You continue to build your body of knowledge in the social and the natural sciences. Within the domains of natural science, social science, and math, there will be a set of courses. These domain courses allow you to reach a deeper and broader understanding of the social as well as the natural sciences. The S3 domain courses are:
Natural Sciences: Materials Science (3 EC) or Basic Circuit Analysis (3 EC)
Mathematics: Probability Theory and Statistics (3 EC)
Social Sciences: Ethics (3 EC)
More information on these courses can be found in the next section (including learning goals, in italics) and in Canvas. Practical information can be found in Appendix 2.
Natural Sciences
In the natural science domain you have a choice between Materials Science and Electronics: Basic Circuit Analysis. You must choose one of these and can use the other as an elective.
Materials Science (3 EC, weeks 11 to 17):
Upon completing the Materials Science course, you:
have knowledge of the (crystal) structure of materials, and the ability to carry out simple geometrical calculations (cell volume, cell parameter, atomic radius, packing density, surface concentrations, etc.) on the basis of a given structure;
can describe the band structure of metals, insulators and semiconductors (intrinsic, p- and n-type), and is able to derive the magnitude of band gaps and the relative position of dopant levels from data of the conductivity versus temperature.
can design and conduct experiments in which a functional semiconducting material plays a central role (e.g. thermistors, photoconductors, solar cells, photocatalyst electrodes, LEDs) and exploration of its properties.
Basic Circuit Analysis (3 EC, weeks 11 to 15):
To pass this module, you have to demonstrate your proficiency in subjects on circuit analysis:
Node voltage method for circuits with sources and resistors;
Superposition, source transformations, maximum power transfer;
First order circuits with 1 capacitor or inductor;
Second order circuits with 1 capacitor and 1 inductor;
Sinusoidal signals and phasor domain.
Social Sciences
In Semester 3, you learn about Ethics. You will also need this domain knowledge in the project.
Ethics (3 EC, weeks 11 to 15):
Upon completing the Ethics course, you:
have gained experience with structured ethical thinking;
can identify moral concerns and challenges with respect to a societal problem domain or a design or engineering problem;
will have in-depth knowledge of current ethical issues and approaches in specific domains of science, engineering or development, to be chosen based on the personal interests and goals of the students who choose this course;
can discuss and reason about fundamentally different perspectives on what ethics is (relativism and absolutism), how one should do ethics (consequentialism and deontology), how we should motivate people to be ethical (paternalism and libertarianism), whether we should blame them for unethical behaviour (free will compatibilism and incompatibilism), and why we should care about ethics in the first place (internalism and externalism).
In semester 3, you learn about Probability Theory and Statistics. You can also use this domain knowledge in the project.
Probability Theory and Statistics (3 EC, weeks 1 to 10):
Upon completing the Probability Theory and Statistics course, you are:
knowledgeable on the fundamentals of probability models and the theory underlying statistical methods;
able to choose and apply appropriate statistical methods in various data analysis problems.
Aim to find your future focus area and develop an expertise there (NB: if during the semester you find out that this is not your future area, that would also be a valuable outcome!). As these future foci will start to be more personal and specific, it is only rarely possible to develop ATLAS electives for these and most electives thus lay outside ATLAS. The electives coordinator and your mentor can help you find suitable electives (see also the provided list with opportunities).

Do not just scratch the surface in a wide range of electives. Explore the depths in a few! Exploring the depths in one area allows you to reach depth in another area quickly (analogies, similarities, etc.). You can take up to 30 EC for the semester (domains, electives an project combined); if you want to take on more than 30 EC’s, explain in your PDP why you need more than 30 EC, why you are convinced you can still explore the depths, and how you can distribute the workload over the semester. Since this is your third semester in ATLAS, these elective choices will likely indicate some general academic direction that appeals to you (discuss this with your mentor).

Semester project
The project context in this semester is “Living in extreme conditions”. Examples are living on Mars or in a spaceship, living at the bottom of the ocean, living in the slums, living in a desert or at the South Pole, et cetera. You will focus on technical/social problems that will or could occur, for instance related to getting access to purified water and air, safe living conditions, health, upholding justice, getting organised, etc. You will analyse problems in depth and come up with ideas or strategies that could provide solutions. Within the project, you are part of a small expertise team (two or three students with similar disciplinary interests per project team). Part of the learning of domain knowledge will be provided and structured by ATLAS, while you also acquire part of the knowledge via self-directed learning in the elective subjects.

You will learn about the principles of doing academic research, as well as experience the frustrations and joys associated with actually doing research. In the research project, you also develop your own research question, preferably at the forefront of knowledge.
In the project you assemble the knowledge and develop the skills needed for research. You will learn how to develop new knowledge and insights in a methodical way, which involves activities such as formulating a valid research question (based on scientific literature), developing and executing a research plan for collecting data, analysing the data, drawing valid conclusions, and indicating the integrity issues in the research. You will also learn how to communicate research. Project teachers will guide you in this process.

To support this, the project includes research methodology workshops.
The project has many milestones – feedback moments that you should look at as topics for the discussion with the project teachers, required to guide you in the process of making the right decisions on what your next step should be, aiming towards the two assessed deliverables of the project. In the separate S3 project hand-out, you can find a full description of the project (goal, problem, deliverables, timeline, etc.) and the rubrics that explain what is expected of you in the project.

Feedback Organisation

The deadline for your S3 PDP is Friday 31 August, 09:00 a.m. See Appendix 1 for more info.
Your PDP uses the (numbered) semester goals as a structuring principle.
It contains a concise narrative of the academic profile of the kind of new engineer you want to become and what you think you need to learn to get there (direction).
From your learning needs, you explain why each semester goal is relevant for you (ownership).
Based on the learning activities in the semester (project, domain courses, electives), you explain what pieces of evidence will show that you attained all semester goals, and why. For the “why”: think of what feedback is informative.
The deadline for handing in your SER is Thursday 17 January at 09:00 a.m.

The schedule is available in My Timetable and in Canvas. We can confirm these activities:
Mondays 08:45-10:30 weeks 1 to 16, and week 18: project workshops, group feedback and question hours;
Monday 08:45-12:30 week 4 and week 12: prolonged project sessions;
Materials Science: weeks 11 to 17;
Basic Circuit Analysis: weeks 11 to 15 (detailed planning available);
Ethics: weeks 11 to 15 (detailed planning available);
Probability Theory and Statistics: weeks 1 to 10 (detailed planning available);
You will also have planned activities related to your elective courses. Looking at the planning of domain courses (most are offered in the second half of the semester), you are advised to pick most of your elective credits in the first half of the semester.
Question hours about S3 are every two weeks on Monday (see My Timetable). For urgent matters or unclarities, contact the semester coordinator through e-mail or in the Citadel.
For students in all semesters:
Fridays at lunch: What’s on, BookBuzz, and Inspiring lectures.

Contact Persons
Semester Coordinator
Leonie Krab (

Project Coordinator
Mieke Boon (

Project Teachers
Mieke Boon (methodology, natural sciences, modelling),
Jeroen Korterik (experiments, natural sciences/ engineering),
Leonie Krab (methodology, natural sciences, modelling),
Peter Slijkhuis (experiments, social sciences),
Pascal Wilhelm (methodology, social sciences).

Course Teachers
Course Materials Science: Gert-Jan Koster, André ten Elshof
Course Basic Circuit Analysis: Luuk Spreeuwers
Course Probability Theory and Statistics: Werner Scheinhardt
Course Ethics: Nolen Gertz
Project workshops (research methodology): Mieke Boon, Leonie Krab, Pascal Wilhelm
Appendix 1: On writing your PDP in S3
Why a PDP?
The reasons why you write a PDP each semester are: 1) to support you in developing ownership of learning (self-directed learning), 2) to stimulate learning for understanding, 3) to allow the programme to guide you and 4) to safeguard educational quality.
Semester 3 goals and requirements
To pass this semester, you have to successfully attain the semester goals. You are also required to acquire a minimum of 27 ECs, consisting of 9 EC for the S3 domain courses, at least 9 EC for elective courses, and 9 EC for the semester project.
Semester goals (see also Page 2): at the end of Semester 3, the student is able to:
  1. articulate their academic profile as a new engineer and make deliberate choices to develop this profile;
  2. explain and apply advanced concepts, theories and methods from Natural Science, Social Science, and Mathematics in various contexts;
  3. demonstrate deepening of academic competencies of their choice;
  4. set up and execute empirical research and communicate the results;
  5. describe the state-of-the-art, theories and methods of a self-chosen research field and compare and contrast these with those of a second research field.
You might wonder: if so many things are already in place (domain courses, project) how should I write a meaningful PDP? ATLAS requires you to do certain things because ATLAS is an educational programme with a vision on the new engineer it aims to educate. Projects and domain courses are there for a specific reason that stem from that vision. On the other hand, the programme allows you to develop your own academic profile as a new engineer. That is why there are, within certain boundaries, choices to make. However, to support you in taking control of your learning (self-directed learning) we want you to take into account all the semester activities in your PDP.
How to write your S3 PDP?
Step 1: write a short narrative on your current interests
The focus on self-directed learning implies that you are expected to be aware of your current interest in an academic or career sense. This interest could be something that is, in some way, interesting, meaningful or relevant for you, but more importantly it helps you in making curricular choices, what you want to learn. An interest does not have to be clear-cut and it might even change throughout the programme, but without some interest it is difficult to make these choices. Interests can be short-term or longer-term, specific or broad, but their key aspect is that they are personal. This means that, for the most part, you need to make certain decisions about what is important for you in the programme.
Step 2: from your current interests, explain why each semester goal is relevant for you
Study the content of the semester goals. Then, ask yourself: “Considering my current interest, why is attaining his semester goal relevant for me?” Writing down the answer to this question for each semester goal creates a narrative that exemplifies your ownership of the semester goals. These stories may strongly vary among you, even considering the fact that the semester goals themselves are identical for every ATLAS student. This is how the programme accommodates self-directed learning.
Step 3: describe and explain what you will do to reach each semester goal
For each semester goal (we strongly advise you to structure your PDP according to the semester goals), describe and explain what you will do to meet the goal. This relates to the educational activities in the semester.
Step 4: describe and explain the evidence you will produce
The educational activities you will do produce evidence that serve as proof that you have reached the semester goals. In this step you do not only describe this evidence, you will also explain why they are proof or your learning. This is not easy. What might help is to consider the kind of feedback that is informative in this respect.
To conclude: make deliberate choices, explaining (from your current interest) why a particular course or other educational activity will help you in attaining a semester goal and why the evidence you will produce is helpful in proving that you met this goal. Explanations might be simple or more complex, but they need to be there. The reason why you do this, it to get focus on your learning instead of on your performance (learning for understanding). This will support you in becoming a self-directed learner.
Use a maximum of 2000 words for your PDP; see announcement and mail about possibility to first upload a PDP Summary.
At the end of your PDP, include a table with information on your electives: full name, course code, number of ECs and planning (which weeks of the semester and estimation of hours per week). If you plan to take up more than the number of required elective ECs, explain why you think you will be able to manage the extra study load.
PDP approval
Your PDP needs approval. The reason for this is twofold: 1) it is a means to support you in developing ownership of learning (self-directed learning) and to that end you will receive feedback and, 2) to safeguard educational quality, i.e., to make sure every student will, in principle, be able to attain the semester goals. If you have written a clear narrative on why (from your current interest) attaining the semester goals is relevant for you and have described and explained what you will do to meet them and what evidence you will produce to prove that you met them, and why the evidence is proof of your learning, you have successfully written your PDP. Approval is based on these aspects.
Reminder: on Tuesday 28 August from 11:00-12:00 (T-100), there will be another PDP writing session for S3, with Pascal and Leonie, for guidance and to get any questions answered. The PDP deadline is 31 August at 09:00 a.m. through Canvas (through e-mail, you will receive instructions on uploading your PDP in Canvas).
Instructional example: how do I make project work relevant for my learning?
In the rubric created for the project (see project syllabus), semester goals are related to project goals. The rubric defines the project goals and, simultaneously, fleshes out on which aspects these learning goals will be assessed. So, the rubric exemplifies how gaining evidence for project goals is a means to gain evidence for attaining semester goals. In a sense, attaining the project goals is a means to attain the semester goals. For the domain courses and the electives, you make these connections yourself; the rubric is meant to support you in this process with respect to the project.
As you can see, project evidence can be used as proof for attaining more than only one semester goal (actually, three). Now it is your turn. Start with reasoning from your current interest and ask yourself: 1) from my current interest, why would it be relevant for me to attain [semester goal x]? Then ask yourself 2) what will I do to reach this goal? (of course, you might say: the project, but also think about the research topic here, how does the topic you choose relate to your interest?). Then, describe the evidence you will produce and explain why this evidence will be proof of your learning. To develop your abilities in self-directed learning, reflect on your prior knowledge and skills that you already acquired with respect to the project goals, and define your learning needs. A source like might inform you on the things you need to develop; there are also multiple hard copies of the corresponding book “Skill Sheets” by Rob van Tulder (white cover) circulating in ATLAS.
Skill Sheets aims to be a practical resource for understanding and developing core skills that all university students need to obtain. It explains how these skills are related and how one can develop and work with many skills simultaneously, and how to maintain a better focus on the contents of their course.
Appendix 2: Practical information on domain courses
See also syllabi in Canvas.
Natural Sciences
Materials Science (3 EC, weeks 11 to 17):
Offered activities:
  • The course starts with four sessions that combine plenary lecture & tutorial. In these we will firstly deal with the fundamentals of material science and then introduce semi-conductors.
  • In the second part of the course you work in groups on a mini-project where you look into a possible application of semi-conductors (e.g. solar panels or LED’s) and do an experiment, or produce a demo, or … Meanwhile you (as a group) can interact weekly with the teacher.
Materials: Book: Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering: An Integrated Approach, 5e, Int. Student Version, W.D. Callister & D.G. Rethwisch, Wiley, 2016.  
Feedback opportunities:
  • Weekly interactions with the teacher;
  • Every group produces a video to explain their experiment, demo, …
  • Every group writes a technical paper about their experiment, demo, …
Basic Circuit Analysis (3 EC, weeks 11 to 15):
Circuit Analysis is a part of the fundamental knowledge of every Electrical Engineer. In this course, various methods for systematic circuit analysis are introduced. These methods rely on basic mathematical knowledge: solving sets of equations, solving 1st and 2nd order differential equations, calculations with complex numbers, integration, partial derivatives and integration by parts, limits. A very important general concept is introduced: modelling a system (in this case an electric circuit) using ideal elements described by ideal element equations and the analysis of the static and dynamic behaviour of the system, i.e. the response in the form of voltages and currents, to various input signals (excitations). This important concept and the methods for analysis presented in this course are fundamental and applicable to many areas also outside the field of Electrical Engineering.
Instruction takes place in the form of lectures, tutorial classes and self-study. During the course there are weekly tests to determine if the student masters the subjects presented so far. If you pass all four tests you pass the course (optional resit of all material in a test in week 19).
If you want to do more Electronics/Circuit analysis (including Fourier analyses (*)), an option is to enlarge this domain course; the current 3-EC course is the first part of a larger 6.5-EC course (see Electives list, “201400484 Circuit Analysis (6.5 EC)”).
(*) We also have an elective course on Fourier and Laplace (Mathematics) that may be a good choice for you. You can find it in Osiris under the name “Calculus C”, 3 EC (premaster) and it is taught in the second half of the semester. Prior knowledge from ATLAS Year 1 Mathematics suffices to be able to do this elective course.
Materials: Lecture notes: L. Spreeuwers, R. van Rootseler and Chris Zeinstra, Recipes for Circuit Analysis, with workbook and exercise book, available on blackboard as PDF or in printed format.
Social Sciences
Ethics (3 EC, weeks 11 to 15):
Offered activities:
  • Per week, for four weeks, two sessions of each two hours are offered. These are interactive sessions where the papers that you read will be discussed.
Materials: original papers will be provided as PDFs (no textbook is needed).
Feedback opportunities:
  • Interactions with teacher twice a week during the sessions;
  • Each student hands in a draft outline (through a template) of what final paper they intend to write;
  • Each student writes a paper for final assessment and feedback.
Probability Theory and Statistics (3 EC, weeks 1 to 10):
Offered activities:
  • The course consists of lectures (2 hours per week), with room for questions and discussions, plus tutorials / practical sessions (also 2 hours per week);
  • Q&A session in week 10;
  • The course will be concluded with an exam in week 10.
  • “Probability theory for engineers”, UT syllabus by Dick Meijer;
  • “Statistics for engineers”, UT syllabus by Dick Meijer.
  • Both syllabi can be bought at the Union Shop in the Bastille (they cost around € 10 each); the teacher can also provide PDFs of these syllabi.
Feedback opportunities:
  • Weekly interactions with the teachers at the tutorials;
  • Take-home test in week 4;
  • Final exam in week 10 with option to discuss results.
Participating study
Bachelor Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences
Verplicht materiaal
Aanbevolen materiaal
Overig onderwijs


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