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Lightweight Structural Vehicle Design (part-time)

Instruction, exams, reports in English (individual work in English, Dutch, and German allowed).

During minor Lightweight Structural Vehicle Design you will learn about the practice of modern vehicle design based on a solid theoretical foundation. You will learn to use the latest software tools and visit leading companies in this dynamic field of engineering.

Lightweight design of constructions is the main engineering tool available to increase durability of vehicles. Through lightweight, design solutions are found to save materials and scarce resources, lower energy consumption and limit Co2 and NOx emissions. Lightweight design is a dynamic field where new materials, methods of manufacturing, and design tools enable engineers to improve vehicle durability and performance.

Topics covered are:

  • Finite element theory (with linear algebra) and practical FEA-CAE exercises (using Abaqus software)
  • Lightweight design and construction using advanced mechanics of materials, and mechanics of composite materials.
  • Design and production using conventional materials, composite and sandwich materials.
  • Project: Design, production and testing (validation) of a composite beam construction.
  • Visits to various companies & organizations involved in state-of-the-art lightweight design and manufacturing (approximately 10 visits per year).

Part-time students may apply for an exemption for (parts of) the practical work.

Block exchange course
This exchange course is offered once a year in a block during a semester (September - January).

This also is a specialisation exchange course, enabling you to further develop your skills and knowledge within your own profession (professional profile).



Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes listed below will help you decide whether this exchange course matches your personal goals.

After completing this minor, you will be able to work as a lightweight design engineer at an engineering firm, or manufacturing plant. You will have developed know-how and skills to initialize and realize innovative solutions for the development of lighter vehicles.

You will study:

  • Linear algebra
  • Mechanics of materials (including anisotropic and non-linear), stress and strain transformations, failure theories, mechanics of composite materials
  • Structural integrity (strength and stability) of light constructions, including buckling and durability.
  • Foundation and basic principles of Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Design, construction and production in composite materials.


  • Setting up of a design brief.
  • Design of a load bearing (automotive) construction. 
  • Research & validation.
  • Working in international groups.
  • Managing your personal development

Aanvullende informatie

For more information: | T 31 (0)24 35 30 500 from 09.00 to 16.30 |

or Rens Horn
Tel: 0623422436

Subscribe? Good to know!

For popular minors a draw takes place 3 to 4 weeks after the opening, if there are at that time more subscribers than available places. For the minors with places still available applies until the closing of the subscription period: once a minor is full, it is closed!

In addition, if the number of subscribers after three weeks is below the norm; a minor may possibly be withdrawn. So if you are interested, sign up immediately!

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Note: For HAN students it means that, in case of cancellation of the first choice AFTER the period of decision (this takes about three weeks) they may re-subscribe for the still available minors.

Even then: once a minor is full, it is closed!

A good overview of the HAN minors can be found in the minors app! The app is accessible via:


Admission requirements

The course is open to technical Bachelors students from the following courses:

  • Mechanical Engineering;
  • Automotive Engineering;
  • Aeronautical Engineering;
  • Or any equivalent technical bachelors level course.

The course provides an advanced level of development engineering and requires students to have completed 2.5 years of prior study. A comparable level of construction and testing knowledge is necessary for students who come from outside the automotive courses.

An exchange course will be of most benefit to you if it complements your studies and/or your professional profile, is at an appropriate level and does not overlap with your major.

For whom?

This course is open to all Dutch and international students who have an interest in this topic, regardless of the degree courses they are following. Lectures and exams are in English. Reports have to be written in English. Individual work may be written in English, Dutch or German.

Lightweight construction engineers are expected to have an open mind for innovation and development, and the strong will to master these skills. 

Nice to know

A sufficient level of English fluency is a prerequisite for admission to this course. For example:

  • An IELTS score of at least 6.5; or
  • A TOEFL score of at least 90 (Internet-based), 232 (computer-based); or
  • A Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE), a Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).


During this exchange course your performance will be assessed in the following ways:

  • The course consists of 2 terms, each with a duration of 9-10 weeks. You will have exams during the two theoretical terms.
  • The modules are assessed in the form of written exams, practice reports and assignment reports.
  • The design project is assessed by a report and a presentation.
  • The practical and the guided tours with lectures are assessed based on active participation with satisfactory results.


Students are expected to be available from Monday to Friday, so doing a part-time job or taking other subjects from Monday to Friday between 9.00 - 17.45 h. is not an option, unless the student is an official part-time student. The schedule is set-up in such a way that for the part-time student all necessary lectures are concentrated on one day and two evenings.

Study load
The study load mainly comprises contact hours with the tutor, tutorials, practice, self-study hours and assignment hours. It is assumed that students in this course will put in 840 clock hours (30 European credit points).

Working methods

  • Lectures and practical work 4-5 days per week
  • Exams
  • Company visits and guest lectures
  • Exam re-sits (if necessary)

The teaching staff will divide students into groups for practical work and into teams for the project. The teams will be multidisciplinary: you will be working with students from different backgrounds.