What is up with the new IM master?

By Lotte van Dijck - 21 May 2024

As an active member of Intermate, I have noticed some confusion and questions surrounding the new IM master. Therefore, I wanted to clear up some of this confusion by asking you students what questions you had via an online survey and pose these questions in an interview to the two teachers who are involved in the creation of the new master: Frauke Behrendt and Johanna Höffken. Additionally, I will also reflect on these answers as well, and give you my own perspective on the new master. 

Let’s start with something that was most surprising to me, namely that the whole master IM is also being redesigned. This is not immediately clear, as the name of the master is still the same. While Johanna and Frauke did try to change the name, which received an enthusiastic response from the TU/e, it was not approved by the accreditation institution NVAO (an independent organisation that guards the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders). I think this is causing some confusion for students, or at least that was the case for me. However, the fact that all the courses of the other tracks of the IM masters need to be revised and re-approved makes me more excited about these new courses. Especially since the teachers have hopefully integrated some more sustainability aspects into their courses. This is something that both Johanna and Frauke assured would be the case during the interview.  

Practical questions 

Now let’s get the boring stuff out of the way and focus on the practical questions. 

What will your diploma say? 

Sustainability Transitions (Innovation Management) 

Necessity of prerequisite knowledge? 

Not necessary, also IM master will be redesigned and therefore the courses should be doable for Sustainable Innovation (SI) student 

New bachelor model will accommodate more towards IM methodologies.  

When will the courses be available on Osiris? 

All the courses and their course descriptions can be found on Osiris, just note that you set the year on 2024 otherwise they are not visible. 

What is the set-up of the new master? Click this link to go to schematic overview 

First year 

4 core courses that every IM student takes 

4 track courses 

4 courses chosen from other tracks 

Second year 

In the first semester of your second year, you can choose to: 

Do an international semester 


Do elective courses at the TU/e 

That can include an innovation space project 

And/or an internship, however, I do not know for how many ECTS this is 

Second semester: Thesis 

Can you continue your SI specialization? 

You can choose case studies in the core courses that align with your SI specialization 

You can do elective courses of other departments if you do not go on international semester  

You can do courses that align with your SI specialization during your international semester 

Personally, I think that it is a shame that you need to either extend your studies or give up your international semester in order to continue with your SI specialization. This is a shame since there is not as much free elective space as in the old IS master. It should be noted here that it is also possible to continue your SI specialization abroad, however, from my own experience, this is harder to do due to (sometimes unknown) prerequisites for these technical courses. I think that this combination of IS courses and technical courses is really valuable and unique and I am sad that this will become harder to do for students in the future. I do not think that choosing a case study that aligns with your specialization gives the same amount of technical knowledge as a technical course. However, where there is a will there is a way, so I think the students that feel the same way as I do will be able to shape the master according to their preferences. What I do like is that it is no longer obligated to go abroad, and as a student you have more choices in how to fill in the first semester of your second year. 

Why a new master 

Now that these practical questions are out of the way. Let’s start with explaining the reason behind the integration of the master Innovation Sciences into the master Innovation Management. According to Johanna and Frauke there are three main reasons why the degrees were combined, the first one being that according to the accreditation by NVAO the IM master lacks sustainability in its program. The second reason is that according to TU/e management the IS master does not have enough students that enter the master each year. Lastly there are quite a lot of students that follow courses from both degrees, or, students who are combining them in some form. The combination of the two masters, IS and IM, would address the problems put forward by the TU/e and the NVAO. Additionally, it would also accommodate students, as some already show an interest in both studies. Therefore, it was chosen to combine the two masters into one new one.  

Mindset difference?  

One big thing that seems to worry students according to the survey I sent out is the fact that we as students experience a difference in mindset between IE and SI students. There could be different reasons for this experience, I think. Firstly, the fact that the focus of the two bachelors Industrial engineering and SI. Where IE focusses more on internal company processes often with a for-profit mindset. SI focusses more on innovation processes from a broader societal, economic and policy perspective. This difference of interest, therefore, leads to these students having different views of the world, both of which are valid. However, the difference between these views has created friction amongst these students it seems, as these views tend to propose different answers for the same questions. Additionally, this friction is also fuelled by a long history of prejudice and stereotypes between the two study associations Intermate (IS) and Industria (IE). Perhaps more often than not this is ungrounded and is also often unquestioned by students, or at least this is something that I caught myself doing. What is interesting about this friction is the fact that it is not felt by department members, both Johanna and Frauke stated. They also emphasize that working with people from different backgrounds and mindsets is also central for all of us who want to make change happen, so we are hoping that working together will be a good learning experience for everyone. 


Due to the fact that the whole master is redesigned, also the core courses and the track courses had to be re-evaluated and accepted by the department. Frauke and Johanna state that this therefore also means that it is the intention that all courses should incorporate sustainability, to some extent. However, due to this redesign changes of IS courses were also needed, so some questions about the new courses were asked. Both Johanna and Frauke were very excited about this because the new track profits from incorporating the best parts of existing courses and combining them with completely new design of courses. This means that elements of the old IS master found their entry into the new master, both into the core courses, and the track. Additionally, new aspects and educational set-ups, approaches and designs were also added. What they were a little bit sad about is the fact that there is less specific focus on historical perspectives of innovation, however, luckily, this will be tackled in the courses.  

Overall, they are super excited about the new courses in the track. I asked them if they had any specific courses in mind that they were excited about, and Frauke mentioned the green digital transitions course. In this course two themes that are often discussed separately are brought together, namely digital data changes and transition to a greener society. Bringing these two together will be really interesting especially with the different backgrounds of the students in the master, students who know about programming and students well versed in transitions and justice. With this combination she is really excited to see the solutions that these groups will come up with. 

I also asked what courses from other tracks they were excited about. For me one course stood out, namely the managing team dynamics and team performance course is very valuable for our students. As there is a big chance that we as students will work in multidisciplinary groups, knowing about team dynamics would be a valuable skill.  

While I am sad that the IS master is disappearing, I do think that the new master can accommodate the specific interests of SI students as well. What was really reassuring for me is the fact that the whole master is being revised, meaning that all the courses that are more in line with IM have been redesigned. With this revision the focus on sustainability will hopefully become more prevalent than before. What is also nice about the new master is the fact that you are not “forced” to go abroad anymore. I hope this article has answered your burning questions about the new master. While change is hard, sometimes it is good, and I think that this new master might become an example of good change.  


Intermate is the study association of the bachelor Technical Innovation Sciences, the majors Sustainable Innovation and Psychology & Technology and the masters Human Technology Interaction and Innovation Sciences.


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