About the Tesla Minor

Tesla minor is an interdisciplinary and collaborative program that challenges you to address a complex real-world problem using academic, co-creation, consulting and systems thinking methods. You will also participate in workshops, lectures, coaching, theater and a sports program to help you develop your personal and professional skills. As a co-creator of this unique learning experience, you will be part of a committee and help organize parts of the program. 

You will have full-time access to your own office space at Startup Village Amsterdam, where most of the activities will take place. You will also visit other relevant locations for excursions, training sessions and networking.  

Tesla minor is a 30 EC full-time program that is offered in the second semester (February – July) of the second year of your Masters’ program. You can apply if you are enrolled in a 2-year MSc program at a Natural Sciences department at the UvA (FNWI) or another university.

What will you learn?

  • Continuously learning and adapting to new knowledge, perspectives, and tools in order to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and approaches to address societal challenges.
  • Developing an empathetic and inclusive approach to working with diverse groups of people, including those from different cultures, backgrounds, and disciplines.
  • Combining, structuring and analyzing complex information from a diverse range of (academic and non-academic) sources.
  • Building resilience and adaptability to navigate uncertainty and overcome challenges in complex and dynamic environments.
  • Building strong networks and relationships with stakeholders across various sectors (e.g., government, non-profits, private sector) to leverage resources and expertise to address societal challenges.
  • Demonstrating leadership skills, including the ability to inspire and motivate others towards a common vision, while also being open to feedback and collaboration.
  • Developing project management skills to effectively plan, execute and evaluate initiatives aimed at addressing societal challenges.
  • Practicing self-care and prioritizing work-life balance in order to maintain personal well-being.
  • Embracing a growth mindset, which involves embracing challenges, persevering through setbacks, and seeing failures as opportunities to learn and grow.


In the Tesla minor, most of your time will be spent on your project. However, you will also participate in – and co-organize –  a wide variety of training sessions, workshops, lecturers and assignments to help you with your project work and to prepare you for life after university. A few examples of these activities are:

  • Lectures: Guest speakers from all sorts of disciplines provide insights on science and society.
  • Workshops and training sessions: Information Management, Systems Thinking, Theater, Storytelling, Visual Thinking, Efficient Meetings, Project Management, Communication, Project Planning, Emotional Intelligence and many more.
  • Sports: On top of the normal work week, students participate in a specialized Tesla sports program, designed in cooperation with the University Sports Center to encourage physical health and team building.

An example of a typical week of Tesla can be found here.

Interested to know how Tesla-alumni experienced the Tesla minor? Visit the former Tesla student page.

Is Tesla for me?

As a Tesla student, you:

  • Have a strong desire to create a positive impact on society using your scientific knowledge and skills.
  • Seek opportunities to apply your academic background outside of traditional academia and make a tangible difference in the world.
  • Are excited to collaborate with a partner organization on a real-world societal challenge that requires interdisciplinary solutions.
  • Recognize the value of improving your professional and interpersonal skills and are committed to actively explore and developing them.
  • Want to work in an interdisciplinary team environment where diverse perspectives and expertise are leveraged to drive progress towards a common goal.
  • Want to embrace the opportunity to go beyond your comfort zone, take calculated risks, and learn from both successes and failures.
  • Are motivated to collaborate together in a strong community and make the minor a memorable, educative and impactful experience.
  • Are prepared to commit to an intensive 5-month program and have a relevant track record in both your academic and extracurricular pursuits.

If this sounds like the minor for you, apply here.