Outline of the programme 2015-2016

Outline of the Master track 'Evolution, Biodiversity and Conservation'


The MSc specialisation consists of:

  • a theoretical part (30-60 EC)
  • one or more research projects (60-90 EC).
The programme includes several compulsory components, mostly at the start and the end of the programme, and can be expanded with a wide choice of elective elements. The mandatory components in the 1st semester aim to provide students with the theoretical and practical background needed for an efficient start of the Research Project at the end of this semester. The Research Projects are the actual core of the MSc programme. Students will be member of a research group of their choice and work full time on a specific project. Each project will be finished with an MSc thesis written in the form of a manuscript for an international scientific journal. At least one but preferably two Research Projects are part of the study programme. The Specialisation Research Project has to be done in one of the IBL, CML or Naturalis departments that contribute to the chosen specialisation. Research projects can range from experimental studies on the molecular mechanisms of development or on animal behaviour to collection-based research on biodiversity or field projects in the Netherlands or elsewhere (e.g. terrestrial and marine studies in Southeast Asia). Students are encouraged to do an external project at an institute abroad. All Research Projects require prior approval by the Board of Examiners through approval of the individual study plan of a student and approval of the research agreement.

Compulsory components:
The compulsory theoretical components consist of at least 30 EC, and the minimum time to be spent on research projects is 60 EC. The specialisation Research Project should be minimally 36 EC, and a second Research Project should be at least 30 EC.

Electives/Optional elements:
The optional part of the programme can consist of either additional courses or lectures, or an extension of the duration of a research project. A list of approved elective courses is available on the e-guide. For courses outside the Leiden University biology programme and for all research projects, prior approval of the Board of Examiners is required.
Note: maximally 12 EC of optional theoretical elements of level < 400 are permitted and max 15 EC non-biology courses.

Approval of programme

The individual study programme consisting of choices of courses and one or two research projects must have prior approval of the Board of Examiners.

Short description of the Courses

Courses cover a broad range of relevant subjects and provide in-depth theoretical knowledge as well as training in practical skills and advanced research tools. The course Orientation on Evolution Biodiversity and Conservation provides a state of the art overview of the scientific research and research methods used in the departments participating in this MSc specialisation.

The course “Genomic Architecture” aims at training students to become “genome-enabled” biologists by giving an overview of the structure, function and evolution of genomes. In addition, students are trained in ‘Advanced Statistics’ and follow at least one specialised course providing students with an integrated picture on specific topics for their training in scientific research during the Research Project(s). For the Top Lectures course, internationally leading scientists in fields relevant for the programme are invited for special lectures and discussion with students.

At the beginning of the second semester (in year 1 or 2) students prepare individually from an advanced text book for a specialised examination. Available book titles are provided in the electronic study guide (e-prospectus). A variety of additional courses from other MSc specialisations in Biology and from other Msc programmes at the Faculty of Science and LUMC can be chosen as electives. For details (description, literature, exam dates and further calendar events) about the different courses see the e-prospectus and Blackboard.

Last Modified: 10-07-2015