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Introduction Course


Admission requirements

Master students of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences.


This course aims to introduce students to the master programme Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPS) and the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR), provides tools to get the best out of their BPS programme, and prepares them for drug research at master level, including writing a research proposal.

The course is composed of 3 parts:
1. General introduction via a variety of classes to introduce the students to the master’s programme, including introduction lectures, lab safety, which is concluded by an exam, and a career symposium.
2. Introduction to the research at the LACDR division hosting the Research Project 1 (RP1) via interactive lectures by principal investigators of the division and student-led literature discussions. An active attitude and completion of a written assignment in preparation of the literature discussions are part of the overall assessment of the course. Details on the written assignment can be found on Brightspace.
3. Preparation for RP1 by gaining background knowledge from relevant literature in the field, defining study objectives, designing a research plan taking relevant responsible research conduct considerations into account, and writing a research proposal.

This course aims to:

  • Introduce the student to the BPS master programme, its content, and their possibilities within it.

  • Introduce the student to the standards and facilities of division of their RP1 and his/her supervisors.

  • Provide the student an overview of the state-of-the art research at the LACDR division of their RP1.

  • Teach the student about lab safety and responsible research conduct (including biosecurity and, if applicable, responsible use of animals in research).

  • Allow the student to gain the theoretical background and skills to write an original and well-structured research proposal.

  • Provide the student an overview of the variety of career opportunities after completion of the BPS master programme via alumni presentations during a Career Symposium.
    Note that the division-specific lectures are expert lectures and that hence the content might change every year.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student:

  • Is familiar with the content of the master programme and the options to tailor the programme to their own interests and related career opportunities.

  • Is familiar with the research conducted at and possibilities within the LACDR, CHDR, and the BioScience Park.

  • Has gained knowledge and understanding of the research standards and facilities at the LACDR division of their RP1.

  • Has gained knowledge and understanding of lab safety rules and is able to make a Task Risk Assessment (TRA) to eliminate risks and take proper safety measures to work safely in a laboratory setting.

  • Has gained knowledge and understanding about responsible research conduct, including biosecurity and the concept of dual-use research, and, if applicable responsible use of animals in laboratory research.

  • Has gained knowledge and understanding in a particular drug research field and the ability to develop original ideas for a research project.

  • Is able to write a well-structured research proposal.


This course is scheduled in September 2021 (semester 1, period 1) and February 2022 (semester 2, period 3) (shorter version without the division-specific part).

A detailed course schedule will be published on Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, tutorials, tutoring, and self-study.

Assessment method

The course will be concluded with several forms of assessment:

  • Part 1: Exam Lab Safety (a digital exam (pass/no pass).

  • Part 2: Attendance and active attitude of lectures and student-led literature discussions (Pass/ No Pass) and written assignment (Pass/ No Pass).

  • Part 3: Research proposal (graded 1-10, a minimum of a 6.0 must be obtained).

A pass needs to be obtained for all individual forms of assessment to successfully complete the course. The final grade will be based on the grade for the research proposal.

The final grade is expressed using an integer between 1 and 10 and can be rounded off/up to a half integer, with the exception of the grade 5.5. Final grades between 5.50 and 5.99 will be rounded up to 6.0. The final grade should be 6.0 to successfully complete this course.

Reading list

A reading list specific for each division and its Principal Investigators will be announced on Brightspace at the start of the course.


Application via uSis for both the course and exam is mandatory. Registration for the course closes 14 days before the start of the course or earlier when the maximum number of students is reached. Registration for the exam closes 7 days before the exam date or earlier when the maximum number of students is reached.


For general questions: coordinator Emily Ouwehand MA, study adviser BPS (

For questions about the division specific lectures:
Drug Discovery and Safety: Prof. Dr. Laura Heitman (
Systems Biomedicine and Pharmacology: Dr. A. Mashaghi Tabari (
BioTherapeutics: Dr. B.A. Slütter (


Students who start in February 2022 should join the division-specific lectures in September 2022 to participate in the correspondent assignment and to conclude the course. Students are recommended to watch the recorded lectures of the September 2021 course before start of RP1.

This information is without prejudice. Alterations can be made for next year.