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Orientation on Evolutionary Biology


Admission requirements

This course is for MSc students in Biology.


The module “Orientation on Evolutionary Biology” offers a kaleidoscopic overview of the field of Evolutionary Biology, with emphasis on those aspects for which the three Leiden partner institutes (IBL, CML, Naturalis) are particularly strong, namely: (1) evolutionary systematics (phylogeny); (2) population genetics applied to conservation; (3) urban evolution; (4) character evolution; (5) evo-devo, and (6) speciation. The students will receive lectures and a practical in the afternoons. These provide the students with an overview of the research fields covered by the MSc-program. There will be ample opportunity to learn about the collections, the labs, and other joint facilities of the three institutes. The lectures and practical will be given by a broad range of scientists from all three institutes, and will all refer to research carried out in this field. There will also be several opportunities to interact socially with class mates and instructors.

Course objectives

  • The student will be able to list the research fields and explain the basic concepts and the key scientific questions connected each research fields presented.

  • The student will be able to illustrate the research methods used within the research groups participating in the MSc specialization.

  • The student will be able to choose a first MSc research project and to plan a concept program for the two years’ MSc specialization.

  • The student will be able to design a mini research proposal and present this


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

The students will write a short essay on a topic of choice and present this in a 3-5 minute pitch. Both should include description of the topic and its basic concept, a chosen scientific research question, a proposal (methods, material) how to answer this, justification of choice made and the potential utilization.

Reading list

None required.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Coordinator: Dr. dr. A.A.E. van der Geer,