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Research Project


Admission requirements

Preferably students have successfully finished the Orientation course.
For orientation:
-Prepare yourself by visiting relevant websites and check out research themes
-Visit the internship market on 30 September 2022 for orientation and internship possibilities.
-Get in touch with teachers of the courses you find interesting and discuss internships possibilities
-Read the MSc research project booklet (BrightSpace > Opleiding Biologie > MSc Research Projects)
For registration:
Prior to the start the research project agreement form must be filled out in ProjectMAP.
ProjectMAP is the online administration tool for IBL research projects (agreements, evaluations and assessments). See below.


Research projects are an important part of the MSc programme. They allow you to closely interact with scientists in the field. The minimum time to be spent on research projects is 60 EC. MSc students are allowed to do two research projects. The main research project must be minimally 36 EC and must be carried out within one of the research groups that are involved in the student’s master specialisation. A second research project must be minimally 30 EC and is preferably carried out at a research institute or company abroad (or at least outside Leiden University). A single research project cannot exceed 60 EC.
In the first month the student will get acquainted with the research topic by reading scientific literature directly related to the research project, and by performing the first experiments under guidance of the direct supervisor. At the end of this period the student will present the research plan in a general work discussion of the department. The next months of the research project the student will perform experiments according to the plan, and keep up to date on the developments in the field by reading literature and participating in regular work discussions. At the end of the project, the student gives a public oral presentation followed by discussion to the relevant research group and hands in a MSc report.
The master research project is carried out in general at one of the biological institutes of the University of Leiden (IBL, CML, Naturalis). Students with a molecular oriented study program are also allowed to do a research project at the LUMC. Research projects at the Hortus or at other institutes of the Faculty of Science are allowed as well. External research projects e.g. in companies, at other universities or institutes in the Netherlands or abroad need to be approved by the Board of Examiners.
For further details see Master research project booklet on Brightspace (BrightSpace > Course Biology > MSc Research Projects).

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student has been able to:
1. Apply and analyse insight gained into the selected research field
2. Design and execute experiments independently within a particular research field.
3. Identify and reproduce scientific developments and conduct literature research in the field.
4. Devise and setup new methods, experiments and techniques.
5. Describe problem definition, hypothesis, analysis, interpretation and discussion in a clear manner. All experimental details are given and can directly be used for a publication.
6. Present research results for a scientific audience.


Research projects can be started at any time, however, keep in mind to contact staff or an external supervisor in time to find a project of interest.

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

During the research project, the student is a member of a research group and participates in the common scientific activities of the research group (such as work discussions) and lectures in the host institute (for instance IBL spotlight seminars). Theoretical and practical instructions will be provided by the daily supervisor. Consultation and feedback during the project is provided by the daily supervisor (weekly) and responsible supervisor (once a month).

Assessment method

The final mark for the MSc-research project is calculated as follows:

  • Oral presentations 10%

  • Written proposal 10%

  • Practical work 40%

  • MSc report 40%

For the assessment of the research project, two online assessmentshave to be completed in ProjectMAP by the first examiner and the second examiner (report only). The final grade is the weighted average of the sub scores.

Reading list

Check out the research topics app for a network of supervisors
Check out the research themes at the IBL
Check out the research groups and internships on the Naturalis website.
Check out the LUMC research themes
Visit the CML website, the Hortus website and the NIOO_KNAW website


Prior to the start a research project agreement form must be filled out in ProjectMAP:
-Go to and log in with your ULCN account. You could also log in via BrightSpace (BrightSpace > Opleiding Biologie > MSc Research Projects)
-Go to ‘Aanvragen’ and click on the tab MSc research project.
Contact the internships coordinator via

Via Usis. Note: make sure you use the correct class number for registration. For a research project at CML you have to register at a different code, see document registration in usis and codes.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.


Contact the internship coordinator via:

Education Office Biology


The final draft of the report needs to be submitted for a plagiarism check via the Brightspace course Opleiding Biologie > MSc Research Projects > Handing in MSc report, as well as in ProjectMAP