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Advanced Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology


Admission requirements

This course is designed for MSc students specializing in genetics, molecular biology, and microbiology at the Institute of Biology. It is recommended that students have prior experience in these fields.


Molecular genetics forms the foundation of modern research in the life sciences. The rapid advancement of biotechnologies has significantly contributed to our understanding and transformed our daily lives. In this advanced course, we will explore cutting-edge knowledge in the field and revisit important historical advancements. By doing so, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the progression of molecular genetics from the past to the present and future.

The course will cover a wide range of topics, including:
1. Recombinant DNA technology
2. DNA sequencing
3. Gene expression analysis
4. Epigenetics
5. Genome editing
6. Synthetic biology
7. Bioprocessing
8. Omics technologies
9. Bioinformatics
10. Applications of molecular genetics and biotechnology in medicine, agriculture, and industry.

Furthermore, ethical considerations in genetic engineering and biotechnology will be emphasized. Due to time constraints, please note that practical training in laboratory techniques and data analysis will not be provided. However, it is expected that students will gain a clearer understanding of which MSc internship program they would like to pursue after completing this course. The ultimate goal is for students to comprehend how this knowledge can be applied in research.

Students will be invited to form study groups to encourage active participation and independent learning. These groups will enhance students' problem-solving skills, teamwork abilities, and capacity for independent learning. Each small group of 3-5 students will be assigned a specific topic from the course curriculum. They will be tasked with creating a flyer to communicate their topic to the public. Further details will be provided on the Brightspace platform at the beginning of the course. At a later stage, the most popular teams, as determined by student votes, will have the opportunity to deliver public presentations.

Additionally, all students will be encouraged to attend regular scientific seminars and career-development sessions at the Institute of Biology. These events will serve as a source of inspiration and broaden students' perspectives on their future career paths.

By the end of this course, students are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of molecular genetics, its applications, and the ethical implications associated with genetic engineering and biotechnology.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of modern methodologies utilized in biotechnology, with a particular emphasis on genetics.
2. Apply state-of-the-art methodologies to address and solve problems within the realm of biotechnology.
3. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of specific technologies and effectively justify their implementation in various contexts.
4. Apply the acquired knowledge and skills to effectively address and solve biotechnology-related problems.

By achieving these course objectives, students will develop a strong foundation in advanced biotechnological methodologies, enabling them to employ cutting-edge techniques and make informed decisions when faced with real-world challenges in biotechnology.


On Tuesdays from 28 November 2023, and continuing until February 13 2024.

To access the timetables for all courses and degree programs at Leiden University, please use the [MyTimetable] ( tool (login required). Any teaching activities that you have successfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimetable. Additionally, any timetables you manually add will be saved and shown the next time you log in.

MyTimetable offers the convenience of integrating your timetable with popular calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and other smartphone calendar apps. Any changes made to the timetable will be automatically synced with your calendar. If desired, you can enable email notifications for timetable changes in the "Settings" section (after logging in).

For more information, please watch the instructional video or visit the "help-page" within MyTimetable. Note that Joint Degree students from Leiden/Delft will need to merge their two separate timetables into one. A video tutorial is available to guide you through the merging process.

Mode of instruction

The course will be delivered through a combination of the following methods:

  • Lectures: Faculty-led instructional sessions providing theoretical knowledge and insights.

  • Self-study1: Independent study to deepen understanding and explore course materials.

  • Group-study task: Collaborative analysis and discussion of relevant research papers and contents and finish a task together.

  • Invited seminars2: Guest speakers will deliver seminars to broaden students' perspectives.

  1. Self-paced and not included as part of the course evaluation.
  2. Optional learning activities and not included as part of the course evaluation.

Assessment method

The course assessment will consist of the following components:
I. Mid-term quiz – 20% of the final grade (minimum score required: 5.6)
II. Small-group activity – 30% of the final grade (minimum score required: 6.0)
III. Attendance – 10% of the final grade (minimum requirement: 80% show-up rate)
Final written exam – 30% of the final grade (minimum score required: 5.6)

Inspection and feedback on the examination:
Date: March 2024; the exact date will be scheduled in consultation with the students.
Note to all students: please provide your evaluation and feedback to us, and it will help us to improve this course for future years. A big thanks to you all in advance!

Reading list

For Genetics, please refer to:
For Molecular Genetics, please refer to:


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.


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