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Science Methodology (SCM)


Admission requirements

The course is meant for MSc and PhD students in any of the natural sciences who are performing scientific research projects.

Academic Development elective for all MSc students Chemistry and all MSc students Life Science and Technology. Available as an elective course for students in other MSc programmes.


During the BSc and MSc education, students learn lots of scientific facts, but do they know how science works? In this course the basic principles of the methodology used in the natural sciences are taught. The aim is to let the student contemplate on concepts like ‘truth’, ‘experiments’, ‘models’, ‘confirmation/falsification’ and make the student aware of the limitations of the ability to make objective observations. Also current practices, like the mechanisms of research funding, ‘publish or perish’ dogma and the importance of impact as well as integrity and ethics in science will be discussed.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • have a basic knowledge of the philosophy of science

  • have a basic understanding of modern scientific practices

  • can critically discuss aspects of the scientific enterprise orally as well as in writing

  • can critically discuss the relation of science and society orally as well as in writing


Schedule information can be found on the website of the MSc programmes Chemistry and LST.

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

Lectures, group discussions and essay writing.

Assessment method

Abstract assignment (25%), written exam (75%)

Reading list

Required reading materials (such as news clippings and opinion pieces) will be linked via Brightspace.


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.


Prof. Dr. M. Ubbink


Select the Monday lectures (H-code), one of the Thursday workshop groups (W-code) and the exam (T-code).

According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.