nl en

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 20 September 2024 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 and approved 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 Biology Master programmes at Leiden University. During a Research Project, students will learn to independently design, plan, and conduct scientific research. All aspects of scientific research, from reading relevant literature and formulating a research question up to reporting and presenting of the results will be addressed. Throughout their Research Project, the student is an integral part of the host research group, engaging actively in the collective research endeavours of the group, which include collaborative work discussions, and attending lectures organised within the host institute, such as the IBL Spotlight seminars.

Students should spent at least 60 EC on (a) Research Project(s), and the total may not exceed 90 EC. Students are allowed to do two research projects.
At least one project must be within the research specialization for at least 36 EC.
A second project may be within or outside the chosen specialization, for at least 30 EC.

Students can carry out their Research Project(s) at one of the institutes participating in the Leiden University Biology education programme: IBL, CML, Hortus, or Naturalis. Also allowed are: research groups within other institutes at the Faculty of Science which focus on life science-related research, the LUMC, the NIOO, academic institutions other than Leiden University, companies, government institutions, and other institutions with scientific activities.

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.
For all rules regarding Research Projects, read the Master research project booklet on Brightspace (BrightSpace > Course Biology > MSc Research Projects).

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student is 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. Clearly describe the problem definition, hypothesis, methodology, data acquisition and analysis, interpretation, and discussion in the format of a research article suitable for a journal relevant to the research topic.
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. Also see the yearly schedule in the e-prospectus.

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%

The Research Project is assessed by the first examiner/ responsible supervisor. The report is also assessed by the second examiner. The student needs to complete an evaluation of the supervision in order to receive a grade.
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 and approved in ProjectMAP:
-Go to and log in with your ULCN account.
-Go to ‘Aanvragen’ and click on the tab MSc research project (make sure to select CML if your project is supervised by a CML staff member).


Contact via:


The final draft of the report needs to be submitted in 2 places: for a plagiarism check via the Brightspace course Opleiding Biologie > MSc Research Projects > Handing in MSc report, and in ProjectMAP.