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Systems Microbiology


Admission requirements

This course is for MSc students in Biology.


The Master Course in Systems Microbiology offers a comprehensive lecture series covering key aspects of microbial life. The series delves into crucial topics, including wastewater treatment, global nutrient cycles, and the establishment of beneficial or devastating interactions with other organisms, providing students with a holistic understanding of microbial systems. The goal is to equip students with a systems-level understanding of microbiological phenomena, fostering a deeper appreciation for the functioning of microbial systems and planet earth as a whole.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the complex systems where microbes are present
  2. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the functioning of microbes in larger communities and contexts
  3. Integrate the information provided by specialists in the field during the lectures with knowledge gained from the textbook and scientific publications
  4. Formulate critical questions and discuss possible answers about the information obtained during the course
  5. Evaluate curriculum vitae of the speakers and extract the red lines in their careers


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, self-study, group assignment.

Assessment Method

Exam 70%, group exercise 30%.

Minimum grade:
Courses require a minimum, unrounded 5.5 grade to complete.

If a course has 2 or more written partial exams, the minimum grade only applies to the weighted average of the exams.
For partial grades from components other than exams (e.g. practicals, seminars, writing assignments), the bottom grade does apply to the individual components.

Please refer to the Student Charter for an overview of regulations.

Reading list

The textbook Brock Biology of Microorganisms (16th edition) is required for this course.


All students have 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: Prof.Dr. D. Claessen