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Fundamentals of Evolution, Biodiversity and Conservation


Admission requirements


Contact information

Coordinator: Prof. dr C.J. ten Cate


The EBC MSc-specialisation is based on the combined expertise of three separate institutes: IBL, CML and NCB-Naturalis. They each have their own expertise on, respectively, processes underlying evolutionary changes, conservation science and biodiversity. The Fundamentals course provides an introduction to these themes and how they are approached, to the institutes and to the researchers involved. It will provide students with some basic knowledge of the breath and scope of this MSc-specialisation. The full course will provide students with a broad kaleidoscope of subjects providing a background for later specialisation.

The course consist of 3 modules:

  1. The first module ‘Fundamentals of evolutionary change’, will introduce students to the wide variety of processes that give rise to evolutionary changes.
  2. The second module, ‘Fundamentals of conservation biology’, concentrates on the relationship between biodiversity and society, and deals with questions related to its conservation and sustainability.
  3. The third module ‘Richness of the world’ introduces the problems and concepts related to describing, studying and understanding biodiversity.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
The aim of this course is to provide students with an overview of the whole area covered by the MSc-program; to introduce them to various subjects and approaches, as well as to the research in the various institutes involved; to stimulate them to explore various subjects in more depth. It will also train some basic skills related to dealing with primary literature, scientific essay writing, giving presentations, and having a scientific discussion.

Final qualifications:
Having acquired basic knowledge on various subjects. Ability to formulate research questions, think critically, discuss concepts and ideas, and to present views in various ways.


The time schedule will be provided at the start of the course and will change from week to week. The course is full time.

Mode of instruction

This compulsory course is based on lectures, assignments and self study, using primary literature. Teachers from the various institutes will be involved.

Assessment method

Each module will provide a separate mark, which will be averaged to arrive at a final mark for the course. Testing will be done by various assignments (essay, oral presentation, etc.), which will vary by module. Participation in discussions might also contribute to the final mark.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

Primary literature (articles). Presentations on Blackboard.


via USIS

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


This course is compulsory for students in the EBC-specialisation and should, if possible, be done in the first year of their degree.