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EBC Research Project


Admission requirements

A BSc in Biology or related subject (University or HLO), with a solid theoretical and practical training in Behavioral Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, Environmental Biology, Zoology, and sufficient knowledge of Mathematics and Statistics. Preferably students have successfully finished the course EBC Fundamentals. They should have their provisional EBC MSc program approved by the Board of Examiners.

Prior to the start of each research project students should fill in the agreement form (see Blackboard) jointly with the supervisor(s) of the project and submit it to the Educational Office, room 5.5.14b.


Research projects are an important part of the EBC MSc program, not in the least because they allow you to closely interact with scientists in the field who may be your future PhD supervisors, or who will write reference letters for your future job applications. Successful research projects will greatly enhance your CV, and are thus important for your future career.

The minimum time to be spent on research projects is 60 EC. However, we encourage MSc students to do two research projects of minimally 36 EC, one compulsory internal research project, to be carried out with one of the partners in the program: IBL, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) or NCB Naturalis; and a second research project preferably at a research institute or company abroad (or at least outside Leiden). To stimulate our MSc students to go abroad, students can apply for an IBL MSc travel award. More information on this award, or a list of additional funding possibilities for research projects abroad can be found on Blackboard at the information on MSc Research Projects in the course folder “Opleiding Biologie/Teaching Programme BSc and MSc Biology”.
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 first month the student will present the research plan in a general lab meeting 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 meetings. At the end of the project, the student writes a MSc thesis presenting the results in a way comparable to a scientific paper. In addition, a public oral presentation to the relevant research group will be given, followed by discussion.

For more information, see the ‘Guidelines for Master Research projects’ on Blackboard.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
To obtain a more detailed insight into the selected research field, and to obtain training in experimental EBC research, with the final aim to become an independent researcher.

Final qualifications:
An advanced MSc student that is able to independently plan and perform experiments, analyse results, and keep track of scientific developments in the field.


Research projects can be started at any time, however, keep in mind to contact EBC staff or an external supervisor well in advance of the preferred starting date to find a project of interest and to allow time for preparation.

Daily from 9.00-17.00, or depending on the project, as agreed between supervisor and student.

Mode of instruction

Theoretical and practical instructions will be provided by the direct supervisor and by EBC staff.

Assessment method

The final mark for the MSc-research project is calculated as follows:

  • Oral presentations (proposal and final talk) 10 %

  • Written proposal 10%

  • Practical work 40%

  • MSc thesis 40%
    The research project is finalized by sending a completed evaluation form (see Blackboard) and an examination card, both signed by the responsible supervisor, to the Educational Office. Each MSc-thesis must be assessed by a second independent examiner, who should co-sign the Evaluation Form.


A research project form, the guidelines for MSc research projects, the evaluation form and information on the IBL MSc travel award, and other funding possibilities for a research project abroad can be found on Blackboard in the course folder “Opleiding Biologie/Teaching Programme BSc and MSc Biology”.

Reading list

Scientific literature provided by the supervisor, supplemented by relevant literature identified by the student.


Contact EBC staff in time for MSc research projects. Prior to the start, a research project form (Blackboard) must be filled out together with the supervisor, and submitted to the Educational Office, room 5.5.14b.

via USIS

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

Contact information

Please address any additional questions regarding the rules for research projects to