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Research Project Biology


Admission requirements

Preferably students have successfully finished the Orientation course. 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 MSc program, not in the least because they allow you to closely interact with scientist 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 research project must be 36 EC. The research project has to take place in one of the research groups of the Institute Biology Leiden (IBL), Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) or Naturalis Biodiversity Center. A research project within one of the ‘Life Science’ research groups of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC), at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) or at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) may substitute for a research project within the IBL pending prior approval by the Board of Examiners.
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 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 more information, see the ‘Biology Master Research Projects booklet’ on Blackboard.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
To obtain a more detailed insight into the selected research field, and to obtain training in experimental 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 staff or an external supervisor in time to find a project of interest.

Daily from 9.00-17.00

Mode of instruction

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

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 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-report must be assessed by a second independent examiner, who should co-sign the Evaluation Form.


The research project agreement form, the Biology Master Research Projects booklet, 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


  • Contact 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. Note: make sure you use the correct class number for registration. For a research project at CML you have to register at a different code, see document registration in usis and codes.

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: