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Advanced Academic Skills and Career Orientation


This information is without prejudice. Alterations can be made for next year

Please note that if you started your master programme before September 2018, you do not need to follow this course. You need to pass the Introduction Course of 5 ECTS, the course Scientific Conduct (1 ECTS) and the course Lectures and Colloquia (1 ECTS). For information on these courses, look at the e-study guide 2017-2018.


During the Master’s programme Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPS), students are trained to become the drug researchers of the future. To perform high-quality research, a scientist needs to master an extensive set of academic skills at an advanced level. These include e.g. academic writing skills, presentation skills, having a constructive and critical approach to research data, raising research questions, and writing research proposals. Moreover, one should develop learning skills to be able to make self-directed or autonomous conscious choices for his/her own professional development.

During the master BPS students can tailor their programme to their personal interests and career ambition. There is a wide span of options for courses and the types of research projects that can done and hence it is important that students learn to choose wisely in the light of their future career. The activities within the Career Orientation module of the course are meant to stimulate students to undertake a variety of activities that will help them to shape their programme in the most optimal way for a successful start of their career on the job market.

‘Research-based learning’ is core to the programme. By active participation in on-going research projects as full members of the research group students develop a critical, inquisitive and self-reflective attitude and the skills to systematically analyse scientific issues. In addition to general research skills, oral communication and writing skills are trained on-the-job. Moreover, during dedicated lectures and workgroups as part of this course students are trained in academic English and proposal writing skills. As part of the course students are also stimulated to attend the oral presentations (colloquia) on the research projects of peers as well as symposia organised by „Aesculapius” or the LACDR, and conferences to stimulate the development of student’s Academic Skills and to attain an overall view on drug research. Moreover, they learn how to critically evaluate the content of a scientific presentation, how to raise questions, and how to provide feedback on the presentation skills of the presenter. Hereto, students need to collect AASCO points.

Understanding the principals of good scientific conduct and the integrity of the researcher is vital for performing reliable drug research. Researchers are expected to finance, design, conduct and report scientific research in a morally just way. As part of the Scientific Conduct module of the course students will be introduced to Codes of Scientific Conduct and the (inter)national rules and regulations and will be made aware of subjectivity and dilemmas in the scientific research process, and how to deal with specific issues.


  • Prof. dr. Miranda van Eck

  • Mrs. Emily Ouwehand MA

  • Prof. dr. Hubertus Irth (Scientific Conduct)

  • Dr. Ilse Huijskens (Career Orientation)

Admission requirements

Master students Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Registration for the Science Career Service workshops or career colleges is mandatory via the Science Career Service Center. There is no need to register beforehand for colloquia and LACDR symposia or seminars, but make sure to fill out and have the evaluation forms for colloquia signed or sign the attendance list for symposia and seminars. For conferences a certificate of attendance should be provided.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, work groups, and attendance of colloquia, conferences, symposia and workshops.
The colloquia, symposia and workshops are announced via email and blackboard by the study adviser. The colloquia are announced at least 2 weeks prior to the session. The symposia and workshops are announced at least 1 month prior to the session.

Instructions are provided via the AASCO Blackboard module.

Course objectives

The student:

  • learns about important competences that Master’s in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences require (e.g. presentation skills, critical evaluation of data and raising questions).

  • will learn how to write a research proposal (to be graded as part of the Introduction Course) and plan and design experiments, and academic presenting and writing

  • will be introduced to Codes of Scientific Conduct and the (inter)national rules and regulations of research as an aid in developing good scientific conduct

  • will become aware of subjectivity and dilemmas in the scientific research process by reflection on and discussion of model cases and cases from the student’s own research environment

  • will practice critical evaluation and discussion (in the English language) of issues that transcend biopharmaceutical research

  • will learn how to make conscience choices for his/her study plan in relation to personal wishes and career perspectives

Assessment method

Pass/no pass
Successful completion of all mandatory assignments.
Portfolio has to be handed in at the end of the Master.

The portfolio has to be comprised of:
-Scientific Conduct assignments
-Career Orientation assignments
-English test
-Proof of activities adding up to 20 AASCO points

The AASCO points can be earned in several ways:
a. By attending the oral presentations (of Research Project 1 or 2) of master’s students of BPS. (1 oral presentation = 1 AASCO point; at least 10 oral presentations of students of BPS should to be attended). Students following the SBB specialisation may attend SBB colloquia, with a maximum of 5.
b. By attending seminars organized by the LACDR. Announcements will be made via the Blackboard module. (1 seminar = 1 colloquium point; in total, a maximum of 2 points can be obtained in this way).
c. By attending an approved scientific conference or symposia organized by „Aesculapius” or the LACDR (1 conference/symposium day = 2 AASCO points; at least 1 conference/symposium should be attended and a maximum of 3 is allowed)
d. By attending workshops and/or career colleges of the Science Career Service (1 workshop = 2 AASCO points; at least one workshop/career college should be attended and a maximum of 3 is allowed)

Master students in BPS attending colloquia or LACDR seminars are obliged to fill out an evaluation form in order to earn colloquium points. The form is available on the AASCO module. Colloquium points will only be provided if the form is filled out completely, including a well-defined question, student name, student number and signature of LACDR staff member. Raising a question during the colloquia is mandatory.

After following a scientific conference or symposium or a science career service workshop the corresponding reflection assignment should be completed and added to the portfolio.

Timetable (Scientific Conduct)

Parts of the course are planned during the BPS Introduction course (e.g. the Scientific Conduct module of the course and Academic English) and start in September and February.

The other activities can be undertaken throughout the duration of the Master programme and students make their own planning of activities but should adhere to deadlines for handing in their assignments. The deadlines can be found on the Blackboard-module of this course.