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Project Management for Scientists


Admission requirements

Bachelor's degree in science


This course teaches master's and PhD students how to successfully manage the entire life cycle of scientific projects from the scientist’s perspective.

The course starts with the formulation of scientific visions and strategies and continues with competitive proposal writing skills and the establishment of scientific requirements. The central part of the course covers the classical project management approaches to organizing, planning, and executing a scientific project. The last part is focused on communication, personnel issues and time management. In practical classes, you will apply the approaches discussed in the lectures. Presentations and written assignments will improve your communication skills.

The lectures and exercises will cover the following topics:

  • Scientific projects

  • Scientific vision and strategy

  • Project definition

  • Science requirements

  • Proposal planning and organization

  • Work breakdown structure

  • Cost and schedule estimates

  • Team formation and hiring

  • Project organization and control

  • Schedule and time management

  • Risk management

  • Communication

  • Typical project problems

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to organize scientific projects using modern project management approaches.

In particular, students will be able to:

  • Formulate visions and strategies for scientific projects

  • Organize a scientific project

  • Develop a work-breakdown structure and deduce time and budget estimates from it

  • Identify risks and develop a prioritized risk mitigation plan

  • Evaluate projects based on given schedule and budget information

  • Communicate effectively

  • Propose effective solutions to typical project problems

Soft skills

In this course, students will be trained in the following behaviour-oriented skills:

  • Structured and result-oriented thinking (structure, modulated thinking, computational thinking, programming)

  • Project management (planning, scope, boundaries, result-orientation)

  • Self-regulation (independence, self-esteem, aware of own goals, motives and capacities)

  • Verbal communication (presenting, speaking, listening)

  • Written communication (writing skills, reporting, summarizing)

  • Creative thinking (resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box)


See Astronomy master schedules

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Practical classes

  • Exercises

Assessment method

  • Oral exam: 60%

  • Practical classes participation: 20%

  • Homework assignments: 20%


Brightspace will be used to communicate with students and to share lecture slides, homework assignments, and any extra materials. You must enroll on uSis before the first lecture. To have access, you need a student ULCN account.

Reading list

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management' by Eric Verzuh Recommended


Via uSis. More information about signing up for your classes can be found here. Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Lecturer: Prof.dr. C.U. (Christoph) Keller


PhD students, postdocs and faculty of Leiden University are welcome to attend.