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Science Methodology (SCM)


Admission requirements

The course is meant for MSc and PhD students in any of the natural sciences who are performing scientific research projects.

Obligatory course for all MSc students Chemistry and all MSc students Life Science and Technology. Available as an elective course for students in other MSc programmes.


During the BSc and MSc education, students learn lots of scientific facts, but do they know how science works? In this course the basic principles of the methodology used in the natural sciences are taught. The aim is to let the student contemplate on concepts like ‘truth’, ‘experiments’, ‘models’, ‘confirmation/falsification’ and make the student aware of the limitations of the ability to make objective observations. Also current practices, like the mechanisms of research funding, ‘publish or perish’ dogma and the importance of impact as well as integrity and ethics in science will be discussed.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • have a basic knowledge of the philosophy of science

  • have a basic understanding of modern scientific practices

  • can critically discuss aspects of the scientific enterprise orally as well as in writing

  • can critically discuss the relation of science and society orally as well as in writing


Schedule information can be found on the website of the MSc programmes Chemistry and LST.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, group discussions and essay writing.

Assessment method

Abstract assignment (25%), written exam (75%)

Reading list

Alan Chalmers (2013), What Is This Thing Called Science, third or fourth edition (both acceptable), Open University Press. ISBN 9780335262786.
Further required reading materials (such as news clippings and opinion pieces) will be linked via Brightspace.


Register for this course via uSis. Select the Monday lectures (H-code), one of the Thursday workshop groups (W-code, groups SM1-4) and the exam (T-code).


Dr. R.W. Runhardt, Prof. Dr. M. Ubbink


According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.