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Research training project


Admission requirements

MSc students Chemistry or LST. Before the start of the research training project, the student has attended the mandatory safety instructions (introduction MSc Chemistry/LST in September and February each year), including a fire fighting practical instruction for students without a BSc from the Leiden University Faculty of Science.


This course description covers all types of research training projects in the MSc programmes Chemistry and Life Science & Technology (LST). The amount of research training is dependent on the choices made in the individual MSc programme. Students can choose to split up the research training component into multiple projects. The largest project is called the major research project and should encompass at least 40 EC (30 EC for BS, SCS and EDU-60) and maximum 60 EC. The major research project should be carried out within one of the research groups in the LIC, or for LST students at one of the associated institutes (LACDR, IBL, LUMC, NKI and ErasmusMC). The major research project is concluded with a public presentation called the Thesis Talk.
Minor research projects should comprise a minimum of 20 EC and should be independent of the major research project. Both projects may be carried out in the same general field of research, but should not be supervised by the same people or overlap too much in content. For a minor research project, students are encouraged to look outside of the university and apply for a research project at a company or abroad. External research projects are guided by an internal supervisor and an external supervisor at the host institute or company. Prior permission from the Board of Examiners is required for projects outside of the LIC for Chemistry students and for projects outside the LIC or one of the associated institutes (LACDR, IBL, LUMC, NKI and ErasmusMC) for LST students. A minor research project can only be started after the major research project has been completed (including Thesis Talk).
The research training project trains students to independently conduct scientific research. The rules and guidelines for the research training project are explained on the MSc website.

Course objectives

At the end of the research training project the student

  • can perform a literature study on a topic of research.

  • recalls information and understands theoretical concepts from textbooks and primary literature that pertains to the topic of research.

  • can apply theory to predict potential outcomes of experiments and explain results.

  • can plan research and perform experiments within an appropriate time frame.

  • has the (experimental/computer) skills to apply standard research procedures.

  • can solve procedural problems or difficulties.

  • can design an experiment to test a hypothesis.

  • can make a relevant original contribution to the project.

  • can produce reliable, significant results.

  • can work responsibly.

  • shows appropriate scientific responsibility and a critical attitude towards own work.

  • can analyse results and critically evaluate their validity and accuracy.

  • can critically compare and contrast their own results to related results by others.

  • can formulate scientifically sound conclusions.

  • can effectively communicate research progress and results to colleagues, supervisors and experts.

  • can independently write an accurate report on performed research within an appropriate timeframe.

  • can present a summary of research, results and conclusions to a group of fellow students and external experts.

  • shows an appropriate work attitude (e.g. being on time and well-prepared, working appropriate hours).

  • functions appropriately as a member of a research team (e.g. helps others when required and is courteous and respectful towards others).

Mode of instruction

Practical work, literature search, self-study, training in reporting, discussions and presentations.

Assessment method

The final assessment is based on:

  • observation of practical work, analysis of results, attitude, independence and creativity

  • evaluation of a written thesis about the practical work

  • evaluation of an oral presentation (Thesis Talk for major research project)

As a guideline, an amount of time equal to 10% of the EC of the project is allocated for writing the report (e.g. 6 EC, one month, for a 60 EC project). If the student takes more than 50% of the time of the project to complete the report, the maximum grade for the reporting process criterion in the evaluation rubric is a 5.0.

Every MSc student is required to attend at least 7 Thesis Talks of fellow MSc students of the various research themes before their own Thesis Talk. An attendance list must be handed in before the major research project is graded.


The Brightspace environment for this component is integrated into the programme Brightspace module.