nl en

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


See Astronomy master schedules

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Practical classes

  • Exercises

Assessment method

  • Oral exam: 60%

  • Practical classes participation: 20%

  • Homework assignments: 20%

Reading list

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


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


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


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

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)