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Orientation on Molecular, Cellular and Organismal Biology


Admission requirements

This course is for MSc students in Biology.


Lectures will be given by group leaders teaching in the Molecular, Cellular and Organismal Biology specialisation, concentrated around the following themes: Molecular biology, Cell Biology, Development, Physiology and pathology, Behaviour and interaction with the environment, and Integration of different organization levels. The lectures will provide an integrated overview on the research topics studied in the Molecular, Cellular and Organismal Biology specialisation and will highlight the key scientific questions in the research fields covered by this specialisation. At the end of the course the students will write an essay on the topic they found most interesting. In this course, the students will introduce themselves to the rest of the group in a brief (~5 min) presentation.

Course objectives

After completion of this course, students can:

  • Describe basic scientific concepts, key questions and used methodology of research fields that are associated with the Molecular, Cellular and - Organismal Biology specialisation, and explain how these fields may be integrated in biological research.

  • Explain which research field(s) or combination of fields they find most interesting.

  • Formulate specific ideas about research groups or researchers they would like to approach to enquire about a research project.

  • Define personal aims and plans for their MSc study and possibly for a future career.

  • Recognize and appreciate the interests and expertise of fellow students in this specialisation.


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


Assessment method

The students will write an essay on a topic of choice and present a 5 minute pitch about him-/herself. Both assignments should be satisfactory (according to the course coordinator).

Reading list



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.


Coordinator: Dr. M.J.M. Schaaf Email: