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Anthropocene: The Era of Man


Admission Requirements

This course is available only for students in the minor Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology.


Being the first course in the minor SCB, it serves as an introduction into the topic of sustainability in general and the chemical and biotechnological aspects of it in particular. The following topics will be discussed: Element cycles, Energy, Circular production and use of materials, and Climate change. Course material consists of slides and literature of guest lectures, videos and online sources. The course aims to convey the many ways we are influencing the planet and the urgency and possiblities to address the non-sustainable nature of our actions.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • are aware of the many different ways mankind affects the living and non-living environment

  • can critically discuss the effects of mankind on the climate, biodiversity, land use atmosphere and the oceans, in terms of element cycles and show insight in the quantitative aspects

  • can describe and discuss the transitions required to reach a sustainable interaction between mankind and the planet, in relation to varying socio-economic status of peoples

  • can convey views on sustainability in a convincing way


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

Guest lectures and group work. The students will work in small groups to better understand specific sustainability issues and the directions in which solutions need to be found. The results will be presented to and discussed with the other student groups. Students will be trained in presentation skills using a digital skills platform.

Assessment Method

They are then assessed on basis of four presentations with 0%, 20%, 30% and 50% weight, which makes up 80% of the grade of the students. In addition the students are individually scored on presentation skills (20% of the overall grade).

Reading List

To be announced.


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. Exemptions are minor students and fall semester for 1st year bachelor students: the student administration will enroll these groups for courses.

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.


Dennis Hetterscheid