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Orientation on Plant Sciences and Natural Products


Admission requirements

This course is for MSc students in Biology.


Coordinator: Dr. B. Gravendeel


This course will give an overview of the different scientific fields represented in the Plant Sciences and Natural Products specialisation, ranging from fundamental scientific topics such as Plant Genomes, Plant Development, and Plant Defense, to more applied topics such as Plant Genome Engineering, Plants and the Bio-based Economy, and Identification of Plant Metabolites for New Medical Products. This will be done primarily through lectures by experts in Molecular and Cellular, Evolutionary and Ecological, and Mathematical Plant Science, complemented with chapters from the book Plant Physiology & Development by L. Taiz, E. Zeiger, I.M. Mǿller & A. Murphy 2015 (6th edition, ISBN 978-1-60535-255-8) on a selection of key topics. The lectures together with several lab tours will provide a solid overview of the ongoing research in Leiden, and allow MSc students to make a well-based choice of their first internship. Several lectures by invited speakers will also inform students about job perspectives in the field.

Learning goals

Course objectives:

  • To provide students with an overview of the research fields covered by the Plant Sciences and Natural Products specialisation

  • To introduce them to the basic concepts and the key scientific questions covered by those research fields

  • To familiarize students with the research and methods used within the research groups participating in the Plant Sciences and Natural Products specialisation

  • To facilitate the choice for a first MSc research project, and to enable the planning of a concept programme for the 2-years MSc specialisation.

Final qualifications:
A MSc student in Biology with an established study programme, ready to start the theoretical courses and the first (internal) research project for the selected specialisation.


The course starts on Monday, August 31st 2015 and ends on Friday, September 11th. The programme consists of lectures in the morning (starting at 9.00), and lab tours, specific instructions, or self-study in the afternoon. The detailed programme will be placed on Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

By lectures, and by self-study by reading reviews on a selection of key topics.

Assessment method

A final exam, based on the lectures and the studied book chapters


The detailed course programme, powerpoints/jpgs of lectures and reviews for self study will be placed on Blackboard.

Reading list

Reviews on a selection of key topics.


Via USIS and enroll in Blackboard

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.


For students who follow the specialisation Plant Sciences and Natural Products, the orientation on Plant Sciences and Natural Products course can be replaced by an Orientation Course from a different specialisation.