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Project Management for Scientists


Admission requirements

Bachelor's degree in science


This course is geared toward students at the MSc and PhD levels who want to learn how to successfully manage scientific projects. The course deals with the entire life cycle of a project from initial scientific vision to the operational phase. Course subjects include the formulation of scientific visions and strategies, competitive proposal writing skills, establishing of scientific requirements, collaboration with project managers and engineering teams as well as formal approaches to successfully organizing, planning, and executing a scientific project.

The following topics will be covered in lectures and exercises:

  • 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

Students will understand the methods of project management and will be able to successfully apply them to scientific projects.

Soft skills

In this course, students will be trained in the following behaviour-oriented skills:

  • Problem solving (recognizing and analyzing problems, solution-oriented thinking)

  • Analytical skills (analytical thinking, abstraction, evidence)

  • Structured thinking (structure, modulated thinking, computational thinking, programming)

  • Project management (planning, scope, boundaries, result-orientation)

  • Responsibility (ownership, self-discipline, bear mistakes, accountability)

  • Motivation (commitment, pro-active attitude, initiative)

  • Self-regulation (independence, self-esteem, aware of own goals, motives and capacities)

  • Verbal communication (presenting, speaking, listening)

  • Written communication (writing skills, reporting, summarizing)

  • Collaboration (teamwork, group support, loyalty, attendance)

  • Flexibility (adaptability, dealing with change, teachability, eagerness to learn)

  • Critical thinking (asking questions, check assumptions)

  • Creative thinking (resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box)

  • Integrity (honesty, moral, ethics, personal values)


See Schedules Astronomy master 2017-2018

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Practical classes

Assessment method

  • Written exam: 60%

  • Practical classes participation: 20%

  • Homework assignments: 20%

Retake exams will be oral. Homework assignments and presentations will still count for the final grade.


Blackboard will be used to send emails to students. To have access, you need an ULCN account. More information:

Reading list

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, Verzuh (4th edition), ISBN 9781118073773 (recommended)


Via uSis. More information about signing up for your classes can be found here. Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Lecturer: Prof.dr. C.U. (Christoph) Keller
Assistant: Eleonora Zari
Course website: Project Management for Scientists (will be online at the start of the course)


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