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Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

This is a specialisation of the Biology Master.

Coordinator: Dr. R. Offringa, email:

All courses indicated for the first and second year are compulsory. A list of additional courses is provided under Electives.

This MSc specialisation will start on Monday 5 September, 2011 at 9.00 in room 1.5.31, Sylvius Laboratory, with an information lecture.

First Year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Fundamentals of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) 6
Orientation on MCB Research 4
MCB Research Project Min. 60
Colloquium Course: Discoveries in Bioscience 2-9
MCB Seminar 4-6

Second Year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
MCB Advanced Textbook 6
MCB PHD Orientation Course 6
MCB Research Project Min. 60
Colloquium Course: Discoveries in Bioscience 2-9
MCB Seminar 4-6


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Economic Botany 4
Mechanisms of Disease 5
MCB Student Assistantship 8
The Immune system of plants (seminar) 4
Top Lectures on Signaling in Development and Growth Min.4
Regulation of gene expression and immune responses in plants and animals (Caput) 4
EBC Trends in Development and Evolution 6
Bio-Modeling with Petri Nets 6
Science Methodology 4
Philosophical Aspects of Biomedicine 1
Clinical Proteomics and Metabolomics 6
Other MCB courses 4-6

More info

Description of the MCB MSc programme

Phase 1 of the MCB MSc study comprises 2 compulsory courses. The course Fundamentals of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) concerns a self study on the basic theoretical knowledge of microbiology, cellular biology, molecular genetics, immunology and plant cell physiology and the connection between these sub disciplines. This course should be finished satisfactorily before any other part can start. The course Orientation on MCB research provides a state of the art overview of the scientific research in the departments participating in this MSc specialisation taken from presentations by group leaders and PhD students.

Phase 2 aims at deepening the knowledge of and insights in one of the research fields of cellular biology, developmental and molecular genetics, microbiology or plant cell physiology. Only after successful completion of the two courses in phase 1, a student can start with the research project. Research projects are the core of the MSc program. Students will be member of a research group of their choice and work on a specific project, usually in close collaboration with a staff member or PhD student. The minimum time to be spent on research projects is 60 EC. In case of two research projects, each project should be minimally 36 EC. The compulsory research project, or one of the two research projects, is preferably done in one of the IBL departments: Molecular Developmental Genetics, Molecular Microbiology, Molecular Cell Biology, or Plant Cell Physiology. A research project within one of the ‘Life Science’ research groups of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC), at the Leiden-Amsterdam Centre of Drug Research (LACDR) or at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) may substitute for a research project within the IBL. All other external research projects require an MCB staff member as co-supervisor and prior approval by the Board of Examiners. The research project includes a Master’s thesis and an oral presentation (5+2 EC for a long and 3+1 EC for a short research project).

The compulsory theoretical component consists of at least 28 EC. A colloquium course ‘Discoveries in Bioscience’ is being offered as an obligatory element by the MCB specialisation, which is flexible and can be followed in combination with the research project. In addition, students choose a specific advanced book, and prepare individually for a specialized theoretical exam. Available book titles are provided at the eGuide. Other compulsory components are a Seminar course of choice, and the PhD Orientation course that is planned at the end of the MCB MSc program and entails writing a PhD research proposal.
For details (description, literature, exam dates and further calendar events) about the different courses during Phase 1 and 2 see Blackboard.

Optional programme

Additional EC can be obtained by following optional courses or advanced lectures or by extending a research project. For courses outside the LU biology programme (max. 10 EC) and for all external research projects, prior approval of the Board of Examiners is required. Note: maximally 12 EC of optional theoretical programme elements of level < 400 are permitted.

Mentor guidance

Each MSc-student will be assigned to a specific staff member who will arrange to meet with the student once every 6 months, or otherwise on his or her demands to discuss matters relating to progress, interests, job prospects, etcetera.