The MCB MSc study programme comprises 6 compulsory courses. The course Fundamentals of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences concerns the basic theoretical knowledge of microbiology, cellular biology, molecular genetics, immunology and physiology and the connection between these sub disciplines. This course should preferably be successfully completed before starting with the rest of the program. The course Orientation on MCB research provides a state of the art overview of the scientific research and research methods used in the departments participating in this MSc specialisation taken from presentations by group leaders and PhD students. Together with the Statistics, modelling and bioinformatics course and one of the 3 specialisation courses Mechanisms of Disease, Global Regulatory Networks for Bacteria or Immune Systems of Plants, this will prepare the students theoretically for their training in scientific research during the Research Project(s).
Another obligatory element in the MCB specialisation is the Top lectures series. This course consists of 6 lectures by internationally leading scientists in fields relevant for the MCB programme. Students prepare for the lectures by reading scientific papers, and by discussion these papers with the speaker.
To complete the theoretical training, one of the following courses is compulsory:
- The Colloquium course Spot Lights Research talks. This course is aimed at providing highlights and update on the research in the IBL.
- Advanced text book. Students choose a specific advanced book, and prepare individually for a specialized theoretical exam.
- PhD Orientation Course. This course entails writing a PhD research proposal.
The research projects are the actual core of the MSc programme. Students will be member of a research group of their choice and work on a specific project in close collaboration with staff of one of the different institutes full time. During the Research Project students are further trained in critically reading of and writing about recent scientific literature ranging from a general perspective to a chosen specialisation. 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. At least one of the research projects is done within the IBL, one of the ‘Life Science’ research groups of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC), the Leiden-Amsterdam Centre of Drug Research (LACDR) or at the LUMC. An external Research Project requires an MCB staff member as co-supervisor and prior approval by the Board of Examiners.
The compulsory theoretical components consist of at least 35 EC, and the minimum time to be spent on research projects is 60 EC. 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.
Approval of programme
All master students have to submit a master study program, consisting of choices of courses and one or two research projects, to the studyadvisor in November (start September) or in April (start February). Through the submission of this study program, the Board of Examiners determines whether the individual study program can be approved.