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Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences

Students in the Master’s programme in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPS) of Leiden University are trained for a scientific career in drug research and development. Depending on their interests, students can choose from seven specialisations to further extend their scientific training and theoretical background or supplement it with other subjects and training.

The duration of each programme variant is two years (120 EC). Students who complete the programme receive the degree Master of Science in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, with specification of the specialisation. All students who complete the master Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, regardless of the specialisation, are admissible to a PhD programme in Bio-Pharmaceutical, Biomedical or other Life Sciences.


The Master’s Programme offers three major Research Specialisations corresponding to the disciplines of the Research Divisions of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR): Drug Discovery and Safety (division of Drug Discovery & Safety) BioTherapeutics (division of BioTherapeutics) and Systems Biomedicine and Pharmacology (division of Systems Biomedicine and Pharmacology).

The remaining four BPS specialisations consist of a research component in combination with another specialisation in either Business Studies (BS), Science Communication and Society (SCS), Education (EDU) or the Dutch specialisation Industrial Pharmacy (IP; max. 2 selected participants).

First and Second Year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Mandatory courses:

Please Note

The Course 'Advanced Academic Skills and Career Orientation' replaces the Courses 'Attended Lectures and Colloquia', 'Scientific Conduct' and 1 EC of the 'Introduction Course Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences'. Please check here to find out which Course is mandatory for you.

Advanced Academic Skills and Career Orientation 3
Introduction Course Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences 4
Scientific Conduct 1
Attended Lectures and Colloquia 1

Research project 1 at one of the Divisions of the LACDR

Research Project 1 - Practical Work 44
Research Project 1 - Thesis 5
Research Project 1 - Oral Presentation 2

Literature Study (Research Specialisations only)

Literature Study 7

Research project 2 (Research specialisation only)

Research Project 2 - Practical work 31
Research Project 2 - Thesis 5

The MSc programme of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences offers the following Lecture Series in the academic year 2019-2020 (one of these is mandatory):

Regulation of Drug Safety 4
Atherosclerosis 4
Biophysics and Bioengineering for Pharmaceutical Sciences 4
Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry 4
A Clinical Pharmacologist Approach to type 2 Diabetes 4
Signal Transduction and Hallmarks of Cancer 4
Quantitative Pharmacology 4
Model organisms in cancer drug discovery and development 4
Drug Delivery 4
Cell adhesion signaling in health and disease 4
Blood-Brain Barrier: Drug Transport to the Brain 4
Capillary Electrophoresis-Mass Spectrometry for Metabolomics 4

Optional courses in the academic year 2019-2020 (list is not restrictive):):

Student assistantship bachelor research assignment 5
Research Project 2 - Oral presentation 1
IP Law in Science 5
Science Methodology (SCM) 4
Science and the public: contemporary and historical perspectives 6

More info

The master’s programme of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPS) aims to train students in the research area of bio-pharmaceutical sciences and drug research in such a way that the graduated master’s students (MSc’s) have enough knowledge and hands-on experience to be able to work independently as a scientific researcher. An MSc in any of the Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences specialisations should be able to obtain a PhD position in Life Sciences or Biomedical Sciences.

The education aims at:

  • obtaining a deeper insight in two or three areas of drug research;

  • obtaining skills to perform scientific research in one or two areas of drug research, using relevant methods and techniques, and stimulating a critical attitude towards the interpretation of data of scientific research;

  • obtaining an attitude in order to function well in a team, based on the idea that research in the life sciences tends to be performed in multidisciplinary teams;

  • obtaining skills to present the results of scientific research by written reports and by oral presentations.

The master’s programme BPS may only start in September or February. Non-Dutch students are advised to check the Masters in Leiden website for more information when they need visa or help with housing. The programme has a duration of two years (120 EC).

The programme of all specializations consists of an introduction course, at least one major research project, at least one lecture series, the course Advanced Academic Skills and Career Orientation (from September 2018) and optional courses. Depending on the chosen specialisation other mandatory and optional courses apply as described on the corresponding page of the E-prospectus. MSc students with deficiencies in their previous training may repair these with optional courses (conditions may apply). The programme will be tailor made for each student individually.

The general outline of the programme of the three Research Specialisations of the Master’s programme BPS is indicated in the table below. The other specialisations generally start with the research component, more details can be found on the e-guide pages of each specialisation.

Level EC
Introduction Course Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences 500 4
Research project 1, in the chosen specialisation
- practical work 600 44
- thesis 600 5
- oral presentation 600 2
Research project 2, (preferably in another discipline of BPS, not restricted to the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences)
- practical work 600 31
- thesis 600 5
Literature study plus thesis 500 7
Lecture series 1 (in BPS) 500 4
Course Advanced Academic Skills and Career Orientation 500 3
Optional courses or traineeships 400–600 (max 12 EC < 400) 15

Attending more than one lecture series of BPS is optional and may be part of the programme component ‘Optional courses’.