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Biology: Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology

The master specialisation Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology focusses on genetics, molecular biology, genomics and biotechnology of animal, plant and microbial systems. Through courses and research projects, students are trained by experts in the areas of molecular biology, microbiology, plant genetics, cellular imaging, animal disease models, and various –omics technologies and the corresponding bioinformatics. Attention is paid to the application of these techniques to biotechnology, i.e. how studies on model organisms can be translated to improve crops or human health. Students graduating in this master specialisation are well trained to start a research career in biological and medical sciences or lead projects in industrial or institutional research environments. This master specialisation is suited as a basis for starting a research career at a university or research institute and for a position in a bioscience-based company.

Coordinator: Dr. D. Claessen

Website Instituut Biologie Leiden

For a description of the full programme click the more information button!

This MSc specialisation will start on Monday 2 September, 2019 at the Sylvius Laboratory, with an information lecture.


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory elements:

Orientation on Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 2
Advanced Statistics 4
Genomic Architecture 6
Advanced Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 3
Research Project Min. 60

At least one of the following courses is compulsory:

Advanced Cell Biology 4
Innate Immune Systems 6
Mechanisms of Disease 6

Specialisation related electives

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Advanced Academic Skills Elite Course 6
Biogeochemistry of System Earth 3
Bird species in animal experimentation 2
Book exam 6
Fish species in animal experimentation 2
Metabolomics 6
Pharmaceuticals from Plants 4
Top Lectures Elite 3

Courses organized by the Faculty of Science or LUMC (please check with the coordinator of the course whether you can join the course):

Advances in Data Mining 6
Computational Molecular Biology 6
Image Analysis with Applications in Microscopy 6
Model organisms in cancer drug discovery and development 4
Multiscale Mathematical Biology (BM) 6
Science and the public: contemporary and historical perspectives 6
Science Methodology (SCM) 4

Other electives

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Animal Personality 6
Development and Evolution 6
Ecotoxicology 6
Human Impacts on Biodiversity 6
Methods in Biodiversity Analysis 6
Integrative Taxonomy 6
Paleobiology 3
Plant Families of the Tropics 5
Tropical Biodiversity and Field Methods (South East Asia) 6
Practical Assistance 2-10

Courses organized by the Faculty of Science or LUMC (please check with the coordinator of the course whether you can join the course):

Other approved electives 1-6

Study and Career Orientation


Education Office Biology


During the master several meetings and activities concerning Study and Career Orientation will be organized in collaboration with the Science Career Service. Through lectures, information meetings, individual and / or group assignments, students are encouraged to plan a future professional career.

Learning goals

Study and Career Orientation aims to get students to think about his or her choices during the masters degree in biology and to encourage students to plan their future career. Topics covered include:

  • Thinking about your own career wishes and potentials;

  • Orientating yourself in the job market and examining job opportunities for biologists;

  • Developing your skills such as writing your CV, writing a job application letter and presenting yourself;

  • Being aware that a social/professional network can help you;

  • Preparing yourself for interviews and application procedures including psychological tests and assessments.

End terms:
After having followed this course, a student can, on the basis of their personal profile and individual and group orientation, make a motivated choice for a future career.


Various meetings and activities per year. The timetable can be found under ‘files’


More information about Study and Career Orientation can be found on Blackboard ‘Teaching programme BSc and MSc Biology’ / Master

More info

Programme (120 EC)
The MSc specialisation consists of:

  • a theoretical part (30-60 EC)

  • one or more research projects (60-90 EC).

The programme includes some compulsory components and can be expanded with a wide choice of elective elements. The mandatory components in the 1st semester aim to provide students with the theoretical and practical background needed for an efficient start of the Research Project at the end of this semester. The Research Projects are the actual core of the MSc programme. Students will be member of a research group of their choice and work full time on a specific project. Each project will be finished with an MSc thesis written in the form of a manuscript for an international scientific journal. At least one but preferably two Research Projects are part of the study programme.
The Specialisation Research Project has to be done within the theme of the specialisation at the IBL, at other departments of the Faculty of Science or at the LUMC or NIOO. Prior to the start of the Research Project, the Board of Examiners has to approve the individual study plan of the student and the Research Project agreement.

Compulsory components
Each MSc-programme consists for at least 30 EC of theoretical components and the Research project(s) contribute at least 60 EC. The specialisation Research Project should be minimally 36 EC, and a second Research Project should be at least 30 EC. A single research project cannot exceed 60 EC. A “Fish specific animal experimentation course” (2 EC) or a “Bird specific animal experimentation course” (2 EC) is obligatory in case of a research project that involves handling or experimental use of fish species or birds species.

Electives/optional elements
Electives can consist of either additional courses or lectures, or an extension of the duration of a research project. A list of approved elective courses is available on the e-prospectus. For courses outside the LU Biology programme and for all research projects, prior approval of the Board of Examiners is required. Note: No more than 12 EC of optional theoretical elements of level < 400 are permitted and at most 15 EC of non-biology courses.

Approval of programme
The individual study programme consisting of choices of courses and one or two research projects must have prior approval of the Board of Examiners.

Short description of the courses
The Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology study programme comprises several compulsory courses. The course Orientation on Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology provides an overview of the scientific research and research methods used in the departments participating in this MSc specialisation. The course “Genomic Architecture” aims at training students to become “genome-enabled” biologists by giving an overview of the structure, function and evolution of genomes, and an introduction into the bio-informatics required to study these genomes. Together with the Advanced Statistics course, and the specialisation courses, this will prepare the students theoretically for their training in scientific research during the Research Project(s).
A variety of additional courses from other MSc specialisations in Biology and from other MSc programmes at the Faculty of Science and LUMC can be chosen as electives. For details (description, literature, exam dates and further calendar events) about the different courses see the e-prospectus and Blackboard.