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Biology: General Biology Programme (no research specialisation)

The information on this page is subject to change for 2020-2021

Website Instituut Biologie Leiden

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

For the timetable and registration in usis and codes, see under ‘files’ (bestanden)

This MSc specialisation will start on Monday 31 August, 2020 at the Sylvius Laboratory, with an information lecture.

Compulsory elements

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Advanced Statistics 4
Genomic Architecture 6
Research Project Min. 60

One of the following courses is compulsory:

Orientation on From Cells to Organisms 2
Orientation on Evolutionary Biology 2
Orientation on Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 2
Orientation on Biodiversity and Sustainability 2

At least 18 EC of the courses (or courses from the list of biology electives or other electives) are compulsory:

Advanced Cell Biology 4
Advanced Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 3
Animal Cognition 6
Development and Evolution 6
Ecosystem Services 6
Human Impacts on Biodiversity 6
Innate Immune systems 6
Systematics and Biodiversity 6
Mechanisms of Disease 6
Paleobiology 3

Biology 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 5
Plant Families of the Tropics 5
Top Lectures in Biology 3
Tropical Biodiversity and Field Methods south East Asia (next course in 2021-2022) 6

Other Electives

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Electives 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 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 Brightspace ‘Teaching programme BSc and MSc Biology’ / Master

More info

Programme (120 EC)
The MSc programme 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 specialisation Research Project at the end of this semester.
At least one Research Project has to be done within a research area at the IBL, CML, Naturalis, Faculty of Science or LUMC. All Research Projects require prior approval by the Board of Examiners through approval of the individual study plan of a student and approval of the research 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. Each 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:
The optional part of the programme 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
Courses cover a broad range of relevant subjects and provide in-depth theoretical knowledge as well as training in practical skills and advanced research tools. The Orientation courses provide a state of the art overview of the scientific research and research methods of the participating Institutes.
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. In addition, students are trained in ‘Advanced Statistics’ and follow at least one specialised course providing students with an integrated picture on specific topics 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 can be chosen as electives. For details (description, literature, exam dates and further calendar events) about the different courses see the e-prospectus and Brightspace.