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Biodiversity refers to the variety of life. Most people recognise biodiversity by species. The number of species is currently estimated at 7-12 million. However, biodiversity is more: habitat diversity and genetic diversity. All aspects are presently under pressure. It is generally assumed that a reduction of biodiversity is undesirable and should be prevented. But is the extinction of species or the disappearance of habitats really undesirable? And if so, can we counteract further deterioration of biodiversity?

These are among the questions that will be addressed in the minor Biodiversity. To be able to answer these questions, you will learn in this minor what biodiversity actually represents, how it can be mapped and how biodiversity has evolved. In addition, you will learn about the important processes that determine the level of biodiversity in today’s ecosystems and the effects of human intervention and the introduction of new species on biodiversity. Dutch landscapes are often referred to during the topics of this minor.

Study programme

The study programme of this minor consists of courses, lectures, excursions, and discussions with relevant stakeholders. The minor starts with excursions to all Dutch Landscapes, and also includes one week fieldwork on Schiermonnikoog and one week in the Polderlab near Leiden. The courses provide a comprehensive overview of biodiversity in the Dutch landscape, patterns in biodiversity, evolutionary developments and environmental processes. It teaches a range of skills including spatial analyses with GIS, and offers starting courses in statistical analyses.

General information

  • Size: 30 EC

  • Period: Fulltime from 2 September 2024 – 31 January 2025

  • Language: English

  • The minor has a minimum number of participants of 15 and a maximum capacity of 40 participants.

  • General information: Education Office Biology

  • Coordinator: Martijn Bezemer

  • The minor is provided by the Bachelor Biology


The minor is open to students with a strong interest in Biodiversity and has a maximum capacity of 40 students. The minor is particularly interesting for students who wish to specialise in policy and governance in relation to the environment.

This minor requires motivation and dedication! You will be doing a lot of fieldwork (including biking, walking) near Leiden and also on Schiermonnikoog so you'll need to be comfortable with this. It is not possible to combine the minor with e.g. other courses during the same time.

Reading list

  • Campbell’s Biology,12th edition


Students of Leiden University

Registration possible from 15 May, 13:00 o'clock till 4 July 2024 via eduXchange.

Students of TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam

Registration possible from 15 May, 13:00 o'clock till 31 May 2024 via eduXchange.

Other students:

Students from other Dutch universities can register from 15 May, 13:00 o'clock till 31 May 2024 by:

  1. Sending an e-mail to Education Office Biology with your CV, transcript, and letter with permission from your home university

  2. After approval, register as a guest student at Leiden University: instructions


This minor is also open for inbound exchange students if they wish to take the entire minor Biodiversity. It is not possible to take single courses from this minor. Exchange students must be admitted by the Science International Office prior to the start of the minor. For more information about the application procedure for exchange students, please contact the Science International Office at