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Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms within species, between species and within and between landscapes, ecosystems or the entire planet. As such, biodiversity can be described at the genetic, species or ecosystem level. All these forms of biodiversity are under increasing pressure. Currently we estimate that there are approximately 7-12 million species of organisms, of which only 1.9 million are described – and a significant fraction of those is threatened with extinction. It is generally assumed that a reduction of biodiversity is undesirable and should be prevented. But at what scale do we try and tackle these declines? More fundamentally, we can ask whether the disappearance of species diversity/ecosystem diversity/genetic diversity is really undesirable and if so, can we think of measures to halt this decline?

In order to answer these questions, during this minor we examine what biodiversity actually entails, how biodiversity can be sampled, monitored, mapped and how to interpret and use that data in a useful way. In addition, it is important to study how biodiversity evolved and which are the important processes that determine the level of biodiversity in today’s ecosystems. By analysing the processes that take place in ecosystems we will investigate the factors underlying biodiversity decline, for example as a result of human interventions or unintentional introduction of invasive species. In addition we will investigate the impact of newly introduced species or genes on current biodiversity in the Netherlands.

Human intervention and the introduction of new species do not necessarily have only negative effects on biodiversity. It can also lead to "novel ecosystems" for example in urban and agricultural areas. Species can adapt and be successful in these new habitats. Still, the question remains whether all animals are equal or are some animals more equal than others? How we should value these new systems is a question of often heated debates. In this minor you will be challenged to take position on these matters from a scientific, consultancy and governance perspective?

General information

  • Size: 15 or 30 EC
    It is possible to follow the complete minor for an accreditation of 30 EC or to follow only the first half of the minor for an accreditation of 15 EC

  • Period:
    15 EC: fulltime from 2 September 2019 – 8 November 2019
    30 EC: fulltime from 2 September 2019 – 31 January 2020

  • Language: English

  • Number of participants: minimum 20, maximum 45

  • General information: Education Office Biology Coordinator: Prof. Dr. P.G.L. Klinkhamer

  • The minor is provided by the Bachelor Biology


Admission criteria apply to this Minor (see Appendix 3 of the Education and Exam regulation BSc Programmes (OER)).
The minor is open to students with an interest in biodiversity. Students can be invited for an initial interview with the coordinator of the minor and may be asked to study selected parts of textbooks before the start of the minor.


Students of Leiden University
Registration possible from May 1 until August 1 in uSis.
You have to register in uSis by entering one of the class numbers (‘studieactiviteit nummer’).

  • For the whole minor (30 EC): 1403

  • For the first half of the minor (15 EC): 1432

Students of TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam
Registration possible from May 1 until May 31 via the registration system of TU Delft or Erasmus University Rotterdam.

NB: Registration in usis does not directly mean that you can participate in the minor. You will receive and email that confirms your registration and placement.

Other students
Students from other universities can register until May 31 by sending an e-mail including motivation letter, CV, transcript and letter with permission from your own University to Education Office Biology


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Orientation on Biodiversity 9
Environmental Processes 6
Scales of Biodiversity 9
Policy Analysis and Action Plan 6


The programme of the 30 EC Minor consists the following full-time courses:

  • Orientation on Biodiversity (9 EC)

  • Environmental Processes (6 EC)

  • Scales of Biodiversity (9 EC)

  • Policy Analysis and Action Plan (6 EC)

It is possible to follow half the minor for an accreditation of 15 EC by following the courses Orientation on Biodiversity and Environmental Processes for a total of 15 EC. Entry requirements for the separate courses can be found in the course description on the e-guide.