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Top Lectures Basic


Admission requirements

The course is open to Biology master students.

Contact information

Administrative issues (blackboard, timetables, grades etc.):
Contact: H. Tamboer Email:

Academic issues:
Coordinator: Prof.dr.M.K. Richardson


The Top Lectures in Biology course consists of 6 lectures, selected by each MSc student from a preset program of 16 lectures (over two years) by invited experts from different fields of biology. Each lecture is organised by one of the research groups in the IBL that participate in the Masters (Biology) teaching, or by NCB Naturalis. The level of each lecture is aimed at both MSc students and IBL staff. An important aspect of the course is to learn to critically evaluate scientific data, and the hypotheses and models derived from these data. The speakers actively participate in the teaching part.
Students can participate in this course at two levels. At the basic level students will prepare for each lecture by reading the provided review (not the research papers), and will attend the lecture, earning 1 EC for six followed lectures. Please note that it is mandatory for participants to sign the attendance list.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
To provide the student with insight into specialist biological research, including the way in which complex research questions are formulated and analysed experimentally.

Final qualifications:
To be a more advanced MSc student with a broad theoretical background on a range of research topics in Biology who is able to understand lectures by specialists, and to critically assess the research presented.


There are one or two Top Lectures per month, starting in January of each year, at times to be announced on flyers posted in the Sylvius building, on Blackboard and on websites (e.g. IBL, Sciences)

Mode of instruction

Each Top Lecture is given by an expert in a relevant Biology field, who is a National or International scientist of high reputation. The scientist will give their Top Lecture based on their own field of research subject. Before or after this lecture, there is a discussion session with the students, in which the invited scientist discusses the questions that the elite level students have pre-submitted via a forum on blackboard.

Assessment method

For the basic level, 1 EC is awarded for attendance of six Top Lectures of the student’s choice. There is no grade, only pass.


Blackboard will be used for communication.

Reading list

The students are provided in advance via Blackboard with one review article (supplied by the invited lecturer).


via Usis

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.