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Orientation on Biodiversity and Sustainability


Admission requirements

This course is for MSc students in Biology.


Coordinator: P.M. van Bodegom


The one-week course “Orientation on Biodiversity and Sustainability” offers a kaleidoscopic overview of the field central to this specialisation with emphasis on those aspects for which the three Leiden partner institutes (IBL, CML, and Naturalis) are particularly strong, namely: (1) taxonomy underlying biodiversity assessments; (2) macroecology and hotspots of biodiversity; (3) ecosystem services as a tool for sustainable use of natural resources; and (4) human impacts on biodiversity, including noise, pollution and species invasions. The institutes cooperate in many ways. Students will receive lectures in the mornings to get an overview on these topics as well as to gain insights in possible thesis topics and practicals or field trips in the afternoons. There will be opportunity to learn about the research facilities. The lectures and practicals will be given by a broad range of scientists from all three institutes, and will all refer to research carried out in this field. There will also be several opportunities to interact socially with class mates and instructors.

Learning goals

Course objectives:

  • To provide students with an overview of the research fields covered by the Biodiversity and Sustainability specialisation

  • To introduce them to the basic concepts and the key scientific questions covered by those research fields

  • To familiarize students with the research and methods used within the research groups participating in the Biodiversity and Sustainability specialisation

  • To facilitate the choice for a first MSc research project, and to enable the planning of a concept programme for the 2-years MSc specialisation.

Final qualifications:
A starting MSc student has an overview of the research fields, basic scientific concepts, key scientific questions, research topics and methods connected with the MSc research cluster, and established his/her concept MSc study program, and arranged his/her first research project.


From 4 September 2017 to 8 September 2017. The detailed programme will be placed on Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

By lectures, practicals, field visits and self-study

Assessment method

The grade for the course is based on a mini-project in which students need to define a (mini) research proposal based on the Living Lab facility. The grade is based on the novelty of the proposal, the proposed research design and the appropriateness and persuasiveness of the argumentation used.


Blackboard will be used for communication.

Reading list



Via USIS and enroll in Blackboard

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