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Orientation on Plant Sciences and Natural Products


Admission requirements

This course is for MSc students in Biology.


Coordinator: Dr. R. Offringa


This course will give an overview of the different scientific fields represented in the Plant Sciences and Natural Products specialisation, ranging from fundamental scientific topics such as Plant Genomes, Plant Development, and Plant Defense, to more applied topics such as Plant Genome Engineering, Plants and the Bio-based Economy, and Identification of (Plant) Metabolites for New Medicines. This will be primarily through lectures by experts in Molecular and Cellular, Evolutionary and Ecological, and Mathematical Plant Science, complemented with reviews on a selection of key topics. The lectures together with several lab tours and an internship market will provide a solid overview of the ongoing research in Leiden, and allow MSc students to make a well-based choice of their first (internal) research project. Several lectures by invited speakers will also inform students about job perspectives in the field.

Learning goals

Course objectives:

  • To provide students with an overview of the research fields covered by the Plant Sciences and Natural Products 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 Plant Sciences and Natural Products specialisation

  • To introduce students to the electronic library and methods to search for scientific articles

  • 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:
An MSc student in Biology with an established study programme, ready to start the theoretical courses and the first (internal) research project for the selected specialisation.


The course starts on Monday, September 1, 2014 and ends on Friday, September 12, with an internship market followed by drinks. The programme consists of lectures in the morning (starting at 9.00), and lab tours, specific instructions, or self-study in the afternoon. The detailed programme will be placed on Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

By lectures, and by self-study by reading reviews on a selection of key topics.

Assessment method

A final exam, based on the lectures and the studied reviews


The detailed course programme, powerpoints/jpgs of lectures and reviews for self study will be placed on Blackboard.

Reading list

Reviews on a selection of key topics.


Via USIS and enroll in Blackboard

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


For students who follow the specialisation Plant Sciences and Natural Products, the orientation on Plant Sciences and Natural Products course can be replaced by an Orientation Course from a different specialisation.