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Biology: From Cells To Organisms

This research-oriented master specialisation offers students the unique possibility to integrate molecular, cellular and organismal levels of research, but also provides the possibility to specialize in one of these levels. It equips students with advanced knowledge ranging from the functioning of individual cells to the communication between cells, and the development, physiology and behaviour of multicellular organisms. An important aspect of this specialisation is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying health and disease and how cells and organisms adapt to environmental factors ranging from light, stress and pathogens to ecological and social conditions. Model organisms include bacteria, fungi, plants and animals (invertebrates and vertebrates). The subject areas covered encompass functional genomics, signal transduction, cellular differentiation, development, host-microbe interactions and animal behaviour.
This master specialisation is ideally suited as a basis for starting a research career at a university or research institute and for a position in a bioscience-based company.

Coordinator: Dr. M.J.M. Schaaf

Website Instituut Biologie Leiden

For a description of the full programme click the more information button!

This MSc specialisation will start on Monday 3 September, 2018 at the Sylvius Laboratory, with an information lecture.

Compulsory elements

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory elements:

Orientation on From Cells to Organisms 2
Advanced Statistics 4
Genomic Architecture 6
Research Project Biology 60

At least two of the following courses are compulsory:

Advanced Cell Biology 4
Development and Evolution 6
Innate Immune Systems 6
Mechanisms of Disease 6

Specialisation related elective courses

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Advanced Academic Skills Elite Course 6
Advanced Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 3
Book exam 6
Global Regulatory Networks in Bacteria (GRNB) 6
Introduction to Laboratory Animal Science 1
Metabolomics 6
Top Lectures Basic 1
Top Lectures Elite 3

Courses organized by the Faculty of Science or LUMC:

Advances in Data Mining 6
Computational Molecular Biology 6
From genetic disease to functional genomics 6
Image Analysis with Applications in Microscopy 6
Metabolic Network Analysis (BM) 6
Model organisms in cancer drug discovery and development 4
Multiscale Mathematical Biology (BM) 6
Stem Cells 6

Other elective courses

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Biogeochemistry of System Earth 3
Ecosystem Services 6
Human Impacts on Biodiversity 6
Integrative Taxonomy 6
Methods in Biodiversity Analysis 6
Paleobiology 3
Pharmaceuticals from Plants 4
Plant Families of the Tropics 5
Tropical Biodiversity and Field Methods (South East Asia / Caribbean) 6
Practical Assistance 2/10

Courses organized by the Faculty of Science or LUMC:

Science and the public: contemporary and historical perspectives 6
Science Methodology (SCM) 4
Other approved electives 1/6

More info

Programme (120 EC)
The MSc specialisation consists of:

  • a theoretical part (30-60 EC)

  • one or more research projects (60-90 EC).

The programme includes several compulsory components, mostly at the start and the end of the programme, and can be expanded with a wide choice of elective elements. The mandatory components in the 1st semester aim to provide students with the theoretical and practical background needed for an efficient start of the Research Project at the end of this semester. The Research Projects are the actual core of the MSc programme. Students will be member of a research group of their choice and work full time on a specific project. Each project will be finished with a MSc thesis written in the form of a manuscript for an international scientific journal. At least one but preferably two Research Projects are part of the study programme.
The Specialisation Research Project has to be done within the theme of the specialisation at the Institute Biology Leiden, at other departments of the Faculty of Science or at the Leiden University Medical Center. All Research Projects require prior approval by the Board of Examiners through approval of the individual study plan of a student and approval of the research agreement.

Compulsory components
The compulsory theoretical components consist of at least 30 EC, and the minimum time to be spent on research projects is 60 EC. The specialisation Research Project should be minimally 36 EC, and a second Research Project should be at least 30 EC. A single research project cannot exceed 60 EC.

Electives/optional elements
The optional part of the programme can consist of either additional courses or lectures, or an extension of the duration of a research project. A list of approved elective courses is available on the e-prospectus. For courses outside the Leiden University biology programme and for all research projects, prior approval of the Board of Examiners is required.
Note: No more than 12 EC of optional theoretical elements of level < 400 are permitted and at most 15 EC of non-biology courses.

Approval of programme
The individual study programme consisting of choices of courses and one or two research projects must have prior approval of the Board of Examiners.

Short desciption of the courses
The From Cells to Organisms study programme comprises several compulsory courses. The course Orientation on From Cells to Organisms provides a state of the art overview of the scientific research and research methods used in the departments participating in this MSc specialisation. The course “Genomic Architecture” aims at training students to become “genome-enabled” biologists by giving an overview of the structure, function and evolution of genomes, and an introduction into the bio-informatics required to study these genomes. Together with the Advanced Statistics course, and two specialisation courses this will prepare the students theoretically for their training in scientific research during the Research Project(s).
A variety of additional courses from other MSc specialisations in Biology and from other MSc programmes at the Faculty of Science and LUMC can be chosen as electives. For details (description, literature, exam dates and further calendar events) about the different courses see the e-prospectus and Blackboard.