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Biology: Biology and Business Studies

The specialisation Biology and Business Studies offers students the possibility to combine biology with knowledge, insights and skills in the area of Management, Business and Entrepreneurship.

Students are encouraged to broaden their horizon, to form an opinion on and prepare for a career in industry and to enhance competences for pursuing entrepreneurial business opportunities created in science and research.

Students who complete the specialisation Biology and Business Studies are admissible to a PhD programme.

Coordinator: Prof.dr. D. Claessen


Year 1: Biology programme

Year 2: Business Studies programme

For a description of the full programme please see the 'more information' tab.

Year 1: Biology

The Biology component comprises at least 60 EC and consists of the following:

  • 24 EC of advanced Biology theory (courses)

  • a Biology research project of 36 EC; the course Fish species in animal experimentation (3 EC) or Bird species in animal experimentation (3 EC) is obligatory in case of a research project in which experiments with fish or birds are involved.

The Biology component can be extended with an additional 20 EC (courses or extension of the research project to 80 EC in total). Prior to the start of the Biology Research Project, the internship coordinator has to approve the Research Project Agreement.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory courses:

Safety instructions 0
Genomic Architecture 6
Research Project Biology 36

Compulsory Statistics courses (choose one)

Basic Statistics for Master students 4
Advanced Statistics 4

Compulsory Orientation course (choose one)

Orientation on Biodiversity and Sustainability 2
Orientation on Evolutionary Biology 2
Orientation on Molecular, Cellular and Organismal Biology 2
Orientation on Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 2

In case of a research project that involves experiments with fish or birds the corresponding course is compulsory:

Bird species in animal experimentation 3
Fish species in animal experimentation 3

Electives (choose at least 12EC from this list or from 'biology electives or 'other electives'):

Development and Evolution 6
Human Impacts on Biodiversity 6
Mechanisms of Disease 6
Advanced Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 3
Systematics and Biodiversity 6
Ecotoxicology (2025-2026) 6
Ecosystem Services (2024-2025) 6
Paleobiology 6
Advanced Cell Biology 4
Innate Immune systems 6
Animal Cognition (2024-2025) 6

Year 2: Business Studies

The Business Studies specialisation comprises at least 40 EC, of which 20 EC should consist of the main master courses from the Business Studies programme (as listed in the overview) and minimally 20 EC of the business internship. The Business Component therefore consists of the following components:

  • Strategy and Technology (5 EC)

  • Strategic Financial Management (3 EC)

  • Marketing Science (3 EC)

  • Operations Management (4 EC)

  • Research Methods (5 EC)

  • Business Studies Internship (20-30 EC)

  • Electives (0-20 EC)

o a maximum of 20 EC of electives within either Biology or the Business Studies component. The Biology component can be extended with an additional 20 EC (courses or extension of the research project)

o the following course modules can be included as electives in the Business Studies tracks:

Course - Level - EC - Catalogue nr.
Accounting - 500 - 3 EC - 4603BSAC3
Machine Learning for Business Analytics - 500 - 3 EC - 4353MLBA3
Digital Transformations - 500 - 5 EC - 4603BSDT5
Entrepreneurship - 500 - 3 EC - 4603BSEN3
Leading & Managing People - 500 - 5 EC - 4603BSLM5
Lean Six Sigma - 500 - 3 EC - 4603BSLS3
Financing Technology Ventures - 500 - 3 EC - 4603BSFT3
AI for Strategy - 500 - 3 EC - 4603BSAS3
Marketing Analytics - 500 - 3 EC - 4603BS1MA
Management Science - 500 - 3 EC -4603BSMS3
Systems Optimisation - 500 - 3 EC - 4603BSSO3
Electives - variable - variable

You will need to enroll for the business courses via MyStudyMap to make your registration final before the start of the semester.

For questions please contact:

For information about the Business Studies programme and registration for the courses see: E-prospectus Business Studies.

Biology electives

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Plant Families of the Tropics 5
Bird species in animal experimentation 3
Fish species in animal experimentation 3
Metabolomics 6
Advanced Academic Skills Course 6
Top Lectures in Biology 3
Literature Review 6
Book Exam 6
Urban Ecology and Evolution 6
Tropical Biodiversity and Field Methods 6
Systems Microbiology 6
Portugal Conservation Field Course (2024-2025) 4

Other Electives

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Faculty of Science and LUMC electives (always check with the coordinator of the course whether you can join):

Advances in Data Mining 6
Multiscale Mathematical Biology (BM) 6
Science Methodology (SCM) 4
Image Analysis with Applications in Microscopy 6
Model organisms in cancer drug discovery and development 4
Science and the public: contemporary and historical perspectives 6
Introduction to Machine Learning 6
Bio-Modeling 6
Biological and Biomedical Informatics 6
Multicriteria Optimization and Decision Analysis 6
Evolutionary Algorithms 6
Other approved electives 4-6

TU Delft elective

Joint Interdisciplinary Project (JIP) 15

More info

The MSc Biology programme builds on the unique combination of biological institutes in Leiden joining forces: the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL), the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Naturalis). The choice of courses and research projects is further increased by the embedding in the Faculty of Science and the connections with the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) and with bioscience-based companies that are located at the Leiden Bioscience Park.

The duration of the programme is two years (120 EC). Students who complete the programme receive the degree Master of Science in Biology (MSc in Biology) with specification of the specialisation
In addition to the E-Prospectus, the aim and content of the MSc Biology programme is described in the Appendices to the Course and Examination RegulationsThe practical-oriented specialisation Biology & Business Studies is designed for MSc students in the fields of sciences and biomedicine who have a keen interest in industry The objective of the specialisation is to teach students basic analytical frameworks and skills that enable them 1) to analyse business-related problems, and 2) to contribute to managerial decision making, all within the context of established knowledge-intensive organisations or new technology ventures. This faculty-wide specialisation blends discipline-specific scientific knowledge with business and managerial skills. It is designed to meet the evolving needs of start-ups and companies, where a combination of scientific knowledge and effective management has become increasingly important.

Program (120 EC)

The MSc program, when coupled with the Business Studies specialization, comprises two main components::

  • A Biology component of 60-80 EC

  • a Business Studies component of 40-60 EC

  • 0-20 EC of electives within either Biology or the Business Studies component

Preferably, the component within the chosen MSc programme should be followed during the first year of study. The Business Studies component should be followed during the second year.
Theoretical components should be minimally at level 400.

The Biology component comprises at least 60 EC and consists of the following:

  • 24 EC of advanced Biology theory (courses)

  • a Biology research project of 36 EC; the course Fish species in animal experimentation (3 EC) or Bird species in animal experimentation (3 EC) is obligatory in case of a research project that involves handling or experimental use of fish or birds species, respectively.The Biology component can be extended with an additional 20 EC (courses or extension of the research project). Prior to the start of the Biology Research Project, the internship coordinator has to approve the Research Project Agreement.

Business Studies

The Business Studies component comprises at least 40 EC, of which 20 EC should consist of master courses from the Business Studies programme and 20-30 EC of the business internship. An additional maximum of 20 EC of electives can be chosen from the listed business studies courses and electives, or from the MSc Biology . The choice of courses and electives should be made in consultation with a study adviser, or specialisation coordinator.

Approval of program

All students have to submit their individual study plan consisting of choices of courses and one or two research projects to the Study Advisor. Through the submission of this study plan, The Study Advisor determines whether the student’s individual study plan meets the requirements of the MSc Biology programme and can be approved. Prior to the start of the Research Project Biology, the study advisor has to approve the individual study plan of the student and the internship coordinator has to approve the Research Project agreement


Students with prior education in management, business and entrepreneurship may – depending on the contents and extent of said education – be exempted from following (parts of) one or more of the courses. These courses need to be substituted such that their master programme contains at least 20 EC of business courses as mentioned in the overview above and an internship of at least 20 EC. Decisions on exemptions and substitutions are taken by the Board of Examiners of Science Based Business.

Career Orientation


In addition to offering you a solid university education, Leiden University aims to prepare you as well as possible for the labour market, and in doing so contribute to the development of your employability. In this way, it will become easier for you to make the transition to the labour market, to remain employable in a dynamic labour market, in a (career) job that suits your own personal values, preferences and development. It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn.

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. We speak of transferable skills when a skill developed in a specific context can also be applied in a completely different one. This is in contrast to subject-specific skills that are linked to a certain context and are less applicable in other settings.

Employability consists of the following aspects that you will develop within your study programme, among others:

**1. Discipline-specific knowledge and skills **

Knowledge and skills specific to your study programme.
Examples of subject-specific skills are: using a microscope, cell cultures, sampling, experimental design, executing fieldwork, morphological analysis, laboratory skills, in situ conservation, bio-modeling, bioinformatics, molecular biology techniques such as genome sequencing, microarrays , et-cetera.

**2. Transferable skills **

These include cognitive skills, such as researching, analysing, project-based working, generating solutions and digital skills; intrapersonal skills, such as reflecting, independent learning, resilience, and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as oral and written communication, collaboration, presenting and societal awareness. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.

**3. Self-reflection **

This concerns self-reflection in the context of your (study) career, including reflecting on the choices you make as a student during your studies,:what can you do with your knowledge and skills on the labour market? In addition, reflecting on your own profile and your personal and professional development: who are you, what can you do well, what do you find interesting, what suits you, what do you find important, what do you want to do?

**4. Practical experience **

Gaining practical experience through research projects/internships, laboratory training, fieldwork, practical assignments et cetera, which are integrated into courses and research projects.

5. Labour market orientation

Gaining insight into the labour market, fields of work, jobs and career paths through, for example, guest speakers and alumni experiences from the work field, career events within the study programme, the use of the alumni mentor network, interviewing people from the work field, and shadowing/visiting companies in the context of a particular subject.

Career preparation in the MSc Biology

During the study program MSc Biology we want to provide you with the best possible preparation for the job market. In addition to knowledge, it is important that you develop skills, gain practical experience, orientate on positions & careers, and reflect on your own profile and development

At various times during the Msc Biology, questions about this subject may arise, such as: How can you use the knowledge and skills you gain within and outside your study program in the labor market? Which direction do you choose within your study and why? What are you already able to do, and what skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses you choose into something you would like to do later?

You may have already discussed this with the study advisor, mentor, tutor, the Science Career Service, fellow students or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. All kinds of activities are organized where you get the chance to orientate yourself on the job market and gives opportunities to reflect on your own development, possibilities and (study) career profile as well. Central to this are the questions: "What are my capabilities?", "What do I want?" and "How do I achieve my goals?".

In the prospectus, learning objectives have been formulated for each subject, the purpose of which is to inform you which components are covered in the development of your (study) career profile and preparation for the labour market. Various activities are also organized that help you in making all kinds of career choices and to develop skills. An overview of activities is shown below.


  • Science Skills Platform with a Personal and Professional development domain

  • (Study) career meetings

  • Guest lectures

  • Alumni lectures

  • Company visits and company dinners

  • Lunch & Learn lectures by companies

  • IBL, Naturalis and CML symposia & lecture series.

  • Introductory meeting with the study advisor

  • Introductory meeting Science Career Service

  • (International) Leiden Leadership Programme

  • Mentorship and tutoring

  • Workshops en Career Colleges (Science Career Service)

  • Biology Career Event

  • Other career events such as BCF Career Event, Bio Science Park excursion, Science Career Event/Beta Banenmarkt

  • Events organized by the Study Association ‘Leidse Biologen Club’, such as a Meet & Greet with PhD candidates

  • Regular information sessions with the study advisor

  • Research Project Market

  • Research skills as part of the master research project

Science Career Service

Science Career Service, one of the utilities of the Science faculty, offers information and advice on study (re)orientation, career planning and personal professional profile as well as preparation for the job market, such as job applications. Facilities provided to students include online information, walk-in consultations, workshops and individual counselling sessions. In addition, Science Career Service offers expertise and support to programmes that want to strengthen the connection between their curriculum and the job market. This can vary from providing specific guest lectures/workshops to advising on integrating career orientation programmes into the curriculum.

Open Consultation Hour

On Thursdays between 12:30 – 13:30 hrs., you can reach us by phone (+31 (0)71 527 1867) for short questions, e.g. about your CV, motivation letter, LinkedIn, or job application.

Individual appointment

You can book your appointment (30 minutes) with one of the Career Advisors via the online calendar.

LU Career Zone

The Leiden University Career Zone is the website for students and alumni of Leiden University to support their (study) career planning. You will find advice, information, video recordings of webinars and tools such as professional tests to get an idea of your personal profile. You can also explore positions and sectors, you will find tips about CV, job application, LinkedIn and there is a vacancy platform that you can make use of.

Mentor Network

Leiden University likes to prepare students and young alumni well for the job market. For this we use the knowledge and experience of Leiden alumni. To bring students and young alumni with questions about their careers into contact with experienced alumni, Leiden University has established the Mentor Network. Students and young alumni can register for free.


Do you have questions about your (study) career choices and has the above information not been able to help you further? Your study adviser is available to discuss your plans and concerns: