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Biology: Evolutionary Biology

This research-oriented master specialisation provides students with in-depth knowledge about Evolutionary Sciences. Students learn about evolutionary changes over time and study the origin and maintenance of biological variation all over the tree of life. The mechanisms that drive the adaptation of organisms and their features are investigated at all biological levels. Thus, the specialisation includes genomics, functional developmental genetics, paleobiology, behavioural biology and evolutionary ecology. With this master specialisation completed, the students are well equipped to start a career in evolutionary research or to take the responsibility for projects in an industrial or institutional research environment.

Coordinator: Dr. M. van der Zee

Email: m.van.der.zee@biology.leidenuniv.nl

Website Instituut Biologie Leiden

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

Compulsory

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Compulsory elements:

Orientation on Evolutionary Biology 2
Advanced Statistics 4
Genomic Architecture 6
Development and Evolution 6
Systematics and Biodiversity 6
Research Project Min. 60

Specialisation related electives

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Advanced Academic Skills Elite Course 6
Animal Cognition 6
Animal Personality 6
Biogeochemistry of System Earth 3
Bird species in animal experimentation 2
Book exam 6
Ecosystem Services 6
Ecotoxicology (2021-2022) 6
Fish species in animal experimentation 2
Human Impacts on Biodiversity 6
Metabolomics 6
Paleobiology 3
Pharmaceuticals from Plants 5
Plant Families of the Tropics 5
Top Lectures in Biology 3
Tropical Biodiversity and Field Methods south East Asia (next course in 2021-2022) 6

Courses organized by the Faculty of Science or LUMC (please check with the coordinator of the course whether you can join the course):

Advances in Data Mining 6
Computational Molecular Biology 6
Image Analysis with Applications in Microscopy 6
Science and the public: contemporary and historical perspectives 6
Science Methodology (SCM) 4

Other electives

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Advanced Cell Biology 4
Advanced Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 3
Innate Immune systems 6
Mechanisms of Disease 6

Courses organized by the Faculty of Science or LUMC (please check with the coordinator of the course whether you can join the course):

Model organisms in cancer drug discovery and development 4
Multiscale Mathematical Biology (BM) 6
Other approved electives 1-6

More info

Programme (120 EC)
The MSc specialisation consists of:

  • a theoretical part (30-60 EC)

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

The programme includes some compulsory components 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 IBL, Naturalis, CML, other departments of the Faculty of Science, the LUMC or NIOO. Prior to the start of the Research Project, the Board of Examiners has to approve the individual study plan of the student and the Research Project agreement.

Compulsory components
Each MSc-programme consists for at least 30 EC of theoretical components and the Research project(s) contribute at least 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. A “Fish specific animal experimentation course (2 EC) or a “Bird specific animal experimentation course (2 EC) is obligatory in case of a research project that involves handling or experimental use of fish species or birds species.

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 description of the courses
The Evolutionary Biology study programme comprises several compulsory courses. The course Orientation on Evolutionary Biology 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 the 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 Brightspace.

Career Orientation

During 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. In addition to substantive knowledge, it is also important to be aware of the so-called transferable skills that you develop outside and during your education. These are, for example, your cognitive skills such as critical thinking and communication. Altogether, this contributes to your development as a professional and offers good preparation for the labour market.

At various times during your studies, 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.

Activities

  • (Study) career meetings

  • Alumni lectures

  • Company visits and company dinners

  • Lunch & Learn lectures by companies

  • IBL Symposia

  • Introductory meeting with the study advisor

  • Information meeting student counsellor

  • (International) Leiden Leadership Programme

  • Mentorship and tutoring

  • Workshops en Career Colleges (Science Career Service)

  • Science Career Event

  • 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.

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.

Mentornetwerk

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.

Contact

Do you have questions about your (study) career choices and has the above information not been able to help you further? Your study adviser (msc-studyadviser@lic.leidenuniv.nl) is always available to discuss your plans and concerns BioMScStudieadviseur@biology.leidenuniv.nl.