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Chemistry (MSc)

The MSc programme Chemistry offered at Leiden University is solidly rooted in the chemistry research carried out in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC). Research in the LIC is centred on the two research areas Chemical Biology and Energy & Sustainability, which are leading for the courses and research training projects offered in the MSc programme Chemistry. An attractive feature of the MSc Chemistry at Leiden University is the large flexibility of the study programme, allowing students to compose a tailor-made programme following their personal interests.

Yael Kerstholt

1st year student

Yael Kerstholt

I’m mainly interested in the biological side of Chemistry: the Chemistry of living systems. I couldn’t find that at many universities, which was one of the primary reasons Leiden appealed to me.

Another point is that the research groups here are working from a perspective of medical application. The research is about a disease or medicine which I like: the applicability of research is important to me. Furthermore, the programme is extremely flexible. The master Chemistry and LST are quite related, because they work together. This means that as a Chemistry student, one can choose courses from LST and the other way around. There are students who love organic Chemistry and they can focus on that part. For me, I’m more into Biology and I can focus on that.

What does this master’s programme entail?

Over the years, the courses taught in the MSc Chemistry programme evolve with the LIC research strategy, adapting to the developments in the research fields at the forefront of science. The emphasis of the MSc Chemistry programme is on motivating and stimulating the students to work as young academics and to develop themselves in an optimal way. The two-year programme consists of 120 EC and offers four specialisations.

Our four specialisations

The research specialisation in Chemistry offers the student the opportunity to spend two full years on training and specialisation to become not only an independent and creative researcher, but also someone who can use their analytical skills to resolve challenges in their career in science or in society. The majority of the students from the research specialisation will continue their career in a PhD position.
The programme consists of:

  • 60 EC research training project 
  • 6 EC academic skills 
  • 24 EC core courses 
  • 6 EC specialisation-specific components
  • 24 EC electives 

The research training component is the core of the research specialisation and comprises at least 60 EC (one whole academic year).
 

The specialisation Education (EDU) prepares students for a career as a teacher qualified to teach in Dutch secondary education. The programme is designed to obtain the so-called “eerstegraads lesbevoegdheid” which qualifies for teaching at all levels in Dutch high schools. Students in the Chemistry programme are prepared for the school subject of 'scheikunde' (chemistry).The specialisation module comprises courses and teaching practice at a Dutch school for secondary education. 
The programme consists of:

  • 30 EC research training project 
  • 6 EC academic skills 
  • 24 EC core courses 
  • 60 EC specialisation-specific components 

Students who already have finished the minor Education in their BSc study need only 30 EC of the specialisation module. Of the remaining 30 EC, they are required to use at least 10 EC for their research training component. The final 20 EC is used as free elective space. 
The language of the specialisation-specific components is Dutch. Apart from the general qualifications that apply for the MSc programme, applicants must provide proof of proficiency in Dutch (“Toelatingsexamen Universiteit Leiden – gevorderd, met spreekvaardigheid minimaal een 7.5”).

The MSc specialisation in Science Communication and Society (SCS) offers students the opportunity to combine chemistry research training with programmes in different aspects of science communication, such as journalism, new media, museology and information visualisation. The programme prepares students for a career in popularisation of science, for example, as a science communicator, a science policymaker or a public relations or health communication officer, or for a career as a scientist with a communicating mindset.
The programme consists of:

  • 30 EC research training project 
  • 6 EC academic skills 
  • 24 EC core courses 
  • 20 EC electives
  • 40 EC specialisation-specific components 

Students are advised to use the first part of their MSc programme for the core courses, electives and research training project and start the SCS component only after these are complete. The SCS programme starts in September.
 

The business specialisation offers the opportunity to combine training in chemistry research with education in business and entrepreneurship. It enables science students to understand the fundamentals of business management and innovation. The emphasis is on science-driven organisations and on establishing new businesses based on the outcomes of scientific research. The BS programme is geared towards pursuing future career opportunities both in academia and in industry. About 40% of the former BS-students have gone on to do a PhD, where most of the others found employment in industry as a consultant or in a managerial position.
The programme consists of:

  • 30 EC research training project 
  • 6 EC academic skills 
  • 24 EC core courses 
  • 20 EC electives 
  • 40 EC specialisation-specific components 

The specialisation is open to students from MSc programmes from the Faculty of Science and the MSc programme in Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine (LUMC).
 

About the programme

Want to know more about the courses we offer, the research areas we focus on, and the specialisations you can follow? Read more in About the programme.

Discover why our students choose the Chemistry master's programme

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Why study Chemistry at Leiden University?

  • Our MSc programme is highly flexible: you can tailor your programme based on your ambitions and interests within the research areas Chemical Biology or Energy & Sustainability.
  • You will work and study in a vibrant chemistry institute, where talented students and experienced staff work side by side to discover and develop solutions for a healthy life in a sustainable society.
  • During your studies you will be part of a multidisciplinary research team of internationally renowned researchers in which you will conduct your MSc research project. Join our world-class electrochemistry group to contribute to sustainable energy, or our world-leading interdisciplinary research teams in chemical biology, who make use of chemical tools to study disease-related problems.
  • You will be mentored by one of our research group leaders, who will provide you with personal guidance throughout your studies.

Find more reasons to choose Chemistry at Leiden University.

Chemistry: the right master’s programme for you?

The research performed in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) covers a wide range of topics and expertise, ranging from physical and theoretical chemistry in E&S to organic synthesis and molecular cell biology in CB. 

Of the various MSc programmes at Leiden University that are related to the study of health and disease, the MSc Chemistry is the right programme for you if you are interested gaining insight at the molecular level, and want to do research with a strong focus on the design and synthesis of new molecules that can be used as drugs or biomarkers. MSc LST and MSc Chemistry students meet each other in this research theme Chemical Biology: in various research groups LST and Chemistry students work on the same scientific problem. However, whereas Chemistry students generally focus on the molecular level by synthesising new biomarkers or drugs, LST students typically work at the cellular level testing these drugs or markers in various cell lines to investigate their toxicity or efficiency. In the MSc Biopharmaceutical Sciences, students focus their studies on e.g. drug delivery techniques and uptake mechanisms, the efficiency and safety of drugs, and pharmacology. MSc Biomedical Sciences students focus their studies on the systemic level related to the maintenance of health and prevention of disease.
The MSc programme Chemistry is open for students with an internationally recognized BSc degree in chemistry or a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in chemistry. It is the right MSc programme for you if you are interested in fundamental chemistry and applied research. You will be trained for a career within or outside academia. You can also choose a specialisation where you combine one year of Chemistry research with up to one year of training in business, communication or education.

Read more about the entry requirements for Chemistry.

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about studying at Leiden University or student life in Leiden? Do you want more information about the Chemistry programme? Chat with a current student for answers to your questions!

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