Universiteit Leiden

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Chemistry (MSc)

About the programme

An attractive feature of the MSc Chemistry programme at Leiden University is the great flexibility of the study programme, allowing students to put together a tailor-made programme following their personal interests. Within the limits set by the programme, students can make their own choices and adjust them during the course of the MSc study. Research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) covers a wide range of topics and expertise, ranging from physical and theoretical chemistry to organic synthesis and molecular cell biology.

Chemistry-specific components

Central to the MSc programme is the research training project. In the research training project, the student is part of a research group for at least five months and not only learns specific practical skills, but also grows into an independent researcher by learning to plan work, analyse data, report and discuss results with different audiences, troubleshoot and solve problems and act as a team member. The major research training project is carried out in an LIC research group in the chosen research area (Chemical Biology or Energy & Sustainability). For students in the research specialisation, the major research project consists of a minimum of 40 EC and a maximum of 60 EC; students in the other three specialisations do a research project of at least 30 EC. Optional minor research projects are at least 20 EC. A minor training project can be carried out in a different LIC research group than the major research project, in a different research area, a different institute (within the Netherlands or abroad), or in a company.

The compulsory theoretical component of the MSc programme includes courses on academic skills (Academic Writing and an elective). Students choose at least four out of eight core courses in the chosen research area and have up to 24 EC of electives, depending on their specialisation. Electives may consist of theoretical or practical courses or an extension of the duration of a research project with a maximum of 20 EC and within the limits set by the programme. Electives can be chosen from the core courses within or outside the chosen research area, approved elective MSc courses offered by the LIC or other MSc programmes in the Leiden University Faculty of Science, or MSc courses offered in a Science Faculty of any Dutch or foreign university.

Educational methods

  • Lectures
  • Project groups
  • Working group
  • Literature study
  • Writing of essays
  • Colloquium
  • Lab work
  • Presentations
  • Chemical Biology
  • Computational Techniques for Chemical Biology
  • Enzyme Dynamics: NMR Spectroscopy and Kinetics
  • Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery
  • Modern Organic Chemistry 
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Reactivity in Organic Chemistry
  • Supramolecular Chemistry
  • Computational Chemistry and Molecular Simulations
  • Density Functional Theory in Practice
  • Electrochemistry
  • Heterogeneous Catalysis
  • Organometallic Chemistry & Homogeneous Catalysis
  • Photochemistry
  • Photosynthesis & Bioenergy
  • Surface Science

Specialisation-specific components

The specialisation-specific component for the research specialisation consists of the essay and colloquium (6 EC). With this component, students have to show that they are able to find and digest relevant literature on a topic not related to their MSc research project, write a review of the material in their own words, including their personal view and potential future prospects. The student then presents this essay for fellow students and an independent jury. More information can be found in the Prospectus.

The education part of this specialisation is organised by the Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching (ICLON). The 60 EC education component can best be started in September. For students who have taken a minor in Education (“tweedegraadsbevoegdheid”) of 30 EC in the BSc programme, only 30 EC are necessary in the MSc programme to obtain the “eerstegraadsbevoegdheid”; then 30 EC electives are added to the programme of the MSc Chemistry. Students are required to finish all Chemistry components before the start of their education component. Exceptions to this obligatory sequence can only be granted by the Board of Examiners. 
The specialisation-specific components consist of:

  • Teaching Practice 1 & 2
  • Pedagogy in Practice 1 & 2 
  • Teaching Methodology 1 & 2
  • Adolescent Development (ICLON)
  • Subject-specific research project 
  • Electives:
    Innovations in School
    Adolescent Development 2
    Subject-specific research project 2
    World Teachers 

More information can be found on the ICLON website and in the Prospectus.

The specialisation-specific components are offered by lecturers in Science Communication & Society (SCS); this 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). Preferably, the BSc programme has included some coursework in communication. The primary focus in this specialisation is on science communication in the Netherlands, and students explore various aspects of professional science communication. A minimum of 40 EC and a maximum of 60 EC of SCS components is required to complete the SCS specialisation.
The specialisation-specific components comprise:

  • Informal Science Education (4 EC)
  • Policy & Development in science and Society (4 EC)
  • Research in science communication (4EC) 
  • Science Journalism (4 EC) 
  • Science Communication product development (4 EC) 
  • Scientific Narration and Visualisation (3 EC)
  • one or more SCS internships (14-34 EC) with corresponding project proposals (3 EC). 
  • SCS electives are limited to 10 EC. 

The internship will be in the field of science communication (e.g. science journalism, museology, new media, health communication). The total internship period may consist of one internship, or can be divided into 2 smaller internships. Each internship includes a written report and an oral presentation. The total internship period includes a minimum of 10 EC of research in science communication. The choice of internships should be approved beforehand by the coordinator of the specialisation. A plan for the optional SCS elective (e.g. book exam, product development) should be approved beforehand by the SCS coordinator. 

More information can be found on the SCS website and in the Prospectus.

The Business Studies specialisation is offered by the department of Science-Based Business. The objective of the specialisation is to teach students basic analytical frameworks and skills to analyse business-related problems and to contribute to managerial decision making within the context of established knowledge-intensive organisations or new technology ventures. This specialisation is for science students who consider employment opportunities in industry, and who are looking to acquire knowledge of business principles and training in managerial skills. A minimum of 40 EC and a maximum of 60 EC of BS components is required to complete the BS specialisation.
The specialisation-specific components for this track consist of:

  • Strategy and Technology (5 EC) 
  • Strategic Financial Management (3 EC) 
  • Marketing Science (3 EC) 
  • Operations Management (4 EC) 
  • Research Methods (5 EC)
  • Business Internship (20, 30 or 40 EC)

In addition a number of electives are offered, such as ‘Accounting’, ‘Entrepreneurship’ or ‘Business Intelligence’.

More information and registration instructions for Business Studies is available on the BS website and in the Prospectus. The BS courses start twice a year in September and February.

Study guidance

At the beginning of the programme you choose a mentor. The mentor is your personal coach throughout the MSc programme and is usually the supervisor of your major research project. An online master planner helps you to build your programme and can be used for monitoring by your mentor and study adviser. Most students spend their first year on courses and their second year on their research project or projects. During your MSc programme, you will join one of the research groups and receive the necessary guidance to become an independent scientist. Most students spend their first year on courses and their second year on their research project or projects.

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