Universiteit Leiden

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Life Science & Technology - Faculty of Science - Leiden University

Life Science & Technology (MSc)

About the programme

If you are interested in Life Science and you are looking for a programme with ample of opportunities to assemble your own study path, our Life Science and Technology programme is the right choice. The programme addresses societal problems on a molecular and cellular level. You will be trained for a career in research within or outside academia. You can also choose a specialisation where you combine one year of LST courses and research with up to one year of training in business studies, communication or education. The programme is open for students with an internationally recognized BSc degree in Life Science & Technology or a Bachelor of Science degree with a strong life sciences component. The research performed 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 in the research theme Chemical Biology. MSc LST and MSc Chemistry students meet each other in this research theme Chemical Biology: in several research groups in the LIC 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 theoretical courses of the MSc LST programme, the molecular properties of drugs are also explored, but in their MSc research training project LST students generally do cell biology in a research group in the LIC or work in a clinical setting at e.g. the LUMC or the Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI). The molecular knowledge and understanding of our LST students is highly regarded in these and other clinical institutes, and generally our LST students readily find research training projects. 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.

LST-specific components

Central to the MSc education is the research training project, which is the most important educational element of the programme. In the research training project, the student becomes a part of a research group for at least five months and learns not just specific practical skills, but also grows into being an independent researcher by learning to plan work, analyse data, report and discuss results with different audiences, troubleshoot and problem solve and act as a team member. 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. The research training can be carried out within a LIC research group, a group at the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research (LACDR), or at the Institute for Biology (IBL). Our MSc LST students also have the opportunity to carry out pre-clinical MSc research training projects in renown biomedical research institutes, namely the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), the Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI) and the Erasmus Medical Center (ErasmusMC). A minor training project should be carried out in a research group different from the major research project, and can also be done in another institute (within the Netherlands or abroad), or in a company. 

The compulsory theoretical component of the MSc programme comprises courses on academic skills (Science Methodology and Academic Writing). Students choose a minimum of four out of nine core courses and depending on their specialisation have up to 24 EC of electives. The electives can comprise either theoretical or practical courses or an extension of the duration of a research project with a maximum of 20 EC and within the limitations set by the programme. Elective courses can be chosen from the core courses or elective 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.

The four core courses are chosen from the list below. MSc LST students have to choose one course from each of the series (Biomedical, Molecular and Biophysical Sciences), plus one additional course from one of the three series.

  • Biomedical Sciences
    • Biomedical Informatics
    • Chemical Immunology
    • In-vivo Biomolecular Interactions underlying Diseases
  • Biophysical Sciences
    • Bionanotechnology
    • Biomaterials
    • Enzyme Dynamics: NMR Spectroscopy and Kinetics
  • Molecular Sciences
    • Chemical Biology
    • Metals and Life 
    • Molecular Chemistry

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 in their own words 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 LST. Students are required to finish all LST 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 encompass:

  • Educational Theory 
  • Learning and Instruction 1 
  • Innovations in Education 
  • Teaching Methodology 1 & 2
  • Subject-specific research project 
  • Teaching Practice 1 & 2

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) and 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. It 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 start of the programme you will choose a mentor. The mentor will be your personal coach during the complete MSc programme, and usually is the supervisor your research project if you carry it out in the LIC. An online masterplanner helps you to build your programme and can be used for monitoring your progress by your mentor and the study adviser. During your MSc programme you will become a member of one of the research groups and receive the necessary guidance to become an independent researcher. Most students spend their first year on courses and their second year on their research project or projects. 

Educational methods

  • Lectures
  • Project groups
  • Working group
  • Literature study
  • Writing of essays
  • Colloquium
  • Lab work
  • Presentations
  • Study guidance

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