MSc Chemistry programme

Chemistry is the central science enabling a healthy future in a sustainable society. Chemistry researchers in Leiden take a fundamental approach in finding tailored solutions for complex societal problems in human health and environmental issues. The Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is the basis for research and collaborations of the Leiden chemistry groups.

The MSc programme in Chemistry offers four different specialisations, each with a choice from two research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. These areas correspond to the new major research areas in the LIC.

Global overview of the Chemistry programme

The MSc Chemistry programme offers four specialisations:

  • Research in Chemistry; students follow a two-year programme in one of the research themes to become an independent and creative scientist.
  • Chemistry and Education (taught partly in Dutch); prepare for a career in teaching chemistry.
  • Chemistry and Science Communication and Society (taught partly in Dutch); combine research with programmes in different aspects of science communication, such as journalism.
  • Chemistry and Science Based Business; combine training in chemistry with education in business and entrepreneurship.

Core courses within the MSc Chemistry programme

  • * Courses that were taken in the BSc programs cannot be taken again in the MSc program. Instead one of the other core courses can be taken.
  • Students in the programmes Chemical Biology and Energy & Sustainability choose 4 courses out of the courses listed, depending on their prior education and in consult with their mentor.

MSc Chemistry
Chemical Biology

Advanced Medicinal Chemistry
Enzyme dynamics: NMR spectroscopy and kinetics
Cell Biology
Chemical Biology
Modern Organic Chemistry
Molecular Biology
Reactivity in Organic Chemistry
Supramolecular Chemistry

MSc Chemistry
Energy & Sustainability

Modern Quantum Chemistry
Dynamics of Molecule-Surface Reactions
Electrochemistry and Bioelectrochemistry
Organometallic Chemistry and Homogeneous Catalysis
Quantum dynamics of Chemical Reactions
Photosynthesis & Bioenergy
Heterogeneous Catalysis

Research training project Chemistry

The research specialisation comprises research training projects to a total of at least 60 EC, including a presentation for the group and a written report (the master thesis); for the other specialisations the Chemistry programme comprises a research project of at least 30 EC. The 60 EC for projects in the research specialisation may be split over two research projects: the major and minor research project, with the limitation that the major project comprises at least 40 EC.
The major research project is carried out in the LIC under the supervision of the mentor, and for students in all specialisations will be concluded with a Thesis Talk. The mentor guides the student with their research project(s) and will advise which courses best fit in with the research topic and study planning.

Thesis Talks

Since September 2013 the thesis talk is part of the major research training project of all master students in Chemistry and Life Science & Technology and constitutes a training in presenting original research work to a group of non-peers.
The intended audience comprises your fellow master students and a jury of two staff members that will discuss the grade of the research project with the mentor, who has the final responsibility for grading the project.

Literature essay and colloquium

The intended goal is to acquire knowledge and insight into a topic chosen within the research area of Chemistry or the Life Sciences. The student needs to study (recent) literature and present the results of this study in a systematic way both in writing and in the form of a colloquium. New directions of research are to be discussed and the student needs to participate actively in scientific discussions, both at his/her own colloquium as well as audience member of other student colloquia.


 The electives consist of a free choice of theoretical courses (30 EC) or an extension of the research training project by a maximum of 20 EC. The mentor may limit the choice in elective courses by the need to adapt the programme to the present knowledge of the student.

Programme of the specialisations EDU, SBB, and SCS

Students that choose the EDU, SCS or SBB-specialisation need to follow specific modules (30-60 EC) and therefore have a reduced research programme which consists of compulsory chemistry components (60 EC) and electives (0-30 EC). The compulsory chemistry components in these specialisations comprise a research training project (30 EC), an "academic skills" component (6 EC) and four core courses to be selected from the core chemistry MSc courses (24 EC). 

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