Research Project Ecology and Evolution 1


Course Objective

The aims of the master’s placement are:
• The student learns to independently conduct scientific research.
• The student is able to independently find scientific information and
to evaluate this for the benefit of his or her own research question.
• The student is able to apply scientific methods and knowledge, to
answer research questions and to generate evidence‐based knowledge.
• The student is able to formulate a research question, to choose, to
implement and to evaluate the (appropriate) research method, and to
phrase the obtained results in a scientific report.
• The student is able to cooperate with researchers of various
• The student is able to write a scientific report of the research on
the level of peer-reviewed academic journals.
• The student is able to orally present the research results and to
discuss the findings.
• The student obtains a good impression of a potential future field of

Course Content

The two research projects in the Ecology and Evolution programme serve
to get students acquainted and experienced with the practice of
ecological research. Both research projects should thus reside in
Ecology. If you have 12 ec in elective courses in your programme both
research projects together will have to amount up to 78 ec. If you have
18 ec in elective courses the total study load is 72 ec. The shortest
project should at least be 30 ec.

The first research project during your MSc Ecology and Evolution must
take place at the Department of Ecological Science at the VU, or at the
Institute for Bioversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the UvA. For research
projects at the Ecology department of the VU check the website:

If you want to do your second research project outside the VU you can
look for internships at the websites of other Dutch universities or
research institutes, for example: NIOO (fundamental ecological
research), NIOZ (marine ecology), ALTERRA (applied and environmental
ecology), RIVM (applied and environmental ecology), SOVON (avian
ecology), but also at the sites of nature conservation organisations
such as Natuurmonumenten, Staatsbosbeheer, or regional authorities
(Provincie and Waterschap). However, organisations for the conservation
of specific species (e.g. butterflies, dolphins, tigers, primates, etc.)
will generally not be
qualified enough. Research projects/internships in commercial companies
are generally also not accepted, since commercial and educational
interests often are quite different. Projects at universities or
research institutes outside the Netherlands can also be accepted
provided they are of sufficient academic quality.

In all cases: take care that you will be working on an ecological
research question and that you will be able to collect enough reliable
data to write a scientific report in the end. Purely monitoring or
inventory projects are not of a masters' level and will not be approved.

Each project starts with writing a research proposal. Consult the
Placement Manual for guidelines.

Teaching Methods

A Placement Manual for Research Projects in the MSc Ecology can be
obtained at:

This document contains the protocols, guidelines for proposals and
reports and application and assessment forms, etc. needed to
successfully complete a research project.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to read this document carefully in order to avoid
unpleasant experiences during the progress of the placement. Every
research project or literature study has to be approved by the master
coordinator in advance.

Method of Assessment

At the end of the project a scientific report of the work has to be
written in English and an oral presentation has to be given (also in
The final grade will be determined by the VU supervisor and VU second
assessor in consultation with the external supervisor, if applicable. It
is based on the following categories: attitude (pass/fail), execution
(40%), presentation (10%) and report (50%).

Entry Requirements

You are not allowed to start a research project before having obtained
at least 18 ec in master courses.


Selected papers

Target Audience

Students in MSc Ecology, specialization Ecology and Evolution or
specialization International MAster of Biodiversity Ecology and
Evolution (IMABEE)

Additional Information

The Placement Manual for Research Projects in the MSc Ecology can be
obtained at:

General Information

Course Code AM_1100
Credits 30 EC
Period Ac. Year (sept)
Course Level 600
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. J.T. Weedon
Examiner dr. J.T. Weedon
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.