Course syllabus

Instructions for performing the Master's Degree Project in Molecular Biology

MOBM02 (30 cr), MOBN02 (45 cr), MOBN03 (60 cr), MOBY10 (30 cr, one-year master)


Before the start

  1. Contact the study advisor Tina Ledje, at the Education Office in the Ecology building, to discuss the prerequisites for the master’s project. Tina will confirm that you are eligible to start the project by adding a signature on the registration form (pdf, 1 MB, new tab).
  2. Contact a supervisor within the area of your interest and discuss the general outline of the project. Before proceeding, you should provide your CV and LADOK excerpt to the supervisor. Note that the project can be conducted outside Lund University. If you do not find what you want among our project proposals at our education blog or if you do not know what you want, your master’s programme/specialisation coordinators may give advice. Notify your master's specialisation coordinator when you have identified a potential supervisor. There is a shorter instruction for supervisors.
  3. Write a project plan together with your supervisor. The plan should be brief, but give a clear description of your specific project (2–3 A4 pages). The plan should contain:
    • Project title.
    • Name and e-mail addresses to you and the supervisor.
    • Topic (Molecular Biology), time for performing the project, and number of credits.
    • Introduction, with a theoretical background to the project.
    • The specific aim(s) of your project.
    • Methodology and planned experiments.
    • Time plan (overview of the project and your activities in it, to be presented as a table, a Gantt chart or similar). Remember to include time for writing of the report and preparations for the seminar. 30 credits = 90 workdays, 45 credits =135 workdays, and 60 credits= 180 workdays.
    • Key references (approximately 5-10).
  4. Contact your master's specialisation coordinator at least 10 work days before the planned start of the project to get approval of your project and the project plan. Provide the registration form signed by Tina Ledje. NOTE: In case you want to do your project outside of Lund University, you have to get approval and the registration form completed and turned in to the Education office not later than 4 weeks before the start of the project. A preliminary version of the plan is acceptable in advance, but it should be completed no later than by the end of the first week of the project.
  5. Register at the Education Office. You have to be registered before starting your project, otherwise, you will not be covered by insurance. Complete the registration form. The form should have been signed (in this order) by:
    • The study advisor, who checks that you fulfil the requirements.
    • Yourself after reading these instructions.
    • The supervisor (and co-supervisor and internal supervisor, if applicable).
    • The coordinator for the Master’s programme/specialisation, who will look at the project plan, help you with questions around supervision and examination, and decide who should be the examiner of the project.

To the form should be attached:

  • Project plan.
  • CV and LADOK excerpt showing which courses you have taken.
  • Contact information (email, phone, and address) for the supervisor and co-supervisor.

6. If you are going to work experimentally with research animals (including all vertebrates and octopuses) during your degree project you need to complete a specific course including animal research ethics, regulations, care-taking/handling etc. Discuss with your supervisor if you need this course and if so you have to apply to the course about working with laboratory animals (pdf, 220 kB, new tab). Read the instructions and then fill in the application on the web.

7. Complete the Basic Chemical Safety Training course, new tab. All students and employees at the department of Biology should complete the online course that provides the basic knowledge in chemical safety that you need to be able to handle chemical products in a way that is safe for you, your surroundings, and the environment. The training is aimed at organisations within Lund University where chemical products and risk sources are handled.

8. An internal supervisor will be appointed if the project is carried out outside of Lund University.

Also remember:

  • Projects to be performed during the summer must be registered before 15 June.
  • Registrations are typically not handled between 15 June and 15 August.
  • If you are planning to do the project abroad, you must arrange for insurance. Tina Ledje at the Education office will help you.
  • The date for the half-time report and end-date should normally be within the autumn or spring semester.

The start

  1. Write a popularised description of the project. It is intended for posting on notice boards under ”Ongoing Master Projects”. This should include your name, title of the project, supervisor, a short summary of the project and a picture of yourself. Download the template for ongoing projects (pptx, 98 kB),insert a photo and then email this to
  2. During the degree project work, you make daily notes in a laboratory notebook. You will get a notebook at the Education Office. In this book, you document your project and register your activities (see below). You should also note if you take time off due to illness or other unforeseen events. This laboratory notebook (or an electronic laboratory notebook, if appropriate), together with the project plan, may be used in the final examination and grading of your project. You should bring the notebook to the examination. Your notebook may be important for a fair evaluation of the time spent on the project.

During the project

  1. Carefully document your work in the laboratory notebook. Make careful notes to document experimental designs, technical details of experiments, raw data, calculations, results, conclusions, and such. This will give you practice on how to document your work properly, and the notes will be essential when you write your final report. Further, your notebook will be extremely valuable for the research group that you work in. Therefore, write clearly so that your notes can be understood by others. Typically, this book will be left with your supervisor for future reference to your work and your results. You may make a copy of the notes for yourself.
  2. If something is not working the way you would like it to, like problems with your supervisor, contact your master’s programme/specialisation coordinator or contact person (if one has been appointed) as soon as possible. The earlier we start to discuss a problem the sooner we can solve it.
  3. You should participate in group meetings, seminars, and such that may be arranged in the group or at the department where you are working.
  4. It is advisable to start writing the report as soon as possible. Parts of the introduction and Materials & Methods can be written in parallel with your practical/theoretical work.

At half-time

A half-time checkpoint is done when half the time of the project has passed (after 45, 68 or 90 workdays, depending on whether it is a 30, 45, or 60 credit project, respectively). It is done as a self-evaluation. Download the instructions and form (docx, 61 kB) for this purpose. The form contains a number of questions that you and your supervisor should discuss and answer together. The form should be filled in, signed, and sent to your programme/specialisation coordinator.

When your half-time checkpoint has been approved by the coordinator, the credits (15, 22.5 or 30 credits, respectively) will be registered in LADOK.

In exceptional cases, a project can be prolonged (for example from 30 credits to 45 credits). Such extension can only be done at or before the half-time checkpoint. The reasons for the prolongation have to be explained in written form to the examiner, and a new project plan and registration form has to be submitted. Prolongation is only approved if the project plan is de facto extended to include additional elements.

The report

  1. The project shall be presented as a scientific report in EnglishFollow the specific instructions for master's degree projects in Molecular biology (PDF file, opens in a new window). A reference management program will help you collect and organize your sources as well as automatically create a formatted bibliography in your thesis. We recommend Zotero ( Learn how to use Zotero through our self-study course at: If you have any questions, contact Frida Rosengren at the Biology library (
  2. Plagiarism. You are not allowed to present someone else’s work, such as text, figures, or results, without giving proper reference. This also applies to material you find on the Internet. You may of course refer to the works of others, but you must write about it in your own words and refer to the source of information in a correct way. If you include a quotation in your text, which involves using someone else's exact wording, it is important to clearly indicate that it is a quote. The same applies if you would like to use someone else’s illustration. If you are unsure, you should discuss with your supervisor. It should be clearly stated if Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) tools have been used to generate content in the form programming code and/or graphical representations. GAI tools are not allowed to be used to generate text but may be used as spelling and grammar checkers.
  3. To prevent cheating and plagiarism, all master theses written at the Department of Biology are sent to ”Ouriginal" (a program that uses internet/databases to scan a report for copied and plagiarised text. Your text is also added to the database, which prevents the contents of your thesis to be plagiarised by another student in the future.
  4. Write a popular science summary of your project, which must be approved by your supervisor before the examination. Read the guidelines for writing the popular science summary (doc, 25 kB).Also, let some of your fellow master students read and give feedback on your popular science summary. The popularised summary shall be included in the report that you hand in to the examiner and opponent so that it can be evaluated together with the report.

The examination

  1. The examination committee consists of:
    • Examiner. The programme/specialisation coordinator will act as an examiner or appoint another senior professor from a relevant discipline in the Department of Biology.
    • External reviewer, or the external opponent. This person could come from the Department of Biology or another department. The External reviewer is appointed by the examiner.
    • Supervisor, who will take part in the discussion, but not in the decision. If the supervisor cannot attend the meeting of the committee (e.g. for external projects), he/she shall provide a written evaluation of the project or discuss directly with the examiner.
  2. Date and time for the seminar shall be decided by the examiner.
  3. Submission of the thesis. The thesis including the popular summary must be submitted at least seven working days before the seminar to the opponent and the examiner by e-mail. You should also submit your final thesis including the popular summary to the examiner via the Ouriginal system using the email address: (i.e. Please double-check the email address carefully to make sure it is correct. 
  4. Announcing the seminar. You should communicate date, time, and venue for the seminar, together with the title page of the report and names of opponent and examiner to who will assist in advertising the seminar to other students and faculty members.
  5. At the examination, you will give a presentation (about 20–30 min). After your presentation, the examination committee will ask you questions and discuss your report and project, and thereafter the audience will be invited to ask questions. Finally, the examination committee has an internal discussion before the examiner decides about the grading of the project. A specific form is used for reporting the grading (pdf, 623 kB). Guidelines for Evaluation of Degree Project (pdf; 133 kB) . The examiner is responsible for reporting the grade to the Education office (where it will be registered in LADOK).
  6. Grades. According to a decision by the Faculty of Science at LU (Dnr N 2008/549), there are two general criteria to reach the grade “Pass with distinction” (väl godkänd):
    • “The student undertaking the degree project shall have demonstrated a good ability to independently complete a research task. This includes demonstrating creative skills with regard to formulating a problem, solving a problem and drawing conclusions, as well as the ability to place his or her results in a wider subject context, for example, a research problem area or a relevant area of application. The written and oral presentations of the degree project shall be of high quality.”
    • “The total amount of time taken to complete the project must not have exceeded the timetable by more than 20 per cent.”

Thus, in order to have the possibility of obtaining the highest degree (pass with distinction/väl godkänd) a degree project cannot exceed the stipulated time with more than 20% (for example about 18 work days for a 30 credits project). If the degree project does not fulfil the requirements for “Pass” (Godkänd), the student will be advised of the further adjustments to the thesis required to reach the grade “Pass”. It is common that students are required to revise their thesis for final approval.

After the examination

  1. Make final corrections and adjustments of the written report. You will be given the possibility (and are expected) to incorporate the revisions suggested by the examination committee into the final version of your report. 
  2. Hand in the final version of your report to the Education Office. First, make sure that the examiner approves the final version of the report. The report and the popular science summary should be handed in both as a PDF and a Word file to Jóhanna B. Jónsdóttir ( within two weeks after the examiner approves the report. Your report, or at least the abstract and title, will be published at Lund University’s Master’s thesis database (LUP Student Papers), Check at It should be noted that reports in this database are publicly available, which should be taken into account if some parts of your work should remain confidential. If you publish the whole report, this will be regarded as a publication and you can not publish the work in other outlets, like scientific journals. Therefore, you should discuss with your supervisor whether to publish only the abstract or the entire thesis at LUP Student Papers.
  3. Please also complete the master’s evaluation form. You will get the web address to the evaluation in an email from the Education Office.
  4. Apply for your degree certificate. You need to apply for your degree certificate at the Degree office. You apply for your certificate online through LADOK. Find information and the link here. You log in with your student ID and follow the instructions. You apply for the degree “Master of Science (120 credits)” in “Molecular Biology” (major subject) with specialisation in “…” (if applicable). Contact Tina Ledje if you have questions. It may take up to three months for the Degree office to award the certificate.

Programme coordinators:

Main Coordinator

Claes von Wachenfeldt
046-222 34 56, Room B-A223, Biology Building

Specialisation in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology 

Marita Cohn
046-222 72 56, Room B-A107A, Biology Building

Olivier Van Aken
046-2229413, Room B-A330, Biology Building

Specialisation in Microbiology and Biotechnology

Fredric Carlsson
046-222 41 97, Room B-A315, Biology Building

Klas Flärdh
046-222 84 85, Room B-A222a, Biology Building

Molecular biology, general, and One-year Master’s (Magister)

Wolfgang Knecht
046-222 77 85, Room B-A128, Biology Building

David O'Carroll
+46-761 77746, Room B-C108, Biology building

Specialisation in Immunology and Infection Biology

Lars Råberg
046-222 37 66, Room B-B207, Biology building

Specialisation in Medical Biology

Bodil Sjögreen
046-222 93 48, Room B-B205, Biology Building

Lars Råberg
046-222 37 66, Room B-B207, Biology building

Specialisation in Microbiology

Fredric Carlsson
046-222 41 97, Room B-A315, Biology Building

Klas Flärdh
046-222 84 85, Room B-A222a, Biology Building