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Master degree projects in Molecular biology

You can perform a Master's Degree project of 30, 45 or 60 credits in either General Molecular Biology, or one of the specializations Medical Biology, Microbiology or Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology.

The prerequisites for a Master´s Degree Project in Molecular Biology is that you are accepted to the Master´s Program in Molecular Biology at Lund University, and have completed 45 credits of relevant advanced courses (specific for each specialization).

Practical information

Before the start

  1. Check with 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; 996 kB).
  2. Contact a supervisor within the area of your interest and discuss the general outline of the project. Before proceeding, you should show your CV and LADOK excerpt to the supervisor. Note that the project can be conducted outside the university, e.g. at a company. If you do not find what you want among our project proposals or if you do not know what you want, your Master’s programme coordinators may give advice.
  3. Write a project plan together with your supervisor when you have decided about a project. The plan should be brief, but give a clear description of your specific project (2–3 A4 pages). Before the coordinator signs the form, he/she needs to approve the project plan. A preliminary shorter version of the plan is acceptable in advance, but it should be completed not later than by the end of the first week of the project. The plan should contain:
    • Project title
    • Name and e-mail addresses to you and the supervisor
    • Topic, time, and number of credits
    • Introduction, with theoretical background to the project and key references
    • The specific aim(s) of your project
    • Methods
    • Time plan (rough planning of the project). Remember to include time for writing of the report and preparations for the seminar. A 30 credit project should be about 20 weeks; 45 cr correspond to 30 weeks and 60 cr to 40 weeks (90, 135 or 180 workdays, respectively).
    • Key references (approx. 5-10)
  4. Register at the Education office. You have to be registered before starting your project, otherwise you will not be covered by an insurance. Complete the registration form. The form should be signed (in this order) by:
    • The study advisor, who checks that you fulfill the requirements
    • Yourself
    • The supervisor
    • The coordinator for the Master’s specialization, 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 and time plan (see below)
    • CV and LADOK excerpt showing which courses you have taken.
  5. A contact person will be appointed if the project is carried out outside of Lund University. The contact person will assist in supervison of the project and can not be examiner of the project.

Also remember:

  • Projects to be performed during the summer must be registered before the 15th of June.
  • If you will do the project abroad, you must arrange insurances. Tina Ledje at the Education office will help you.

The start

  1. Write a popularized description of the project. It is intended for publication 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. Fill in the template (ppt; 105 kB) for the presentation of the project on notice boards under “Ongoing Master Projects”. Fill it in and insert a photo and then email this to: Christina.Ledje [at]
  2. During the degree project work you make daily notes in a Lab 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 (e.g. because of vacation, illness, malfunctioning machines etc), or other significant events. This lab notebook, 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 fair evaluation of the time spent on the project.

During the project

  1. Carefully document your work in the lab notebook. Make careful notes to document experimental designs, technical details of experiments, raw data, calculations, results, conclusions, etc. This will give you training in 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, e.g. problems with your supervisor, contact your Master’s programme coordinator or contact person (if one has been appointed) as soon as possible. The earlier we address a problem the sooner it can be solved.
  3. You should participate in group meetings, seminars, etc 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 10, 15, or 20 weeks, depending on whether you do a 30, 45, or 60 credit project, respectively). It is done as a self-evaluation. A specific form is available for this purpose. The form contains a number of questiona that you and your supervisor should discuss and answer together. The form should be filled in, signed, and sent to your programme/specialization coordinator.

When your half-time checkpoint has been approved by the coordinator, the credits (15, 22,5 or 30 cr respectively) will be registered in LADOK.

In exceptional cases, a project can be prolonged (e.g. from 30 cr to 45 cr). 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 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 English. In some cases, it may be appropriate to write in Swedish, but then an abstract shall be written in English. Your report should follow the instructions on how to write manuscripts for a scientific journal(i.e. how the text should be organized, how figures and tables are presented, how refereces are handled). Choose together with your supervisor an appropriate journal as template. Get the ”Instructions for authors” through the journal’s website and study carefully how articles are written in the selected journal. Discuss with your supervisor whether your report may deviate from these instructions. For example, a degree project report may be longer than a regular scientific paper, and contain more details and even some preliminary data. The submitted report should follow a layout that makes it easy to read (with space for comments by opponent and examiner).
  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 quote someone, i.e. use someone else’s wording in your text, this must be clearly stated. The same applies if you would like to use someone else’s illustration. If you are unsure, you should discuss with your supervisor. 
    To avoid and prevent cheating and plagiarism, all Master theses written at the Department of Biology are sent to ”Urkund”, a program that uses internet/databases to scan a report for copied and plagiarized text. Your text is also added to the database, which prevents the contents of your thesis to be plagiarized by another student in the future.
  3. Write a popular science summary of your project, which must be approved by your supervisor before the examination. Also let some of your fellow master students read and give feedback on your popular science summary. The popularized 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. You find guidelines for this summary here (doc; 31 kB).

The examination

  1. The examination committee consists of:
    • Examiner. The programme/specialization coordinator will act as examiner or appoint another senior professor from a relevant discipline in the Department of Biology.
    • External reviewer, or external opponent. This person could come from another department, or from a different discipline within the Department of Biology. The External reviewer is appointed in agreement between the programme/specialization coordinator, supervisor, and examiner.
    • Supervisor, who will take part in the discussion, but not in the decision (exactly like at a PhD dissertation). 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 on telephone.
  2. Date, time for the seminar shall be decided in agreement between the supervisor and the examination committee.
  3. Submission of thesis. At least one week before the seminar, you should submit your final and complete thesis including the popular summary to the examiner via the URKUND system using one of the e-mail addresses below. This is the version of the thesis on which the examination will be based. Depending on which specialization you follow and who is your examiner, you should send the final report to one of the following address:
    Molecular biology, general programme [at]"> [at]
    Specialization Medical biology [at]
    Specialization Molecular genetics and biotechnology [at]
    Specialization Microbiology [at]"> [at]
    One-year Master’s degree project
    torbjorn.sall [at]
    NOTE! You must also send the report directly to the opponent at least one week before the seminar.
  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 christina.ledje [at] who will assist in advertising the seminar to other students and faculty members.
  5. Seminar. 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 form for reporting the grading is available here (pdf; 528 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 must have demonstrated the capacity to work independently, including creativity regarding problem posing, problem solving, deduction, and ability to put the results into a general context, e.g. a scientific area of research or relevant biological applications. The written and oral presentations of the exam project should be of high quality.
    • The total time spent on the project can not have exceeded the time plan with more than 20%.
    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% (e.g. about 18 working daysfor a 30 cr project). Further criteria for grading, as applied in the Department of Biology (pdf; 132 kB).

    If the degree project does not fulfill the requirements for “Pass” (Godkänd), the student will be given instructions about how to improve the work to reach the grade “Pass”.

After the examination

  1. Make the last corrections and adjustments of the written report. You will be given possibility (and are expected) to incorporate the changes 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 then be handed in both as a pdf and a Word file to Johanna B. Jonsdottir (johannna_b.jonsdottir [at] within two weeks af- ter the examination. There, your report will be provided with a special cover page, and you will receive a copy of the final electronic version if you wish. 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, e.g. scientific journals. Therefore, discuss with your supervisor if you should publish only the abstract or the whole thesis at LUP Student Papers.
  3. Please also complete the Master’s Evaluation form. You will get the web address from the Education office to the evaluation in an e-mail.
  4. Apply for your degree certificate. You need to apply for you degree certificate at the Degree office. You apply for your certificate online through the Student Portal. Log in to the Student portal with your Stil ID and follow the instructions. You apply for the degree “Master (120 credits)” in “Molecular Biology” (major subject) with specialization in “…” (if applicable). Contact Tina Ledje if you have questions. It may take up to three months for the Degree office to award the certificat.
Page Manager:

Study advisor

Christina Ledje, Education Office
Christina.Ledje [at]
046-222 73 16


Jóhanna B. Jónsdóttir, Education Office
Johanna_B.Jonsdottir [at]
046-222 73 15


Main coordinator

Klas Flärdh, room B-A222a
Klas.Flardh [at]
046-222 85 84

Specialization in Medical Biology

Bodil Sjögreen, room B-B205
Bodil.Sjogreen [at]
046-222 93 48

Specialization Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology

Marita Cohn, room B-A107A
Marita.Cohn [at]
046-222 72 56

Specialization in Microbiology

Lars Hederstedt, room B-A242
lars.hederstedt [at]
046-222 86 22

One-year Master's (Magister)

Torbjörn Säll, room B-A334
Torbjorn.Sall [at]
046-222 78 58