Are you going to start your bachelor thesis soon or are you already reading for next year? In any case, you can find information about arranging your internship and what it entails here. If you are not yet sure what a thesis entails, it is best to start at the top, but the drop-down menus also allow you to search for information in a more targeted manner.
To obtain your Bachelor you must have completed a thesis, this is a graduation project in which you are partly involved in your own research and gain a lot of practical experience (for example in the lab). You also spend part of your time writing a research report or literature search. To start your bachelor thesis you must have obtained 120 EC (16 courses). A thesis is therefore often completed as a bachelor’s degree in the fourth period of the third year. However, this is certainly not mandatory and can also be done in other periods, ask the research group where you would like to do an internship in time!
For MLS students there is the choice to do your thesis part at the department of biology or the department of chemistry, regardless of whether you are enrolled via Biology or Chemistry. Which department you end up with will depend on the subject you want to study and the research group where you want to do your internship.
When you have made a choice in which research group (see below) you want to do your thesis, you can register for your thesis at Biology or Chemistry.
Bachelor thesis with Biology
For Biology you have to register via OSIRIS for the course “Afstudeerproject” (B-B3AFSTP), which counts as 15 EC and is required to complete your thesis. You write a literature study for the subject research thesis. You will do an internship for the research project course, of which you must submit a written internship report (which is separate from your literature research, but may be incorporated into it, making it one document). The topics of both parts do not have to be the same and can therefore be separate, but to be able to read into two topics is a lot of extra workload. It is assumed that you will spend about half of your time on both subjects, filling in and distributing this time is up to you and your supervisor.
If you are doing your thesis via Biology, you will have to fill in an online form via Survey Monkey after registering via OSIRIS with information about your choice of internship. This means that the coordinators of the course know where you will be doing your thesis and who your supervisors are. You also follow a number of compulsory seminars that explain how to search for literature, what is involved in good research and a good thesis. During the first seminar you will receive the thesis course manual, here you will find additional information and you can also find the hard deadlines for the entire period (such as submitting a thesis plan and the final version deadline). In biology, you therefore receive a fair amount of guidance from the course itself, and you also have to submit hard deadlines. For more information about doing your thesis with biology, visit this website.
Bachelor thesis with Scheikunde
For chemistry, you also take one course worth 15 EC, namely Bachelor’s thesis in Chemistry (SK-BTHESIS; 15 EC). You do not need to register for this course yourself via OSIRIS, instead, after you have found an internship, you fill in a contract together with your supervisor. This contract can be found here. Then send this document as a PDF document to email@example.com, and cc to the course coordinator Syl Blad (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Student Desk will register you for the course at OSIRIS. The big difference with biology is that you do not do a literature study separately, instead you only do a large research, the results of which you then process in a research report. This can be based on a time division in which you spend eight weeks doing full-time research, and then you have two weeks to write a report about it. In chemistry, it is a mandatory part to present your research to the other members of the research group. In chemistry there is also no support from tutorials or a manual course, so you have to determine the deadlines yourself with your supervisor. You are let loose a little more and are more responsible for keeping an eye on your deadlines and the agreements you have made with your supervisor. For more information about doing your thesis through chemistry, visit this website.
To be able to do a thesis, you must have found a place to do this well in advance of the start of the block in which you wish to do an internship, the coordinators of the course will not guide you further. To get an internship, send an email to researchers inside and outside the Utrecht University, for all possibilities and an overview of research groups where you can do your bachelor thesis, see the overview.
Approaching research groups
In some research groups, places can be very selective, and popular sections sometimes fill up quickly. A guideline to start emailing for a spot is early December. Although there is no final date on which you can arrange a place (of course before the start of the block), two months before the start of the block, it is already very tight for researchers to be able to place you in their research group. In addition, take into account the registration period for the block in which you want to do your internship, at least at Biology you will have to send an email to the credit if you have missed it.
Feel free to email multiple research groups for an internship, after all, the ongoing research and supervisors must also respond to your interests and be able to weigh up various options.
What can you best mention in your email?
- Your study, name and student number
- Start and end date of your internship/the block in which you do your internship, how many weeks you actually have to do in the lab/practical research
- Why you are specifically interested in this research group
- Your motivation
- Any experience (relevant courses you have followed) and why you are suitable to do an internship in this research group
If a research group is interested in offering you an internship, you will be invited to an introductory meeting. Here you will most likely be told what research is ongoing within the research group and what you will contribute to. Feel free to ask all your questions here;
- Who is your daily supervisor and how much time does this person have to personally guide you?
- What will your work mainly mean during your internship?
- What do the group and your supervisor expect from you?
If this conversation goes well and both parties are satisfied, you may have found an internship!
Internship outside the departments
In case you do your bachelor thesis outside the departments of Biology and Chemistry, your supervisor is an external researcher. According to the guidelines, in that case you must find a second assessor/examiner within the departments of biology or chemistry. Also e-mail various researchers and professors from the university, in consultation with your first supervisor.
Your next step is to complete your registration for the desired thesis course(s) on OSIRIS. As you have already read above, this works slightly differently for enrolment via chemistry and biology.
For biology, you manually register via the regular enrollment route for the course “Afstudeerproject” (B-B3AFSTP) on OSIRIS. A few weeks before the start of the course, you will have to fill in an online Survey Monkey questionnaire, in which you indicate the agreements you have already made about your thesis and fill in the subject of your research.
For chemistry you fill in a contract together with your supervisor, in which working hours, supervision, evaluation and deadlines are established. Then send the contract as a PDF document to email@example.com with a cc to the course coordinator Syl Blad (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Student Desk will register you via OSIRIS for the Bachelor’s thesis in Chemistry (SK-BTHESIS), so you do not have to do this yourself.
It is strongly recommended to have a conversation with your (daily) supervisor before the start of your internship. You can take the time to learn more about the upcoming research, and agree deadlines for you and deadlines for feedback. You can also use this conversation to fill in the contract for when you enrolled via chemistry.
A smart question to ask here is whether your supervisor will be absent for a few days, and how you will take care of this. You can also ask for literature so that you can read up on the topic of your research before you actually start.
The short answer is; anywhere you can conduct research within the professional field relevant to MLS students. This is of course very broad, which is why here is an overview of the research groups where most people will do their internship. All possible internships can be divided into a number of categories, each with their own rules regarding arranging an internship.
Within the departments of Biology and Chemistry
The most obvious research groups where you can do your Bachelor’s thesis are research groups from the Bijvoet Center within the Department of Chemistry;
- Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics
- Cellular Protein Chemistry
- Crystal and Structural Chemistry
- NMR Spectroscopy
- Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics
- Cryo-electron microscopy
- Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery
And research groups within the Institute of Biodynamics and biocomplexity of the department of biology;
- Theoretical biology and bioinformatics
- Developmental biology
- Research Division Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Biophysics (often abbreviated to Cell Biology), note that this group has other arrangements for doing bachelor’s theses. This includes the following research groups;
- Cellular Dynamics
- Molecular Neuroscience
- Molecular Oncology
- Theoretical Biophysics
- Neuronal Organelle Dynamics
- Axonal Signaling
- Synapse Organization
- Molecular Targeted Therapies
- Cellular Electron Microscopy
- Synaptic Physiology
On the KonJoin platform, research groups can offer current bachelor and master internship places. You can look around here for opportunities, but know that not every possible internship within the University is set up here.
The Hubrecht Institute and the UMC Utrecht
The Uithof (Utrecht Science Park) also houses the Hubrecht Institute and the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht, both bodies contain many different research groups where you could arrange an internship. Because these research groups fall outside the departments of chemistry and biology, you will have to arrange a second examiner within one of the departments, as described above.
The Hubrecht Institute conducts diverse research into developmental and stem cell biology. You can think of signalling in stem cells in early embryonic development, heart development, regeneration, epigenetics, genome architecture, cell cycle control, DNA repair and so on. This research uses various research models, including mice, frogs, zebrafish, fruit flies, worms, tissue culture and organoids.
At UMC Utrecht, all research aims to contribute to improving people’s health and health care. The research that is being done there focuses on six focus areas, namely; brain, cancer, child health, circulatory health, infection and immunity and regenerative medicine and stem cells.
At a company or other research institute
Of course, in addition to the UMC Utrecht and Hubrecht Institute, there are other research centers where you can do an internship, such as the NKI. Companies such as Genmab, inteRNA, Merus and Nutricia also have various internship opportunities. Simply check this by sending an email to the head of research there. You will also have to arrange for a second examiner for these internships.
It is also possible to do your bachelor thesis abroad, which can be a valuable experience, but will certainly involve more regulation work. If this seems like a nice idea, it is even more important than usual that you start planning your internship in time, contact the Science International Office. For further explanation about doing an internship abroad, you can visit this website and it may be useful to ask the study advisor or one of the coordinators of the two courses S.Blad@uu.nl (Chemistry) and email@example.com (Biology) for further questions.
You will use many literary sources while writing your literature review and research report. To provide an overview of this, and to access many (normally paid) research papers, the Computer Committee, the PCie, has a manual for Mendeley and access to the University license for reading research material. This manual can be found here (you must be logged in for this).
In closing, NOTE: If you want to start a master in September, it is very important that your last grade is on Osiris no later than August 1st. This is a hard, nationally determined deadline!