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Research Zernike (ZIAM) Education Top Master Program in Nanoscience

Practical information for students and teachers

Exam regulations Top master in Nanoscience

Below, a practical summary of the exam regulations for Nanoscience can be found. They are derived from the Teaching and Examination Regulations, Rules and Regulations by boards of examiners and the Quality Assurance Manual of RUG FSE.

  1. Before the exam
    Responsibility: teacher of the concerning part.
    1. Clarifying written vs oral: In the course description on Ocasys and in the assessment plan of the Master Nanoscience is clarified whether the first regular exam for that part is a written exam or an oral exam (see point 5 below for regulations oral exams). The scheduling of the format of re-exams should be planned in a similar manner (where the format can be adjusted in dependence on the number of participants).
    2. Availability of practice exams: For all course units at least one practice examination with model answers (examples of previous years) should be available for the students, to help the students prepare for their examinations (decision Board of the University, December 2014). Students must have access to this at least a week before the last lecture.
    3. Peer review of (re-) exams: The teacher (first examiner) is responsible for making the (partial) (re-)exam. The teacher must present a first draft to the assigned second examinerat the latest 3 working days before the exam date, for peer review of the exam.
      For each part of the NS-core-modules the first and second examiners are announced at the Ocasys-page.
      This applies to all written exams, and the preparation of oral exams (see point 5 below) when the first regular exams are orals.
    4. Cover sheet on exam question set:

      Each (partial) exam question set must start with a cover sheet (first page) that states the following information:

      • Name of the (part of the) course.
      • Date of the exam session.
      • Start and end time of the exam session.
      • Number of questions and number of pages (and all pages must be numbered).
      • A statement that clarifies to what extent it is an open book exam.
      • The weighting of the questions and the grading scheme (total number of points, and mention the number of points at each (sub)question). Grade = 1 + 9 x (score/max score).
      • Documenting the exam peer review . The cover sheet must have one line that reads:
        Exam drafted by (name first examiner), exam reviewed by (name second examiner).
  2. During the exam - Organization of written (partial) exams NS core modules

    Responsibility: course coordinator NS core modules for the academic year 2018/2019

    • NS001: Preparation of nanomaterials and devices: prof. dr. T. Banerjee
    • NS002: Characterization of nanomaterials and devices: prof. dr. ir. B.J. Kooi
    • NS003a: Fundamental properties of nanomaterials and devices: dr. R.W.A. Havenith

    While the course coordinator is formally responsible for exams and resits, all teachers are responsible for organizing the surveillance of the exams for their own course part. The course coordinator must be informed who is present for the surveillance of the exam in advance. The teacher must be within reach (can be by phone) during the exam with clear instruction to the invigilator on how the teacher can be reached. (The supervision must follow the FSE rules of conduct for written examinations and Organization of examinations).

    The teacher is responsible for sufficient copies of the exam forms (including 5 extra for re-exams by 2nd-year students), and answer sheets.

    One resit is organized for every course part each academic year in consultation with students and the involved teacher and the deputy director. Permission form the Board of Examiners is required for a student to take the same partial exam more than twice in an academic year.

  3. After the exam

    Responsibility: teacher of the concerning part.

    • Grade the exam within 10 working days.
    • Archiving to be prepared for accreditation: Please send the exam and model answers (in pdf form) within 7 days after the exam to the Nanoscience programme coordinator (Karin de Jonge) <>.
    • Archiving exams made by students (answer sheets): Hand over the full set of answer sheets (in paper form) to the programme director (Thomas la Cour Jansen), between 6 to 8 weeks after the exam (students must first be able to review the answering by visiting the teacher). The answer sheets will be archived at one location by the programme coordinator (they have to be kept in archive for 7 years for accreditation reviews, according to the Wet versterking kwaliteitswaarborgen hoger onderwijs [announcement to directors schools FSE, January 2015]).
    • Communicating partial grades to students: only via the course coordinator, this can be done either using an e-mail to the course coordinator with the (partial) grade information or through the Nestor grade center combined with an e-mail to the course coordinator that the grades have been uploaded. The course coordinator will handle all communication of grades to the students and final grades for the course to the education support center.

  4. Defining the final grades for the NS core modules

    Responsibility: course coordinator

    • Calculating the final grade: The final grade is the weighted average of the partial exam grades, but students must have a grade ≥5.5 on all partial exams. The weight factors are defined in the OCASYS course description. If they do not meet this passing criteria (even when their final average is ≥5.5), or if a student did not participate in one or more partial exams, they do not pass the course. In that case send a FAIL in stead of a grade. The F will be registered.
    • Sending the grades to the ESC: Please send the final grades as an Excel sheet to the ESC ( For legal purposes you are required to also send a hard copy of the grade list, signed by the course coordinator, to the ESC (Bernoulliborg, Education Support Desk, 5161.0141). Without this signed hard copy the grades cannot be processed. Another option is to send the excel file together with the scan of the hardcopy of the excel file with a signature of the course coordinator via SURF filesender. Consult ESC Information for lecturers (FSE) for more information about handing in the grades, for example the information which has to be available in the excel sheet.  
    • The course coordinator must also e-mail (or communicate via Nestor) the final grades directly to the students as soon as possible.
    • In the case of missing a partial exam solely due to illness or personal circumstances, but passed at a later date (at cum laude level), this will be taken into consideration when cum laude is considered.
  5. Regulations on oral examinations

    Responsibility: teacher of the concerning part AND course coordinator

    In view of quality assurance it is important to also document oral examinations. The programme director and the Board of examiners have prepared a format to do so: click here for the form. Part of this document must be filled in before the oral exam (see guidlines on the form). After the oral exam, please send this document (as cover sheet) and the full set of relevant papers (stapled together) in paper form to the course coordinator. This is also the path for communicating the exam grade to the course coordinator. In turn, the course coordinator must hand over or send these papers to the programme coordinator (Karin de Jonge) or the programme director (Thomas La Cour Jansen) for archiving, within 3 weeks after the oral exam.

Grading consequences for missing deadlines

When a student does not meet a deadline for turning in an assignment for a course (an examination, or part of it), this has consequences for the grading of this (partial) examination. These guidelines also apply to cases where a first grading yields an insufficent (not-pass) grade.

The reasoning behind these guideliness is:

  1. Students learn to perform while respecting deadlines.

  2. A student can, in principle, show a better performance if a student has more time for an assignment. It is therefore an attempt to keep the grading fair and balanced when comparing students who do meet and do not meet a deadline.

  3. The programme considers it very important that students finish the full programme in at most the nominal duration of 2 years, and these guidelines should stimulate students to realize study progress without delays.

These guidelines apply to all (partial) examination forms where you need to turn in, or finish, a certain assignment for passing the course. This includes the assignments for the individual projects NS190, NS194, NS200, and NS202, and the lab reports for the parts Loi, Banerjee, and Van Wees in NS001.

The consequences for grading when not meeting a deadline (or getting an insufficient grade on an individual assignment) are:

  1. When not meeting the regular (first) deadline, the highest grade that can be obtained is reduced from 10 to 7.5.

  2. When not meeting a second deadline (with a date to be agreed upon with the course coordinator after missing the first deadline), the highest grade that can be obtained is further reduced from 7.5 to 6.5.

  3. When a student does not meet the second deadline, the course coordinator should inform the programme director. The student will then be inivited for a meeting with the programme director. In this meeting, the study progress and planning will be discussed, and the students is asked to commit him/herself to a next deadline.

  4. If a student gets a grade below 5.5, after finishing or turning in an assignment before the first (second) deadline, the student must improve the assignment (before a new deadline that will be specified). The improved version should be graded as an assignment that was received after the first (second) deadline. That is, the highest grade that can be obtained is reduced from 10 to 7.5 (from 7.5 to 6.5).

  5. These guidelines will be included in the Ocasys course descriptions for the cases where they must be applied. More in general, examiners (lecturers, supervisors) are asked to apply the guidelines presented here in all cases where grading must be performed while a student did not meet the deadline of the case.

  6. When a study delay is caused by circumstances outside the student's control, the examiner is free to deviate from these guidelines, but the examiner must motivate this on the document that reports the grade.

Further guidelines for examiners on grading with maximum grade 7.5 or 6.5 are:

The rule should be implemented as a re-scaling of the range of grades that are sufficient for passing the course. The grading range from 6 (or 5.5 for partial exams) to 10 scales to the range 6 (or 5.5) to 7.5. Similarly, for missing the second deadline, this range becomes 6 (or 5.5) to 6.5.

  • For post-deadline grading, the lowest grade for just passing remains 6 for a full course (5.5 for a partial exam). That is, the required level of the work for getting this grade remains the same before and after the deadlines (this then always concerns the grade 6 or 5.5, which signals a just-pass performance).

  • For post-deadline grading of work that has a higher level than just-pass, a lowering of the grade must be applied. After missing one deadline, work at level 9-10 becomes 7.5, work at level 8 becomes 7, work at level 7 becomes 6.5, etc.

Guidelines for declaring study-programme choices

Per December/January/February in the first year, the students have to make and formally declare choices for their individual study programme, as a first step to get their study programme approved by the Board of Examiners.

Notably, the student must already declare (at least an indicative) choice for the topic of the master thesis project at this moment, because:

  • the student must then already start with elective courses that will support the master thesis project;

  • three parts of the programme (master thesis project, research paper, and small research project) must be on very different topics and with different supervisors (according to the rules in the Appendices teaching and examination regulations Master Nanoscience).

The students have to declare choices for the following parts of the study programme (before 8 February 2020, for cohort 2019-2021):

  1. A set of 4 elective courses (mostly in relation to the master thesis project).

  2. Supervisor and topic of the research paper (NS190). Select a supervisor who is available quite a bit in February and March!

  3. Supervisor and topic of the small research project (NS194).

  4. Indicative choice: Supervisor and topic of the master thesis project (NS200), choice can be PARTLY postponed till late Spring of the first year.
    Declare (indicative) choice early February (date see above): always fill in at least some indication [for example: "a physics topic related to laser spectroscopy, probably in the group of prof. X, prof. Y or prof Z."].

Note: It is mandatory that the student discusses all choices that she/he is considering with his/her mentor, before declaring the choices.

And: ALWAYS include your mentor as a cc recipient on this mail (that is our way of confirming that you indeed had a meeting with your mentor).

Before February 8th 2020: send an overview of your choices to the programme coordinator (, with a cc to your mentor and also a cc to your supervisor of your small research project (NS194) and the supervisor of your research paper (NS190) to confirm your choices and agreements.

Before 15 July 2020: send an overview of your choices to the programme coordinator (, with a cc to your mentor and also a cc to the supervisor of your master thesis project (NS200) to confirm your choices and agreements regarding NS200.

Before 1 November 2020: send an overview of your choices to the programme coordinator (, with a cc to your mentor and also a cc to the supervorisor of your PhD proposal (NS202) to confirm your choices and agreements regarding NS202.

For presenting your overview, use copy-paste the template between the ===== lines below here, as a start to edit your e-mail.
ALWAYS USE THE FULL TEMPLATE AND (RE-)LIST ALL PARTS, also when you later need to send in updates or when you like to request a modification of one part.
If you do not know some parts yet, leave the box empty.

Please use the following TEMPLATE for the DECLARATION OF YOUR CHOICES:


I declare the following choices for my study programme, after discussing these choices with my mentor:

ELECTIVES ... [Course name ... Course code ... Lecture period]

NS190 Research paper
Topic (1-10 lines):

NS194 Small research project
Topic (1-10 lines):

NS200 Master thesis project
Topic (1-10 lines):

NS202 PhD research proposal
Topic (1-10 lines):



The Board of Examiners has defined that the following staff members can act as Examiners for the Top Master Programme in Nanoscience (and will re-define this on at least a yearly basis). This means that these persons can teach in any of the courses of the programme, define and grade exams for these courses (when also assigned as coordinator for this course), and act as supervisor (including the grading) for individual projects, unless specified differently.

The listing below was formally approved by the Board of Examiners of Nanoscience:

All members of the permanent+tenure-track scientific staff (i.e. professors, docenten known as UD or UHD, tenure track assistant professors, and incl. retired yet active scientific staff) of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (incl. associate members), as listed here (units) , here (PI's), and here (Zernike Institute National Research Centre).

And long-term research associates, but not listed above:

  • Dr. P.H.C. Åberg (Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, lecturer in Nanoscience coremodules)
  • Dr. P. van Rijn (Faculty of Medical Sciences, as second examiner for research projects related to Nanobiotechniology and Advanced Therapeutic Materials)
  • Prof. dr. H. Jaeger (Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Sciences and Artificial Intelligence, as second examiner for research projects related to Advanced Production Engineering)
  • Dr. A. Salvati (Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, lecturer in Nanoscience coremodules)
  • Prof. dr. Y. Pei (Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen, as second examiner for research projects related to Advanced Production Engineering)
  • Prof. dr. N.A. Taatgen (Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, as second examiner for master thesis projects regarding to artificial intelligences)
  • Dr. M.C.A. Stuart (Stratingh Institue for Chemistry, as second examiner for research projects regarding advanced software TEM characterization)
  • Prof. dr. R.G.E. Timmermans (Van Swinderen Institute for Part. Phys and Gravity, as second examiner for research projects regarding theoretical Physics)

Research associates who wish to be included on this list can send a request to the deputy director of the Master Nanoscience. Subsequently the deputy director will send a request to the board of examiners.

The Board of Examiners will take a decision based on these guidelines:

  1. The research associate is highly motivated for contributing to education at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials. This has been confirmed in a meeting between the person and the programme director or a member of the Board of Examiners.
  2. The person has at least three years postdoctoral experience in academic research, and has in this position built up experience in the co-supervision of bachelor, master or PhD students.
  3. The person must be aware of the practice of research and education at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, and has been affiliated with the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials already for at least three years.

For a complete list of all examiners for the Master Nanoscience, see:


Please find the contact information of the timetablers here. They are responsible for scheduling of all lectures, tutorials and other educational activities.

Here you can find the academic year calendar.

You can look for instructors in the schedule generator: instructors; to get access you have to login (see top of the page on your right hand).

And here you can find the schedule generator for individual rooms.

Last modified:28 June 2020 10.26 p.m.