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OnderzoekZernike (ZIAM)OnderwijsTop Master Program in Nanoscience

Small research project (NS194)


In the second semester of the first year, each student will carry out a small research project around an already defined problem. This course is designed to provide a first taste of scientific research. Properly keeping a lab journal, and presenting it at the end, is an important part of this course (see guidelines below). Additionally, each student should give an oral presentation on her/his research project. The students will organize a scientific symposium at the end of the semester where they all give their oral presentations.

Important: the small research project needs to be performed in a different group from the master thesis project (NS200). Moreover, it is required that students that have the intention to do the master project on a physics topic do the short research project on a chemistry (or bio-chemistry/physics), and vice versa.

All learning objectives, teachers, assesments and the time schedule can be found on Ocasys, all additional information can be found on this page.


Research groups in the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials submit brief (half A4, no pictures or equations) proposals, which are collected in a list of available projects: you will soon find the available projects for 2019 at the bottom of this page. Futhermore, for reference or inspiration, the lists of available projects of the years 2010-2017 and 2018 are also archived at the bottom of this page). Each prospective supervisor can submit up to two proposals, with a maximum of five per research group.

The student selects a topic from the list of available projects and discusses this with her/his mentor, before contacting the project supervisor. Selection has to be completed by early February (For 2019: 8 February), while the actual working on the project should start typically shortly after 15 February, but 1 March at the latest.

Note: students should not feel restricted to the listing, when a student has an idea for a small project of her/his own, she/he is always welcome to approach a prospective supervisor with the idea for asking whether it can be carried out.


Here you can find a file with all guidelines for top master Nanoscience students and supervisors on individually supervised course units

Guidelines on lab journal keeping

At the start of the course prof. dr. ir. C.H. van der Wal will give a tutorial about the lab journal.

The pdf document at this link provides the instructions that must be followed for keeping a lab journal during the NS194 course.

Guidelines on symposium

Each student should give an oral presentation on her/his research project. The students will organize a scientific symposium at the end of the semester where they all give their oral presentations. Find the programme of June 2018 on

The presentations should be aimed at an audience of fourth and fifth year students of physics or chemistry; staff members of the Zernike Institute will also be present. Each presentation should take approximately 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions and discussion.

Use of modern audio-visual presentation techniques is encouraged. It is the student's responsibility to avail him/herself of advice on scientific presentation skills, if needed. There is a wealth of literature on this topic. The supervisor will assist the student by paying special attention to presentation skills during the preparation period and especially during trial presentations.

In addition, NS194 foresees in providing lectures and tutorials on oral presentation skills (by prof. dr. M.S. Pchenitchnikov).


The small research project is reported individually as well as collectively:

  • each student must present the progress and results of his/her research to the supervisor in the form of a log-book (note that a thesis-like report is not required as output to pass NS194; however, upon mutual agreement between a student and a supervisor documenting the results in a report can be part of the student's task).

  • all students belonging to the same cohort jointly organize a symposium in which everyone gives an oral presentation.

One overall mark will be given to each individual participant. A proposed final grade is formed by averaging a grade for the symposium presentation (weight 1/3), and a grade by the supervisor reflecting the research project's quality (incl. the log-book keeping) as performed in the research group (weight 2/3). The supervisor is asked to use a standard form for the assessment. The grade for the symposium presentation is the average grade from at least 2 (typically 4, incl. the coordinator) staff members who use a standard form for the assessment. The coordinator will define the final grade from moderating the proposed final grades, by comparing the various student cases and by accounting for the quality of the student's contribution to the organization of the symposium.

Time schedule

Selection of a project: early February (For 2019: Friday 8 February 2019)

Tutorials about lab journal and organization symposium (by prof. dr. ir. C.H. van der Wal).

Start actually working on a project: around 15 February, per 1 March at the latest. Students and supervisors must plan a workload of 13 ECTS (13 x 28 hours) in the period up to the symposium (including the symposium presentation), in parallel with the other study tasks.

Lectures and tutorials on oral presentation skills (by prof. dr. M.S. Pchenitchnikov).

The symposium should be held before 1 July.

Current projects


Archive of the advertised student projects (as listed before the start of the project) are listed below. Note: these project are no longer valid, but merely listed for inspiration.

Last modified:29 January 2019 10.57 a.m.