Start your writing assignment

After finishing his/her writing assignment the student is capable of independently:

  • Conducting literature research, using scientific secure literature databases (e.g. PubMed).
  • Using scientific literature and insights in a critical manner.
  • Summarizing literature using own words.
  • Integrating results and models of papers read into new models.
  • Formulating hypothesis for future research.

In order to assess whether the student has achieved these learning outcomes or to discuss the specific criteria on beforehand, the Rubric for writing assignments can be used.

It is important to make agreements with your examiner/supervisor about the publication of the work you do, at the start of your project. Usually, publication rights will be transferred to your supervisor or his/her research group.

As to copyrights (auteursrecht), by signing the application form the student declares to transfer the copyright of any and all products, including the tangible and intellectual products of the research project, to the institute where you perform your project. This can be either Utrecht University, the University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) or your host institute. The rights of the student by scientific standards to be a co-author of publications or to be otherwise acknowledged are still recognized.

Your contribution may be acknowledged in different ways. Not only does this depend on the amount of data/texts you have contributed (to), but it also depends on the quality of your work and the level of independence during the project. You may be named in the acknowledgments, your report/writing assignment may be used as a literature reference or you may be asked to be a co-author for an article.

Any questions regarding these issues should be addressed to the head of your group.

The study load of a writing assignment is 7.5 EC, which corresponds to five weeks of full-time study. Your writing assignment should be completed within three months, from the first meeting with the supervisor to discuss the assignment until submission of the assignment.

A clear time schedule will help you to finish in timeDuring the first meeting with your supervisor, dates should be set for discussion of the writing plan, discussion of the first draft, and feedback on the final version. Fill out these dates on your application form. 

A writing assignment cannot be extended for more credits.

Exceeding the maximal duration
To request for a new end date, send an e-mail to your research project coordinator (Els van der Vlist for BMS students, Kim Weiler for students from the faculty of Science) with a document attached that includes:

  • A valid motivation for the delay. If your motivation contains matters of privacy an e-mail from your academic counsellor supporting your request will suffice;
  • A solid plan containing a time schedule and the new end date;
  • The document must be signed by your examiner.

The research project coordinator will inform you about the decision by email. 

Thing to consider before you hand in your writing assignment application*:

  • Choose if you want to write a literature review or a research proposal.
  • Choose a writing assignment topic within the scope of your Master’s programme.
  • Choose a topic that is clearly distinct from the topic(s) of the research project(s).
  • Ask for approval from your programme coordinator and the Board of Examiners.

*Note: students from the master's programme CSDB participate in a pilot of which the entire writing assignment procedure is digitized. More information can be found here.

Together with your Master’s programme coordinator the Board of Examiners (BoE) assesses the quality and suitability of your writing assignment. This is done before the start of your the assignment. You can only start with your writing assignment after you have received approval from the BoE. This approval is sent in the form of an email by one of the research project coordinators

  • Use the General application form* ask for approval from the Board of Examiners.
  • Hand in the application form at the Master’s Administration Office at least 20 working days before the start of your writing assignment. 
  • Only typed and printed (so no handwritten) forms will be accepted.

*Note: students from the master's programme CSDB participate in a pilot of which the entire writing assignment procedure is digitized. More information can be found here.

External writing assignments, for example at non-university institutes or abroad, require signing of an additional contract, the GSLS Internship contract. More information about external writing assignments is available here.

For projects at the UMC Utrecht you need an UMC Utrecht internship account and UMC card. More information is available here.

For more information and guidelines:

Furthermore, the UU library offers online backgrounds and trainings about the use of search engines, for instance:

There are also general guidelines for writing a scientific paper: