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.

Scientific Integrity is the moral code of academia. Please read more about this subject here.

Prior agreements
Please make agreements about copyrights (auteursrecht) with your supervisor in the application form when applying for the writing assignment.

Different ways to handle copyrights
Copyrights are always in the hands of the one who wrote the assignment and therefore belong to the student (unless agreed otherwise). When the supervisor or others use part of the data or texts from your work in their own publications, they need to follow the guidelines of scientific fairness. Your contribution may be acknowledged in different ways. Not only does this depend on the amount of data/texts used, but it also depends on the quality of your work and your 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.

Some publishing companies might find your writing assignment online and offer you to publish your work in paperback form. We advise you not to accept this offer, as they will take away your intellectual property and publish your work for a very high price.

Any questions regarding these issues should be addressed to your supervisor or the head of the research group in which you are working.

The study load of the writing assignment is 7.5 EC, which corresponds to five weeks of full-time study. The writing assignment cannot be extended for more credits. The writing assignment should be completed within three months, from the first meeting with the supervisor to discuss the assignment until submission of the assignment.

Fill out your application form together with your examiner and make a clear schedule for your writing assignment, recorded in a timetable, to prevent delays and overdue assignments. During the first meeting, dates should be set for discussion of the writing plan, discussion of the first draft, and feedback on the final version.

The maximum period of three months can only be extended in exceptional cases, in which case it is the student’s responsibility to make new agreements with his/her examiner and to obtain written approval from the Board of Examiners. To ask for an extended deadline, inform the Board of Examiners about the reason(s) for the delay and your new time schedule (supported by supervisors).

Before you start your writing assignment you have to choose between writing a literature review or a research proposal. 

The quality and suitability of writing assignment is assessed by the Board of Examiners before the start of your assignment. You cannot start your writing assignment unless you have received approval from the Board of Examiners in the form of an email from the Research Project Coordinator. 

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

A writing assignment can be written about any topic within the Life Sciences, but must be connected to your Master’s programme and clearly distinct from the topic(s) of your research project(s). 

In all cases an examiner from Utrecht University or UMC Utrecht should be appointed. External projects, projects at a non-university institute, and projects abroad require signing of an additional contract, the Internship contract, from the GSLS by the student, the external supervisor and the examiner.

You cannot start your writing assignment unless you have received approval from the Board of Examiners in the form of an email from the Research Project Coordinator. 

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: