Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Crystallography - MSc

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 2
Programme level Full Degree Master
Course responsible
  • Leila Lo Leggio (5-726b6f726746696e6b7334717b346a71)
  • Department of Chemistry
Course number: NKEA06015U

Course content

Crystallography is the main technique by which the three-dimensional structures of molecules are determined. One advantage of crystallography is that similar methods can be used to determine the structure of molecules ranging in size from just a few atoms to the size of ribosomal particle (in the MDa range).

The aim of this course is to provide the student with fundamental knowledge about the crystallographic methods used to determine the structure of crystalline materials, especially single crystals of bio-macromolecules and small molecules, covering the main aspects of chemical and macromolecular crystallography from crystallization to structure validation.

Considerable weight is given to the practical part, in which the students will gain experience in structure determination and the use of structural databases, through laboratory and computer-based practical classes and an individual research-based project. The students will be trained in critical reading of original articles and written presentation of own results on structure determination by X-ray crystallography, in particular through writing of a report on their individual project.

Learning outcome


The students must be able to

- Plan and carry out a small crystallographic project within given constraints of time and resources

- Analyze standard crystallographic data

- Evaluate structural models derived from crystallographic data (e.g. from structural databases)

- Evaluate and discuss the quality of crystallographic data and the derived structural information from literature and scientific databases


The student must be able to:

-  plan and set up crystallization experiments

-  process and determine crystallographic space groups from diffraction data

-  determine crystallographic structures

-  read and critically evaluate original articles and literature in the field

-  make use of crystal structure databases for structural comparison and to evaluate structure quality

-  undertake, with some guidance, their own small crystallographic project, including design, performance, interpretation of experiments and written communication of used methods, results and discussion of significance


 The students must demonstrate knowledge of:

- Crystallization and diffraction theory
- Crystal symmetry
- Crystallographic structure determination methods
- Structure validation

Recommended prerequisites

Students with a BSc-degree in chemistry, biochemistry and nanotechnology have good basis for taking this course. Students with related bachelor degrees (for example biology or molecular biomedicine) are recommended to contact the teacher before registering in order to discuss their background knowledge as compared to the level of the course.


The course is very suitable for Chemistry students, but also for Biochemistry and Nanotechnology students
It's not possible to take this course if you already have taken Crystallography-BSc

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MSc Programme in Chemistry
MSc Programme in Biochemistry

MSC Programme in Nanoscience


Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


Leila Lo Leggio, leila@chem.ku.dk
Anders Kadziola, kadziola@chem.ku.dk
Anders Ø Madsen, madsen@chem.ku.dk


1 block


A few hours of the course may be scheduled outside group C after agreement with the students
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Teaching and learning methods

The course consists of a theoretical part (lectures, exercise classes and discussion of original articles) and a practical part (laboratory and computer-based practical sessions). The practical sessions are compulsory. In the latter weeks, a short individual practical project is carried out, and the course maybe supplemented with lectures/practical classes on specialized topics and a visit to the MAX IV synchrotron.






In 2015 we have used the following textbooks – however they may be subject to change so please check with the responsible teacher or on Absalon before buying: W. Massa, Crystal structure determination 2nd edition 2004 (chemical crystallography), Springer-Verlag ISBN: 3-540-20644-2; D. Blow, Outline of Crystallography for Biologists, 2002, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0-19-851051-9. Additional notes, reviews and articles will be available on Absalon.


Category Hours
Lectures 24
Theory exercises 10
Practical exercises 18
Excursions 6
Colloquia 8
Project work 12
Guidance 3
Exam 25
Preparation 100
English 206


Type of assessment

Written assignment, A report on the project is submitted on a given date towards the end of the course
Oral examination, 20-30 min under invigilation
The course will be evaluated through a written report on the individual project (with a weight of 30%) and an oral exam covering the content of the course (with a weight of 70 %)


Only certain aids allowed

The students are allowed to look briefly at short lists of key points they may have prepared at home, once they find out what main topics are to be covered in their oral examination (lottery drawn). They are also allowed to look up information in appropriate tables in the textbooks or International tables provided at the oral exam. No other aids are allowed.

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment

See 'målbeskrivelser'

Censorship form

No external censorship

Exam period

several internal examiners


Re-examination takes the same form of the ordinary exam. A new project report can be handed it.
All practical reports must be handed in. If the student has not participated in 80% of practical classes, they will have to complete the practical work primarily as self-study. If the student has not completed the practical project work, this will have to be primarily completed as self-study. Only minimal supervision can be expected and only when justified by safety considerations.

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