Your first year
Studying International Relations and Organisations is a full-time job; it will take you 40 hours a week on average. Attending lectures, tutorials, and work group sessions will take about 16 hours; these are the contact hours. The rest of the time you will study independently or with your fellow students preparing for the lectures and work group sessions, writing assignments and essays, and reading.
During the first year of the programme, you acquaint yourself with the basics of the political science discipline and international politics. Furthermore, you will study related subjects, such as economics and history. An important part of the programme is reserved for skills courses, where you practice text analysis, debating, and academic writing.
You attend lectures with all IRO students from the same year. The work groups consist of about 24 students, and during the work group sessions you actively work with your fellow students on deepening and processing the knowledge you have gained from the lectures and your reading.
The academic year runs from early September to July and consists of two semesters, each divided into two blocks. A block covers 8 weeks, with 7 weeks of teaching and one exam week. At the university, we use the European Credits Transfer System (ECTS) to represent the workload of courses. Each year of the three-year programme consists of 60 EC. One EC stands for 28 hours of studying.
- Introduction to Political Science (5 EC)
Investigate some of the discipline’s core concepts, such as ‘power’ and ‘state’. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of normative and empirical approaches, and learn about different research strategies in political science.
- Introduction to International Relations (5 EC)
Acquaint yourself with the main theoretical perspectives on international politics. What is the role of the state, in light of the growing importance of international governmental organisations (e.g. the United Nations) and non-governmental organisations (e.g. Amnesty International)? How can we make sense of the behaviour of these and other actors in the global arena?
- Global History (5 EC)
For centuries Europe has dominated a large part of the world. This course aims to help you understand the dynamics that led to this process as well as the consequences for contemporary politics. Drawing on insights from economic history, military history and—last but not least—political history, the emergence of the modern nation-state in Europe is studied. It also covers the process of industrialisation and asks the question: why did this happen in Europe, which for many centuries was far less developed than some other civilizations in the Middle East and Far East? And why were European colonial powers able to export their political, economic, social and cultural ideas to the rest of the world?
- Academic Skills I (3 EC)
This course is about text interpretation. You will learn how scientific texts are supposed to be structured, and how you can read them. You will distinguish different types of research questions, and academic from non-academic work. In addition, your will practice searching literature for your own research, as well as citing your sources.
- Actors in World Politics (5 EC)
States are traditionally seen as the most important actors in world politics. States are sovereign political entities which makes them powerful and relevant. However, especially since the end of the Second World war other actors have entered the stage: multinationals and non-governmental organisations like Amnesty International have conquered a place at the table; international governmental organisations such as the United Nations play an important role in addressing global issues such as poverty, armed conflict and climate change. In this course you study the great variety of actors in world politics, as well as the processes they are involved in, including decision-making, policy-making, diplomacy, mediation and negotiation.
- Statistics I (5 EC)
As a student in social sciences, you will ask questions of an empirical nature. That means you will need both data and methods for processing these data. In this course you familiarise yourself with data description, basic statistical measurement, and the SPSS Statistics software.
- Academic Skills II (2 EC)
Argumentation is a crucial skill for any student, and it is the central theme of this course. You are taught how to structure your argumentation and how to analyse the reasoning of others, applying the proper criteria to your analysis.
- International Organisations (5 EC)
International organisations have become important actors in world politics. What role do these organisations play, exactly? How do they work; do they have an identity of their own? You will look into large and well-known organisations such as the United Nations, European Union, and NATO, but also into lesser known (non-)governmental entities.
- Academic Skills III (2 EC)
Find out what makes for a good book review and apply these insights by writing your own review.
- Economics for Political Scientists (5 EC)
Learn about, or refresh your memory of, the main principles of economic theory and apply these to policy making. Some of the subjects that will be addressed are consumer and producer behaviour, money and banking, monetary policy, and the international economy.
- Statistics II (5 EC)
In this course you will focus on linear and logistic regression analysis, using SPSS Statistics software.
- Introduction to Comparative Politics (5 EC)
Explore themes such as political culture, elections, parties and party systems, interests groups, parliaments, governments , and bureaucracy. The emphasis in this course is on distinguishing different patterns of democratic rule and institutes in various countries.
- Academic Skills IV (3 EC)
How to critically review scholarly articles, and how to tie together the work of different scholars? Get to know the anatomy of scientific publications and the criteria for establishing their ‘quality’.
- Politics of the European Union (5 EC)
This course addresses one of the most important international organisations. You will learn how the EU was formed, which institutions make up the EU and how they (are supposed to) function, and the policy areas in which the EU is active. Furthermore, you will look into the theories and approaches that may explain the phenomenon of European integration.
Binding Study Advice (BSA)
In the course of your first year you will be given regular advice on your progress. This advice is based on objectives that are a good indication of whether or not you are likely to be able to complete your study successfully within the time prescribed. Our Binding Study Advice entails that you need to earn at least 45 out of the 60 study credits at the end of the first year to be able to continue in your second year. If you do not meet this criterion, you will not be able to carry on with your study in Leiden. In formulating this study advice, any relevant circumstances, such as sickness or other personal factors, will, of course, be taken into account.