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War and Peacebuilding


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies.


The focus of this course will be on the challenges posed by war and conflict. Rather than adopting a single disciplinary viewpoint students will be presented with various principles, insights and theories on war and peacebuilding and will be encouraged to approach the topics from a variety of disciplinary angles including international relations, international politics, philosophy, sociology, and history.

While threats to human security may come in many shapes and forms, war is still very much at the centre of contemporary, classical security studies. And, while the essence of war does not change, its manifestations and consequences do. Especially over the last decades the character of warfare has been in a period of change. Both the actors in, and the ways in which, wars are fought have changed beyond recognition.

This course will explore reasoning related to war and peace and helps students to understand the dynamics of war and peace and key elements of, and developments in, the body of knowledge in this domain. It will assess the nature of war and both the ways in which how war and peacebuilding have been studied changed, the changes in the way war is waged and peace is brokered and maintained. Finally, the course analyses and applies this body of knowledge to current cases of war and peacebuilding efforts.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students are able to:

  • Be aware of the range of academic disciplines that may be brought to the study of war and have considered the multi- and interdisciplinary nature of Security Studies

  • Acquire knowledge of various theoretical principles, paradigms and concepts used in the field of war and peace studies.

  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of the actors and stakeholders in the field of war and peace building.

  • Understand the key issues and concepts arising from scholarly debates in relation to war and peacebuilding.

  • Have a basic knowledge of the key literature on war and peacebuilding.

  • Analyse complex conflict situations, and identify various strategies and policies in the field of war and peacebuilding derived from the field of war and peace studies.

  • Identify and evaluate different disciplines, (research) methods, and strategies and value their applicability for assessing different security challenges


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

14 plenary lectures
4 course labs

Attendance of the course labs is mandatory. If you miss more than 1 course lab you fail the course and won’t obtain a final grade.

Total study load of 280 hours

  • Contact hours: 54

  • Self-study hours: 220

  • Examination: 6

Assessment method

Mid-Term Exam

  • 40% of the final grade.

  • Grade must be be 5.50 or higher to pass the course.

  • Resit of a fail is possible.

  • Resit will take the same form.

Written Final Exam

  • 60% of the final grade.

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course.

  • Resit of a fail is possible (but only if you did the initial exam).

  • Resit will take the same form.

Transitional arrangement

Passed partial grades obtained in year 2019-2020 remain valid during year 2020-2021.
Students who did not meet the course lab attendance requirements in the academic year of 2019-2020 are required to attend the course labs in 2020-2021.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis.
Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here.
After enrolment for the course in uSis you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Dr. mr. Ernst Dijxhoorn


Please note that only university e-mail addresses and Brightspace will be used to communicate with students. It is the student’s responsibility to check both regularly.

Lectures will not be recorded and students will not be allowed to record lectures.