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Managing and Coordinating the Crisis Response


Admission requirements

  • Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management, enrolled in the specialisation ‘Governance of Crisis’, can take this course.


Modern societies are said to be vulnerable for crises, ranging from terrorist attacks, floods, pandemics and critical infrastructure breakdowns to nuclear incidents and major disturbances of public order. By exploring different conceptual and theoretical strands in academic literature combined with the in-depth study of empirical cases, students will get familiarised with the main concepts, processes, challenges, and dilemmas of crisis management. Special attention will be paid to what effective crisis management entails, the role of leadership in crisis management, citizen responses to crises, and the politics of crisis management.

The research skill of analysis is at the heart of this course, that will be taught based on several activating working methods, such as: a serious game/simulation, group discussions and presentations, and in-class formative (group) assignments. Students will learn to translate their comparative analysis of several crises to a policy-oriented paper that will prepare them for the labour market in the field of crisis management.

Course Objectives

After finalizing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Reconstruct a crisis situation, seeking evidence and drawing from empirical and theoretical materials for an informed and critical judgment, to analyse the performance of crisis managers in terms of the key concepts taught in the course.
  2. Reconstruct the historical trajectory of the discipline of crisis management by differentiating between command & control versus resilience philosophies, and between event-based versus process-based approaches.
  3. Understand, based on advanced knowledge, the role of public leaders dealing with crises, and identify and apply theoretical and analytical frameworks, in a conceptually and methodologically rigorous manner, to analyse real-world cases in terms of challenges, strategies, leadership styles, and their outcomes in the policy- and political arena.
  4. Understand, based on advanced knowledge, the role of citizens during crisis, and identify and analyse the consequences thereof in terms of communication, cooperation and self-organising principles.
  5. Apply theories to cases in an academic essay to analyse and compare cases from a specified perspective, and offer a sound and balanced argumentation with an eye for the validity and reliability of data in crisis research.
  6. Apply the basic notions of crisis management, recognise decision-making biases, and critically reflect on their own performance in crisis simulations.
  7. Discuss the main challenges and opportunities that relevant stakeholders at multiple levels of governance experience, and critically assess the political and societal implications of crisis management in terms of legitimacy and power relations.
  8. Translate academic knowledge into policy-oriented recommendations, and, in doing so, show an attitude aimed at a high level of self-directed and autonomous learning and functioning.
  9. Self-evaluate and reflect after interactive in-class work and individual assignments.


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

A combination of interactive lectures and activating workgroups (two sessions per week). In the lectures, students will learn the key principles of research, and the relevant concepts and methodologies. In the workgroups, students will practise research design and methods by applying the concepts, testing theories, and analysing empirical material. The workgroups will, amongst others, consist of in-class assignments, team performances, peer review and exercises and feature several compulsory formative (non-graded) assignments that will help the student prepare for the summative (graded) assignments.

Attendance is mandatory. Students are only allowed to miss a maximum of two sessions if there are special, demonstrable personal circumstances. The Board of Examiners, in consultation with the study advisors, will decide on such an exceptional exemption of mandatory attendance.

Total study load: 280 hours

  • contact hours: 42

  • self-study hours: reading, preparing lectures, assignments, reflection, etc.: 238

In this 10 ects course, 4 ects is specifically reserved for the assignment that is going to be part of the portfolio of students, including working on their interim reflection paper as preparation for the final reflection paper. Specific information on the portfolio assignment and the intended learning outcomes that are being acquired will be published in the syllabus of this course.

Assessment method

Students are not obliged to hand in an assignment at the first opportunity in order to make use of the re-sit opportunity. The re-sit assignment will test the same course objectives, but will be different in terms of topics, cases or substance.

Paper, 40% of final grade
Grade cannot be compensated, a 5.50 is required to pass the course

Group paper, 20% of final grade
Course can be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50), resit not possible.

Paper, 40% of final grade
Grade cannot be compensated, a 5.50 is required to pass the course

Additional, formative (non-graded) assignments are an obligatory part of the course.

The calculated grade of the assignments must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course.
If a student passed an assignment, it is not possible to participate in a re-sit in order to obtain a higher grade. Students are only permitted to resit the 40% assignment(s) if they have a calculated overall course lower than 5.50.

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. Jeroen Wolbers
dr. Sanneke Kuipers