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Governance of Security


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies.
Only students enrolled into the bachelor’s programme Security Studies can follow this course.


The overall course objective is to deepen understanding of institutions, organisations, policies and dilemmas in governing contemporary security and safety challenges. As a result of broad societal changes, influential technological developments and a growing complexity of security and safety issues, amongst others, authorities throughout the world increasingly govern security in collaborative networks with actors from regional, national and global levels. These actors each bring their own institutionalised views on safety and security, their own organisational modus operandi and their own policy legacies. Complex societal security and safety problems such as organised crime, terrorism, critical infrastructure protection or cyber threats cannot be easily tackled independently by traditional actors such as the police, the city, or the national ministries. However, the multi-actor, multi-level mode of governance comes with its own set of challenges. Organisations, either alone or in cooperation, can both be the root cause of crisis and security incidents, as well as the ultimate way of dealing with risks, preventing crises and forging responses.

This course reviews classic and contemporary notions of institutions, organisations, and networks governing security and safety. It discusses the upsides and downsides of organisational complexity as a contributing factor and response to societal security and safety issues. It offers a serious game to make students experience the complexity and dynamics of network governance on local security problems, completed by a force field analysis to map the hindering and facilitating factors for organisational improvement.

Course objectives

After this course students will be able to:

  • Acquire knowledge and understand the role and challenges of institutions, organisations, policies, and networks in governing security.

  • Acquire knowledge and understand relevant concepts, theories and methods to study security governance, organisational and system safety and high reliability.

  • Apply acquired knowledge mentioned in the first two objectives to concrete cases of security governance.

  • Identify and assess responsibilities and interests of actors in a security policy network.

  • Reflect on governance practices in terms of legitimacy, accountability and effectiveness.


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

Mode of instruction

7 plenary lectures, including one serious game in subgroups.

Total study load of 140 hours

  • Contact hours, incl serious game and group work: 40

  • Self-study hours: 97

  • Examination: 3

Assessment method

Group Paper

  • 25% of the final grade

  • Grade must be compensated

  • Resit is not possible

Final Exam

  • 75% of the final grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher

  • Resit of a fail is possible

  • Resit will take the same form

Students will also be permitted to resit the final exam (75%) if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

Transitional Arrangement
Passed partial grades obtained in the Governance of Security course (offered as a third year course) in year 2022-2023 remain valid during year 2023-2024.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles will be announced on Brightspace.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams).
Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.
Registration for this course is possible from Tuesday 12 December 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course. Furthermore, announcements and modifications will be communicated via Brightspace. Students have the responsibility to stay informed and are thus advised to regularly check Brightspace for updates.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis.


Course coordinator: Prof.Dr. S.L. Kuipers.
Questions can be sent to:


For exceptions, please contact the Board of Examiners.