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Governing a Global World (for Political Science students)


This course is a co-creation with the FGGA, with a separate uSiscode for Political Science Students

Admission requirements

This course is part of the minor Global Affairs and is open to Political Science Students as an elective course.
To register for this course you need to be enrolled either in Usis for the minor Global Affairs or as an undergraduate student at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. There are 100 places open for students enrolled in the minor and 100 places for undergraduate students of Political science, on a first come first served basis.


This course critically examines how global problems are – and might be better – governed. Contemporary society is heavily globalized, deeply interconnecting people across the planet. We see this trend in matters such as armed conflicts, digital technologies, ecological problems, economic instabilities, geopolitical shifts, humanitarian crises, identity struggles, pandemics, and social inequalities. Governing global-scale developments – shaping and directing them in positive directions – is one of today’s greatest political challenges. This course introduces students to the measures, actors, networks, structures, and ideologies that currently govern – and might in future differently govern – the globe.

The first week of the course addresses globality: the condition of people being interconnected on a planetary scale. We cover the manifestations, history, and drivers of globalization. The second week reviews the challenges that globality poses in contemporary society: for cultural identity, democracy, distributive justice, ecological integrity, economic welfare, liberty, peace, and solidarity. The third week considers the variety of actors (both governmental and nongovernmental) that do the governing of global affairs. The fourth week examines how these multiple state and nonstate actors combine in polycentric networks of governing that raise major issues of democracy, effectiveness and fairness. The fifth week looks beyond actors to the practices and underlying orders that structure the governance of global problems. The sixth week explores the legitimacy of current global governance, from both empirical and normative perspectives: how far do existing arrangements have ‘the right to rule’? The seventh week assesses contending policy frameworks that are available to govern a global world. We assess the possible promises and pitfalls of each ideological approach, hopefully leaving students more empowered to make their own choices about desirable global futures.

Course objectives

After completion of the course, students are expected to be able:


to describe the global qualities of contemporary society and its governance

to identify the actors and networks that participate in governing global connections

to recognise practices and underlying orders that structure global politics


to appreciate the complex dynamics through which global issues are governed

to reflect on the legitimacy (or otherwise) of arrangements for governing a global world

to assess the potential promises and pitfalls of various ideological approaches to global policy


to understand academic writings and lectures about governing a global world

to participate in probing discussions of global challenges and their governance

to communicate effectively in both speech and writing about governing a global world


See 'MyTimetable'

Mode of instruction

7 lectures of 3 hours.
Participation in lectures, discussions and exercises is required in order to obtain a grade. One lecture may be missed. Being absent more than once without acceptable cause may likely lead to expulsion from the course.

The total study load for this course is 140 hours, consisting of:

21 hours for attending lectures

119 hours studying the compulsory literature and working on assignments

Assessment method

Mid-term assignment

25% of total grade

Re-sit not possible

Grade must be compensated

Final assignment

75% of total grade

Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

Re-sit possible

Re-sit will take the same form

Students will also be permitted to re-sit the 75% final assignment if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50 or with permission of the Board of Examiners. There is no re-sit for the mid-term, which needs to be compensated.

Late hand in penalty: 0,5 minus per day, and after seven days we do not accept papers any longer.

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.

The Course and Examination Regulation of Security Studies and the Rules and Regulation of the Board of Examiners of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs apply.

Reading list

The reading list will be added on Brightspace.


Registration via MyStudymap or uSis is possible from Tuesday 9 July, 13.00 h.
Register for the course via MyStudymap or uSis.

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.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.

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. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.



All sessions will be in English.

Essays need to be written in English.

This course takes place in The Hague.

Please note that the re-sits of this minor will be organised in January.