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Current Issues


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


This course, which runs parallel to the Introduction to Area Studies course, introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of some of today’s global issues. Starting from the material provided by the course’s textbook, lecturers from the entire Faculty of Humanities will illustrate these issues from the perspective of the area and disciplines they represent, and in so doing nuance, question, and, where necessary, criticize the book’s analyses.

In the tutorial series that accompanies the lecture series, students will digest all the information offered, by discussing the book and the lectures, as well as how these relate to each other. One way in which this will be done, is by means of writing exercises, culminating in a final essay.

Course objectives

After this course, student have gained insight into fundamental cultural differences and divisions between the areas of the world, even where they are intertwined by the common problems facing them. This insight will assist them in making a rational choice for their area and language of specialization.

Additionally, students will have practiced formulating a clearly defined question, and are able to let such a question be their guide when writing an academic essay, i.e., an essay that meets the rules current in academic writing. They have experienced how to cooperate by participating in discussions, giving and accepting criticism in a constructive manner, and benefiting from the directions of their supervisors. They are able to make a realistic planning for their work, and to deliver under time pressure.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials.

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:

  • Total course load: 140 hours (5 ec)

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 33 hours

  • Reading and exam: 26 hours

  • Writing exercises: 20 hours

  • Final essay (including reading and research): 61 hours

Assessment method

Participation in tutorials and writing exercises (30%); end term exam (30%); in-class essay writing (40%).

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam and in-class essay writing. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used.

For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • R.J. Payne, Global Issues, 4th edition, Boston etc.: Pearson, 2012.

  • J. van Loon et al., Academic writing in English. A process-based approach, Bussum: Coutinho, 2011.

  • Other materials will be available on Blackboard and in a reader.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Passing this course is an additional requirement for a positive Study Recommendation at the end of the year.


Hum – OSZ Current Issues