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Non-state actors


Admission requirements

This is a specialization seminar for students from the IEG track. To ensure quality of teaching, we limit the number of students in it to 35. Students from another track (PM or GM) who would like to take this course an an elective, please note you need to ask the lecturer per e-mail. You may be asked to take another course if the seminar is full.


This course explores the various ways in which non-state actors engage with international organizations. We will consider the various strategies used by non-state actors to influence international organizations and under which conditions these strategies prove effective. We will also take into account how international organizations themselves draw on the support of non-state actors to increase the efficiency and/or legitimacy of their operations.

Finally, we analyse the various ways in which non-state actors operate across multiple levels of governance when trying to influence policy-makers, including the international level. In this course, students will be introduced to well-known theories of global governance. Such theories will be illustrated with current examples from global politics, involving a diverse set of non-state actors (businesses, NGOs and epistemic communities) and their engagements with various international organizations (e.g. United Nations, World Trade Organization).

Learning objectives

After taking this course, students will be able to:
• Describe historical changes in the interactions between non-state actors and international organizations in the realm of global governance;
• Identify and evaluate different types of global governance;
• Illustrate well-known theories of global governance with contemporary examples of non-state actor engagement with international organizations;
• Analyse and explain specific outcomes of non-state actor strategies towards international organizations;
• Critically evaluate academic research in the area of global governance;
• Independently carry out a case study and communicate the results in a research paper.



Methods of instruction

This course consists of lectures and class discussions

Study load

Total study load is 140 hours, of which 21 contact hours and 119 self-study hours.

Method of assessment

Assessment for this course consists of a take-home exam (35%), a final research paper (55%), and class participation (10%). Students need to earn a grade of 5,5 or higher for each assignment to successfully finish the course. Partial grades cannot be compensated.


Yes, the Blackboard site will become available a week prior to the start of the course.

Other course materials/literature

Course readings consist of a selection of academic articles and book chapters. The readings for the first week of the course will be announced a week in advance on Blackboard.


Registration for every course and exam in USIS is mandatory. For courses, registration is possible from four weeks up to three days before the start of the course.
For exams, registration is possible from four weeks up to ten days before the date of the examination.


Dr. Natascha van der Zwan