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This course will be in English.

Admission requirements

This Leadership course is designed for students of the Honours College of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences but is also open for students from other Honours tracks.


Leadership continues to fascinate. The failure of leaders and leadership can have appalling consequences for individuals, organizations, communities, countries and even global systems. At the same time, we often count on the brilliance and perseverance of leaders to build new systems, protect us against threats and propel us forward into a better future. But what, exactly, is leadership? What makes for effective and legitimate leadership? In what political, organizational and cultural context does leadership thrive? When does leadership go bad and become toxic? And what is the relation between leaders and leadership? Can we train someone to be a leader or should we concentrate on finding the “born leaders”?

This Leadership course is for students who want to enhance their understanding of successful leadership at different levels and in various sectors of society.

Course objectives

The key question in this course is ‘What makes leadership successful?' We will look for answers to the following intriguing questions: What is leadership? Is leadership necessary? Does it matter who is leader? How can leadership failure be explained? What is successful leadership? What is needed for successful leadership? Can one learn to become a successful leader?

The aims of the course are to gain understanding in the many facets of leadership. Students should finish this course with a thorough understanding of:

  • Key concepts of leadership;

  • Theories of successful and unsuccessful leadership;

  • The individual, organizational, political and cultural conditions under which leadership can be effective.


Check the Science & Society program.

Mode of instruction

The course is intense and highly interactive. We will look for answers to our questions through a variety of activities: literature review, interactive lectures, writing a book review, analyzing academic articles, a leadership simulation and a final project. The final project (see next page) will concentrate on a leader, or leadership issue, selected by the student (or group of students).

Assessment method

In the final project, the student(s) will demonstrate that they can apply theoretical insights to a question of importance. This can be done in various ways:

  • Traditional academic paper

  • Making a documentary

  • Designing and demonstrating an experiment see next page

  • Organizing an interactive event with leaders

  • Building a leadership tool or tool kit

  • Designing a simulation

  • Creating a work of art

The final grade is established by determining a weighted average based on the assignments.

Reading list

  • Paul ‘t Hart (2014). Understanding Public Leadership. Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Any additional literature will be announced on Blackboard.


Registrate with personal subplan or contact the secretariat of Honours College FSW.


Secretariat Honours College FSW room 5A12.


Maximum number of participants: 30 students