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Global History


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.


The aim of the course is to introduce students to the academic study of history and highlight the large, structural patterns that have shaped the human experience over the course of the last two millennia. The aim is to examine connections between societies, cultures and regions, as well as their divergence. Based on a combination of a thematic structure and a focus on one particular region, the plenary lectures each week will aim to shed light on connections and comparisons, as well as an assessment of similarities and divergence. The student will be exposed to the concepts and ideas that guide the academic study of history. The lectures are followed by bi-weekly tutorials, under the guidance of tutors, to help the student gain an in-depth understanding of the required reading material and offer an opportunity to ask questions, and engage in discussions and debate.

Course objectives

At the end of the course the students will have acquired the following knowledge and understanding of history:

  • The student has familiarised her/himself with the academic understanding of history and global history.

  • To a basic degree, acquired knowledge and understanding of key concepts and structures in the field of history.

  • To a basic degree, acquired knowledge and understanding of the methods that are used in historical investigation.

  • To a basic degree, acquired knowledge of international relations and the historical approach to the study of the ties between states and other actors in the international domain.

At the end of the course the student will have acquired the following skills:

  • The student is able to operate in a multicultural environment.

  • The student is able to form an opinion about historical texts.

  • The student will be able to write an exam with both closed and open questions.

  • The student will be able to collaborate and has develop essential academic learning skills


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Tutorials are held once every two weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance. Being absent at more than two of the tutorial sessions will result in a lowering of your tutorial grade (30% of the end grade) with 1 point for each session missed after the first two sessions. Please note that being absent at any tutorial session may have a negative impact on the grade of the assignment due for that particular tutorial session. This is at the discretion of the tutor.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:

Component Estimated time
Attending lectures 24 hours
Attending tutorials 12 hours
Assessment hours (exams) 4 hours
Study of compulsory literature 64 hours
Completing assignments, preparing for classes and exams 36 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm Exam:

    Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.

  • Final Exam:

    Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.


Partial grade Weighing
Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Tutorial grade, Midterm Exam grade, and Final Exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.

  • This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the weighted average of Midterm- and Final Exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier Midterm- and Final Exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the Resit Exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2019 – 2020.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

The required reading for this course consists of:

  • J.R. McNeill and H. McNeill, The Human Webb; A Bird’s Eye View of World History, London: Norton 2003.

  • The other required readings will be specified in the syllabus which will be available on Blackboard before the start of the course.


  • Enrolment through uSis for Tutorials and Lectures is mandatory.

  • Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Tutorial enrolment.

  • General information about uSis is available on the website.

The programme’s administration office 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.


Prof.dr. I.G.B.M. Duyvesteyn

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies