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International Administration


Admission requirements



From climate change to epidemics to migration, many of the most pressing political problems of our time are transnational in character. Yet, political structures are still predominantly national, making it difficult to address cross-border issues in an adequate way. International organizations play an important role in filling this gap. This course introduces students to the wide range of organizations engaged in international governance, from global forums like the United Nations (UN) and regional organizations like the European Union (EU) to economic institutions such as the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and non-state actors like Amnesty International and Apple Inc.

In the course, we survey the different types of international cooperation and discuss how international organizations vary in their power and capacity to address transnational policy issues. The course approaches these issues from a public administration perspective: International organizations are analyzed not only as players on the international arena, but also as bureaucratic organizations in their own right. The course applies familiar issues and concepts from public administration to the study of these international organizations, highlighting the similarities and differences between national and international bureaucracies.

The lectures combine the discussion of central issues in international administration with an application of these issues to real-world cases.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. Describe the main features of important international organizations.
2. Discuss the ability of international organizations to address transnational policy issues.
3. Explain and illustrate public administration perspectives on international organizations.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of lectures, working groups and self-study.

Attending the working groups is of great importance for successful completion of the tests, but it is the responsibility of the student whether or not to appear (prepared) in the working groups.

Total course load: 140 hours

Of which:
Lectures: 7 × 2 hours = 14 hours
Working groups: 7 × 2 hours = 14 hours
Examination: 5
Self-study: 107 hours

Assessment method

  1. Individual paper (40 % of final grade).
  2. A final written exam with open-ended descriptive questions and essay questions (60 % of final grade).

From 2020-2021 onwards, partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

For further information about the University's exam rules please see: Rules and Regulations

Reading list

Textbook: Karns, M., K. Mingst and K. Stiles (2015). International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance. Third edition. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Plus articles to be announced (see Brightspace).


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.

From the academic year 2020-2021 Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Prof.dr. A.K. Yesilkagit