nl en

Security: Actors, Institutions and Constellations


Admission requirements

  • Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.


The provision of security has increased in complexity over time. The public provision of security is divided amongst several public entities, the pure public provision of security is deemed an illusion, and citizens demand a role in this framework as well. The very concepts of internal and external security become fluid as well, not in the least because of the growing importance of cyber security. Lastly, this multi-actor approach plays in a multilevel setting.
Different governance models can be applied to this interaction. New important questions and dilemmas can be discerned from the changing relationships between security actors. What are the benefits in terms of innovation, efficiency and efficacy? Further, what are the implications for democratic accountability, the upholding of civil rights and other governance issues surrounding the emergence of hybrid forms of security provision? At the same time, it is important to discuss the different theories on how security can be provided in the most effective way, and what repercussions this has for the organizational structure of security actors.

Course Objectives

After finalizing this course, students are able to:

  1. Identify the different types of actors responsible for the provision of security, and recount using practical examples how and why each of these actors have competences in the provision of security;
  2. Identify the different ways security providers coordinate actions with each other in a security constellation, in terms of junior partner, competitive and networked models;
  3. Apply these models in the analysis of practical coordination between security actors;
  4. Identify different approaches to security provision and understand the underlying assumptions of each of these institutional approaches;
  5. Define the concepts of accountability and oversight in relation to security provision, and are able to analyse differences in institutional mechanisms related to these concepts depending on the actors and governance models used;
  6. Engage in a public debate with stakeholders on the multi-actor and multi-level nature of security provision, the coordination between different actors, and accountability issues;
  7. Conduct a SWOC/T analysis as if they were a professional in the field, either from a public or private perspective;
  8. Self-evaluate and reflect after interactive in-class work and individual assignments.


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

This course consists of seven seminars. In addition, online learning material in the form of short videos will be provided before each session, which the students have to watch in preparation.

Attendance is mandatory. Students are only allowed to miss one session if there are special, demonstrable personal circumstances. The Board of Examiners, in consultation with the study advisors, will decide on such an exceptional exemption of mandatory attendance.

Total study load: 140 hours

  • Lectures: 21 hours

  • Self-study: 119 hours

Self-study consists both of reading the material provided, watching the videos, and writing the assignments.

In this 5 ects course, 1 ects is specifically reserved for the assignment that is going to be part of the portfolio of students, including working on their interim reflection paper as preparation for the final reflection paper. Specific information on the portfolio assignment and the intended learning outcomes that are being acquired will be published in the syllabus of this course.

Assessment method

Students are not obliged to hand in an assignment at the first opportunity in order to make use of the re-sit opportunity. The re-sit assignment will test the same course objectives, but will be different in terms of topics, cases or substance.

Midterm assignment (prepare questions as input for a debate): 25% of final grade.
Course can be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50), resit not possible.

Final paper (a SWOC/T analysis of a security actor): 75% of final grade
Grade cannot be compensated, a 5.50 is required to pass the course

The calculated grade of the assignments must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course.
If a student passed an assignment, it is not possible to participate in a re-sit in order to obtain a higher grade. Students are only permitted to resit the 75% assignment if they have a calculated overall course lower than 5.50.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis.
Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course. 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.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here.
After enrolment for the course in uSis you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


dr. Joery Matthys