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Institutions in Time


Admission requirements

Required course:

  • Institutions of Governance and Development


The world is an unequal place. It hosts the unparalleled wealth and opportunities of the rich OECD countries, alongside the crushing poverty of the ‘bottom billion’. Moreover, this enormous development gap may never been greater than it is today. But what is this concept of ‘development’? How does it work? And, perhaps most importantly, what can we do to enhance it? These are the questions at the core of development studies and the International Development track at LUC. Institutions in Time explores the ways in which institutions, or the rules and organisations that structure society, change over time and the ways in which this may affect human development. To this end, the course will take students through the different ways of analyzing long historical processes and explore the usefulness of theories of institutional change as a means to understand the process that drives development. Students are also challenged to apply their (newfound) knowledge to case studies, in order to get a better appreciation of the complexity of structural societal change. Most importantly, the course helps students to think critically about assumptions of linear progress and simple, technocratic solutions in international development, and to formulate their own thoughts on what might actually ‘work’.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • Be able to describe core challenges of international development empirically and identify different theoretical approaches to these challenges.

  • Have shown proficiency in reproducing concepts and theories of institutional change.

  • Have practiced applying concepts and theories of institutional change to key research problems in the field of international development.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course will be taught through two-hour interactive seminars. Seminars will generally include a short introduction by the instructor, after which students will be asked to present, debate, or otherwise reflect actively on the relevant theme and readings.

Assessment Method

Class participation, 10%
Assignments, 30%
Short essays, 40%
Final essay, 20%

Reading list



Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Charmaine Ramos, (BLock 1)
Dr. David Ehrhardt, (Block 2, Block 3)