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Architectures of International and European governance


Admission requirements

This course is for Master students Public Administration, track International and European Governance only.


Many societal problems transcend the borders of the nation-state. Economic developments and trade, crime and terrorism, climate change, natural disasters and international monetary and financial crises are not confined to national territory. To cope with these matters, nation-states have partially delegated competencies upwards to the European Union and international bodies. The number of international and EU institutions, laws, rules and norms has, accordingly, tremendously increased over time. As a result, we face a diverse and complex institutional architecture of international and European governance.

This course offers an advanced understanding of core themes in the theory and practice of the various architectures of international and European governance. We will study the interlocking organisational, and multi-level dimensions of the international and the EU's political-administrative arrangements. The course deals with theoretical and conceptual frameworks for the study of international organisations, and international and European administrations, as actors in global politics and in international policy-making in a comparative and systemic perspective. We will study these architectures from a political science and public administration perspective on institutional design and structural choice: the architectures reflect constellations of power balances between international and European organisations, national governmental actors, corporations, interest groups, social movements and/or civil society organisations. The key questions that we will address is how the various modes of international and European governance relate to each other; how each evolves, what the role of various (state and non-state) actors is, how we should evaluate these modes from a perspective of legitimacy, accountability, delegation, and representation.

Course objectives

  • To have an understanding of the key literatures on the design, structure, and functioning of international organisations and new modes of international and European governance

  • Advanced knowledge of the key mechanisms and factors through which international and European systems of governance evolve through time and are designed under various political, economic and social conditions

  • To systematically assess and to critically judge the capacity and capability of various international and European institutional architectures to address transboundary problems and challenges

  • To reflect on the relevant normative and ethical issues, particularly on issues of legitimacy, accountability, effectiveness, and democracy

  • Function effectively in a team, potentially with multiple disciplinary and cultural backgrounds

  • Ability to effectively identify and synthesise existing primary and secondary literature in order to address a question or problem at hand.


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 class will be taught seminar-style. This means much interaction between the instructors and students. The required texts will be intensively discussed. Students will be expected to come to class prepared and actively participate in group discussions. Regular class attendance is required. Meaningful and active contribution to class discussions is expected. Late assignments will not be accepted.

  • Seminar: 14 hours (7 x 2 hours)

  • Further structured study (individual and group assignments): 36 hours

  • Self-study: 90 hours

Assessment method

  • Weekly Assignments (individual) 70%

  • Case Study (group assignment) 30%

All classes are mandatory. Please study the schedule to make sure you can attend all classes. One absence may be excused per student and even then only under exceptional circumstances and by consultation with the instructor. Students who are absent without consultation with the instructor will not receive a grade for the course.

In order to pass the course, students must receive:
1) a grade of 5.5 or higher on the weekly assignments;
2) a grade of 5.5 or higher on the case study.

A re-take for the assignments will be provided in the regular resit period for students who did not receive a grade of 5.5 or higher on either the individual paper or the weekly assignments or both.

Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

The readings for this course are ‘state of the art’ academic articles that address theoretical and conceptual issues for each theme. All articles can be found online through the university library or otherwise through the links provided on Brightspace. Students are encouraged to seek out additional academic articles, both theoretical and empirical, to prepare their group presentations and share with the rest of the class.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Registration for courses in uSis is possible from 16 July, 13.00h. 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. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Dr. A. Wille

Dr. C. Braun