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Global challenges and public policies


Admission requirements

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


This course discusses a number of selected challenges affecting global governance, and how they are – or can be - addressed by public policies. The starting point of the course is that most issues facing the world today (such as financial crises; climate change; migration; pandemics) transcend national borders. The course discusses the problems and challenges that governments, non-state actors and international organisations face in cooperating to address them, using a selected number of theories drawn from international relations and public policy analysis.

The course equips students with a set of conceptual tools that they can apply to a wide array of pressing policy problems at the international level. Among the questions asked, we will address how to achieve cooperation among states with different interests and resources, how to ensure compliance in international agreements, and how to manage common resources in a sustainable way. An emphasis is placed on the communication of results in policy-relevant contexts, for instance via the production of a policy podcast.

Course objectives

  • To have an understanding of key issues related to a number of selected global challenges and the public policies with which these challenges are addressed (e.g. climate change, poverty, global public health, financial crises)

  • Understand and be able to apply frameworks of policy analysis to real-world issues

  • Be able to draw policy implications from theories and communicate results in a way that is relevant to policymakers.

  • Be able to communicate research results to an audience of policymakers and the informed public


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

  • (Online) Lectures

  • Seminars

  • Group work

  • Guest lectures

Assessment method

  • Essay 60%

  • Policy Proposal (podcast) 40%

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

To be communicated two weeks before the beginning of the course via Brightspace.


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. Alexandre Afonso
Assistant Professor

Leiden University
Institute of Public Administration - Campus den Haag
Wijnhaven Building
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DV, Den Haag

Phone +31 070 800 99 23


This course will be taught in 2 groups, please register for one of the two groups in uSis.