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Governance and Digitalisation


Admission requirements

Bachelor Bestuurskunde students (BBO + EBM), Erasmus Exchange Students (Public Administration) and participants in the Minor Public Administration - Multi-level Governance.


This course addresses the fundamental question of how digitalisation changes governance, and what opportunities and challenges there are for governance as a result. Governments must adapt to new ways of functioning with digital technologies, and they also have to respond to new societal impacts created by those technologies.

The course introduces students to the major debates, including whether technology use improves citizen trust and satisfaction, how artificial intelligence could make public services better, and whether governments are becoming more transparent. Students will become familiar with the latest academic research. However, the class will also examine theories through the lens of concrete examples from public affairs such as the us of electionic voting, micro-targetting, fake news, and cybersecurity.

The course is lecture based in structure. The lectures will cover the main theories and debates on the topic of governance and digitialisation. Lectures will also be interactional to the extent possible with opportunities for group discussions. The lectures are designed to open the floor to students to present and discuss their take on the material.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Explain how digital technologies (e.g., big data, apps, smart devices, social media) have a different governance impact compared to older technologies.

  • Describe several real-world cases of governance challenges (e.g., fake news, political influence of tech companies, discrimination in AI systems).

  • Understand and critically assess the relevance of digitalisation and governance challenges in exisiting scholarly and societal debates.


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

Mode of Instruction

The course instruction will take the form of lectures. In the lectures the instructor covers the main points in the required readings and sets them in the context of broader scholarly debates. Discussion and participation from students is also encouraged in lectures. Attendance to all lectures is highly advisable so that students receive the necessary information and guidance for doing well in the exams.

Lectures = (7 lectures, 2 hours each) = 14 hours
Assessment (1 final written exam, 3 hours + 'inzage') = 5 hours
Self-study (reading, preparation for classes and exam) = 121 hours

Assessment method

The course consists of a final written exam (100%). Students who score below 5.5 will have the opportunity to resit the exam. Dates and locations for retakes will be made available in the course hand out.

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

A bibliography of required reading will made available on Brightspace. Students are not required to purchase any literature for the course.


Register for every course and workgroup via MyStudyMap or uSis from 12 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.

Students can enrol either as part of the Bestuurskunde bachelor track or as a minor from another programme after registration for the entire minor. You will receive the same course but make sure you enrol for the correct track so that your grades are registered properly.

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.


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