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Bachelor Project Internationale Politiek 2022-2023


Admission Requirements

Participation in the Bachelor's Project is only permitted if the propaedeutic phase has been passed and at least 40 EC of the second year have been obtained, including the course Research Methods in Political Science. The successful completion of the Academic Skills course: Research Design is also an entry requirement for the Bachelor Project.

Bachelor Project Information meetings Leiden

Semester I: The information session takes place Friday 20 May 2022, 10:00-12:00hr in PDLC 0A28.
Students will receive the invitation by mail.

Semester II: The information session will take place ONLINE on Tuesday 29 November, 15.15-17.00h.
Students will receive the invitation by mail.

Registration for Bachelor Project

Semester I: The information on the Bachelor Projects of semester I, will be shared with you digitally in May.

Semester II: Registration will take place via an online webform, the weblink will be shared via uMail on Monday 12 December; students have the opportunity to rank the projects in order of preference until Sunday 8 January 2023.
Should you have questions regarding the registration, please email the SSC via


The thesis of the Bachelor Project Internationale Politiek will be written in English.
If you want to write your thesis in Dutch please consult your BAP teacher in advance.

Study materials

Halperin, S. & Heath, O. (2017) 'Political research: Methods and practical skills' - Oxford University Press, is assumed to be known. The core literature can be found on the Brightspace page of the Bachelor's Project. Further information about the bachelor project and the subprojects will also be available there.


Goal 1: Learning to apply concepts, theories and methods in a research project that fits within a framework that has been formulated by the teacher in advance;
Goal 2: Conducting, and reporting on, a limited empirical or literature study.
Content: The bachelor project is a course that offers substantive instruction, followed by a research part within which students carry out an individual study. Various projects are offered that are structured around different themes. Students first follow substantive instruction for a number of weeks in which they deepen their knowledge of a specific subject within a subfield of political science. After that, students learn to formulate a research question, to design research to answer that question, to conduct their own research, and to report correctly and clearly on that research.
The final report - the Bachelor's thesis - completes the Bachelor's degree in Political Science. The thesis is an individual final paper based on at least partly on the student’s own, original research.

Assessment Method

Students either pass or fail the entire BAP (16 weeks) worth 20 ECTS. In addition, students need to pass both parts of the BAP in order to receive the ECTS.

  • The assignments made in the first, substantive part of the BAP (week 1-6) will jointly generate a first partial grade. This grade counts for 40% of the final BAP grade. It is rounded to one decimal and passed with a 5,5 or higher.

  • The full thesis written in the second, thesis-specific part of the BAP (week 7-16) will generate a second partial grade. This counts for 60% of the final BAP grade. It is rounded to whole and half numbers and passed with a 6 or higher.

Final product:

The thesis. It should be between 7,000-8,000 words. Note that this is the actual required length of the thesis and not 7,000-8,000 plus/minus 10%. Regarding the word count: Everything from introduction to conclusion counts (as picked up by the count in MS Word). The following elements do not count: front page, abstract, table of contents and list of references. Concerning the abstract and table of contents: these are optional.


BAP semester 1: Friday 23 December 2022, 17:00h.
BAP semester 2: Friday 26 May 2023, 17:00h.

Students who get an insufficient grade for their bachelor thesis – and so fail the entire BAP – have the right to improve their thesis and submit it for a second time. They do so on the basis of the feedback given by the supervisor during a feedback meeting. Note, however, that students are not entitled to any further supervision. The submission deadlines for the second chance are:

BAP semester 1: Friday 10 February 2023, 17:00h.
BAP semester 2: Monday 10 July 2023, 17:00h.

There are two important caveats to this:

  • Students do not have the right to submit their thesis for a second time if their first attempt resulted in a sufficient grade.

  • Students do not have the right to submit their thesis as part of the second chance if they did not submit a completed version of their thesis during the first chance (See Rules and Regulations of Board of Examiners, art. 4.8.2).

Bachelor Project themes:

Semester I

01: Foreign Policy in Times of US Decline - (C. v.d. Wetering)
This course focuses on US foreign policy-making after 9/11. With the subsequent presidencies from Bush jr. to Biden, questions have risen about the primacy of the US and its foreign policy conduct. These questions became particularly salient under the Trump presidency, but the US is still facing several challenges domestically and internationally. That said, the debate on US decline has been raging for decades. What this course then aims to tackle is how students can perform a foreign policy analysis in light of the manifold agents and structures that can be taken into account. In addition, it asks what the role of the US is in global affairs and it addresses a few possible crises that have been facing the US, including the challenges of other major powers and the constraints of presidential power. In terms of research methods, the course focuses on qualitative methods, ranging from empirical research methods to discourse analysis and critical theory. This course will not concentrate on quantitative methods.

Course aims:

  • To reflect on academic debates regarding US decline in order to evaluate the role of the US in global affairs.

  • To gain an understanding of the major theories and approaches to analyze the foreign policy process and to critically assess and apply these.

02: Global Migration: Trends, Drivers and Dynamics - (K. Natter)
Why do people move? How do they decide where to go? Does development lead to more or less migration? And what is the role of migration policies, climate change, conflict or education in shaping human mobility? In this bachelor project, we will explore major trends, drivers and dynamics of international migration through historical and contemporary perspectives from around the globe.
In the first part of the bachelor seminar, you will get acquainted with the state-of-the-art theories and empirical evidence on migration drivers, based on case studies, quantitative and qualitative comparative research. You will discover and critically interrogate the core literature and academic debates on the political, economic and societal forces that structure migration patterns around the globe. Seminars will not cover issues related to the consequences of migration for origin or destination societies, such as integration or(trans)national identities, which are equally important, but beyond the framework of this bachelor project.
At the end of part 1, you will have gained foundational theoretical and empirical knowledge about the trends, drivers and dynamics structuring global migration and have trained your eye for what a good research design looks like. You will also be able to critically reflect about common ways of categorizing, framing and analysing migration, which will allow you to interrogate some of the deeply rooted assumptions that dominate the heated political and popular narratives on migration.
In the second part of the bachelor project, you will work on your individual research project, mobilizing the theoretical frameworks and topics discussed in the seminars to investigate migration dynamics and its drivers in one particular case or two-case comparison. The goal is to develop your own research question, review relevant literature and conduct a simple, yet original empirical analysis. I particularly encourage thesis projects that have a comparative angle and/or look at migration dynamics outside of the ‘Global North’.
In terms of methods, this seminar will focus on case study and comparative research designs using qualitative or simple mixed method designs. This includes content analysis, discourse analysis, process tracing and basic descriptive analyses of migration and survey data. It will not be possible to write a thesis using advanced statistical analyses. While it is not necessary to have a concrete research question before the start of the bachelor project, I will ask you early on in the course to think about potential cases or aspects of migration that you are particularly interested in, as well as about the type of material you would like to use.
Feel free to contact me ahead in time if you are unsure whether your thesis idea fits within this bachelor project.

Feel free to contact me ahead in time if you are unsure whether your thesis idea fits within this bachelor project.

Semester II

04: External Relations of the European Union - (K. Pomorska)
What is the role of the European Union in the world? How do national foreign policies relate to the EU’s foreign policy? Are member states still able to conduct their own ‘sovereign’ foreign policy? The European Union has by now been broadly acknowledged as an international actor, even though an unusual one. There is no ‘government’, which could define the ‘national interest’ and make executive decisions about the policy goals. Instead, we have a complex institutional set-up, based on a compromise and agreement from all 27 member states. As far as the EU’s strong position in the area of trade or development is rarely questioned, it is still believed to be “punching below its weight” in foreign and security policies.

In this project, we will study the foreign policy and, more broadly understood external relations, of the European Union and its member states. Students will be able to choose an area of their interest, e.g. policy towards the United States, Russia or China; or to focus on studying particular instruments of EU’s foreign policy, like sanctions. We will investigate the process in which the European position is established and the circumstances under which EU member states are able to speak with one voice and when is it difficult to agree on a common goal. Students may also consider how the policy coordination impacts effectiveness. In the second part of the course, the students will focus on their individual research projects and write a thesis on the topic identified earlier in the course.

05: Accountability for Human Rights Violations - (G. Macaj)
States have created and assumed wide-ranging and increasingly demanding human rights obligations over the last century. Yet they have so far failed to set up effective mechanisms to enforce them. Impunity for massive violations of basic universal rights remains rampant, despite relentless efforts by state and non-state actors to hold perpetrators to account. It is these efforts that form the subject matter of this seminar.

We explore theoretically and empirically international efforts to end impunity for serious violations of human rights globally. We begin by addressing basic questions of who is accountable (e.g., individuals, states, non-state actors), for what kind of violations (e.g., war crimes, crimes against humanity), and by whom and with what means (e.g., courts, tribunals, truth commissions, universal jurisdiction, sanctions, and military interventions). We will then consider cases of action against impunity in relation to gross violations of a general character (e.g., torture, forced labour, aggression) and in specific countries (e.g., Syria, Ukraine). The aim of this exercise is to investigate whether and to what extent international efforts to fight impunity for gross violations produce tangible results for the aggrieved.

The study of human rights is multidisciplinary in character and whilst this is a political science seminar, insights from other disciplines will also be considered. Ideally, we should aim to include all forms of knowledge that help answer pertinent questions to produce valuable knowledge. Research questions will also determine the research methods used to answer them, including both qualitative and quantitative methods, but preference is given to comparative research.

By the end of this seminar, students should have obtained:
a) a good grasp of key concepts, issues, and debates on the possibility of accountably for human rights violations;
b) a critical understanding of theoretical and empirical aspects of research in the field of human rights;
c) basic skills to conduct theoretically informed empirical research projects.

Indicative reading
Sikkink, Kathryn (2011) The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Engle, K., Miller, Z., & Davis, D. (Eds.). (2016). Anti-Impunity and the Human Rights Agenda. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Teitel, Ruti (2011) Humanity's Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clapham, Andrew (2006) Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Actors. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

IP students can also enroll for the Dutch language POL BAP #2:
02: Democratietheorie - (H. Oversloot)
Wat wij democratie noemen is, volgens een klassiek-Griekse opvatting, op zijn best een gemengde staatsvorm met enige democratische elementen. De rechtsstaat: men kan eraan gehecht zijn, maar de rechtsstaat kan ook worden gezien als een beperking van de democratie. (De (opkomende) democratie is in de negentiende eeuw ook wel gezien als een bedreiging van de rechtsstaat. Zonder rechtsstatelijke beperking en machtenscheiding rest een illiberal democracy, de tirannie van of namens de meerderheid, zeggen sommigen thans.
Is het bereik van de wet door hogere principes beperkt, ook als de wet op de meest democratische wijze tot stand komt? Welke zijn die hogere principes dan? ‘Hoeveel’ democratie is nodig om van een ‘echte’ democratie te kunnen spreken? Hoe plooibaar is het begrip? Als men het houden van verkiezingen voor het vervullende van staatsambten niet als een oligarchisch element in de staatsorganisatie beschouwt, maar, in tegendeel, als de manier waarop democratie in ‘de moderne tijd’ gestalte wordt gegeven, welke staatsambten moeten dan verkiesbaar zijn om van een democratie te kunnen spreken? En als democratie samengaat met – en uitdrukking moet geven aan – de politieke gelijkheid van (volwassen) leden van de politieke gemeenschap, hoe ongelijk mag het ‘feitelijke gewicht’ van de individuele stemmen dan zijn? Hoe ongelijk mag de feitelijke politieke invloed van individuen zijn? Is democratie wel mogelijk in een staat met een zeer grote vermogens- en inkomensongelijkheid? Veronderstelt democratie een gedeelde cultuur? De moderne democratie heeft gestalte gekregen binnen statelijk verband. Is democratie ook voorstelbaar in een ‘bovenstatelijke’ orde als de EU? Zijn daarvoor institutionele en/of andere veranderingen nodig? Welke? Als de EU te groot en (nog) te politiek en cultureel divers is om een democratie te kunnen vormen: kan een politieke gemeenschap ook te klein zijn voor een democratische rechtsstaat? Waarom is in sommige landen de postcommunistische overgang naar een democratische rechtsstaat wel succesvol verlopen en in andere niet? Is die overgang naar een democratische rechtsstaat voor eeuwig, of is een ‘terugslag’ denkbaar?
Voor uw poging om een antwoord te geven op een van deze of ‘soortgelijke’ vragen, sommige van politiek-filosofische, andere van meer empirische aard, is ruimte in dit Bachelor-project.

In het Bachelor-programma is er slechts een beperkt aanbod van cursussen geweest op het terrein van de politieke filosofie/theorie. U dient in elk geval de tweedejaarscursus “Geschiedenis van de Politieke Filosofie” met succes te hebben afgerond.


See 'MyTimetable'