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Cyber Crisis Management and Communication


Admission requirements

  • Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.

  • This course only offers a place to a maximum number of 38 students.

  • Students can only register for one elective.


No organisation can achieve totally assured cybersecurity. Thus, organisations must develop capabilities to effectively identify and respond to cyber incidents, minimising negative impacts. This course focuses on the theory and practice of cyber crisis management and communication strategies at the organisational level. It combines the study of academic perspectives on crisis management and cybersecurity governance with the practice of creating readiness, response and recovery capabilities in organisations. Emphasis will be given to the analysis (both theoretical and practical) of the crisis management lifecycle, including readiness plans, cyber incident response, and recovery. Through traditional lectures and practical exercises, students will learn about the analytical and decision-making skills required to respond to cyber incidents and manage cyber crises at the organisational level.

Course objectives

After finalising this course, students will be able to:
1. Formulate a cyber crisis management plan, including preparation, detection, response, and mitigation phases.
2. Describe examples of cyber crisis using key concepts and theories of crisis management and cybersecurity.
3. Assess the challenges, strategies and leadership styles of public leaders before, during and after a cyber crisis.
4. Evaluate the role of the media during crises and its consequences for communication, cooperation and self-organizing principles.
5. Elaborate a cyber crisis communication plan based on evidence-based framing strategies, rituals of reassurance and best practices.
6. Advise professionals working in the field of cyber crisis management.


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

Mode of instruction

This course consists of seven interactive sessions including lectures, seminars, presentations and group work. In the lectures, students will learn the relevant concepts, theoretical models, and methodologies. In the seminars and workgroups, students will complete in-class formative (non-graded) assignments, team presentations, and exercises.

Attendance is not mandatory, but highly recommended in order to pass the course. Active participation during the sessions therefore is strongly recommended to pass this course.

Total study load 140 hours:

  • 21 Contact hours

  • 119 Self-study hours: reading, preparing lectures, assignments, etc.

Assessment method

Assessment for this course is based on two assignments:

Mid-term assignment (group paper),

  • 30% of final grade.

  • Grade can be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50)

  • Resit not possible.

Final exam (individual paper),

  • 70% of final grade.

  • Grade cannot be compensated, a 5.50 is required to pass the course.

  • Resit is possible

  • Resit will take the same form

The calculated overall course grade must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course. If the calculated overall course grade is lower than 5.50, students are also permitted to resit the 70% final exam.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Transitional Arrangement
Passed partial grades obtained in year 2022-2023 are no longer valid during year 2023-2024. All students are expected to enroll for an elective via MyStudymap on a 'first come first serve' basis.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from t.b.a..

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.


Dr. Cristina del Real