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Practising International Studies


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.


“There is nothing more practical than a good theory” said psychologist Kurt Lewin (1952). Practising International Studies is a consultancy project course where teams of students analyze real life cases and problems presented by organizational leaders that operate in international environments. These leaders appeal to student teams to use their broad and multiperspective background in International Studies and research capabilities to provide them with novel insights that can assist them in their future decision-making.
First, the organizational leaders will visit the university to introduce their organization and international challenge during a kick-off session. Student teams will have the opportunity to pose questions and gather the necessary information about the organization and the context surrounding the problem. Next, faculty members and other guest speakers will teach students the academic background of these real life problems and the students through lectures.
With this input, student teams will translate the problem into relevant and analyzable research questions and write a sound project plan. Each team will divide responsibilities by utilizing each member’s expertise in certain areas and disciplines and skills. Based on this task division, each student contributes to the team by conducting research and presenting findings in weekly project tutorials. Throughout these tutor guided meetings, the findings from all studies will be discussed, refined and integrated by each team. Students will also attend two consultancy workshops where they will to learn about skills and techniques consultants need to deliver real value to clients.

This finally results in a report containing an interdisciplinary analysis and detailed recommendations on the courses of action for the organization. The report is presented in front of a committee consisting of representatives from the university and the organization. The committee will select a winning team based on the insights and recommendations communicated in the final report and presentation.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • expose students to the complexities and challenges faced by organizations and their leaders

  • build the ability to critically assess and evaluate real-life cases of organizations

  • teach concepts and ideas from International Studies as practical tools for analysis

  • further develop research skills such as literature review, research problem formulation, theory building and case study research

  • build teamwork competencies, the ability to brainstorm, debate and integrate perspectives through group work and collaboration

  • build skills to write, present and defend research findings in a professional and structured way


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.
h3. Mode of instruction

(Guest)lectures, project tutorials and workshops
All lectures, workshops and project meetings are mandatory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or project tutorial, please inform the instructor of the course and tutor. Being absent without notification will result in a lower grade or expulsion from the course.

Course Load

A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:

  • Total course load for the course (number of EC x 28 hours), for a course of 5 EC is 140 hours

  • Time spent on attending lectures, workshops, project tutorials and presentations (22 hours)

  • Time to conduct research and prepare for tutorials (72)

  • Time to write individual research report (23)

  • Time to write the final group report and prepare presentation (23)

Assessment method

  • Participation 10%

  • Individual report 40%

  • Final group report 40%

  • Presentation 10%

Note: The maximum possible grade to be obtained for re-submission of the individual report is a 6.0. No resit for the other assesment methods is possible.


Blackboard will be used.

Please note: changes may still be made to the timetables.
Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Readings will be made available through Blackboard.


Within the course Practising International Studies there are 6 consultancy projects. Registration for the course will occur in January via an online registration form where you will fill in your choices. Based on these registrations and the desired mix of student teams in area expertise, you will be assigned to a specific project with its schedule. All students are required to enroll for the course in Blackboard to access all course information including project descriptions. Students cannot participate in this course without registering online. Students do not have to register in uSis for Practising International Studies.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Hum – OSZ Practising International Studies


The course guide including instruction, schedule and guidelines will be posted on Blackboard.