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Global History


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague takes about 45 minutes.


This course has a two-pronged ambition; first, it aims to introduce the student to the practical and academic importance of the study of history. The student will be exposed to the concepts and ideas that guide the present study of history. The theories and methods that historians use will be highlighted. Similarly, the idea and study of global history will be presented and discussed. In the second part of the course, the focus will be on the large, structural patterns that have shaped human experience in the course of modern history. The aim is to examine connections between societies, cultures and regions, as well as their divergence. Based on a combination of a thematic structure and a focus on one particular region, the plenary lectures each week will aim to shed light on connections and comparison, as well as an assessment of their similarities and divergence. The lectures are followed by bi-weekly tutorials, under the guidance of tutors, to help the student gain an in-depth understanding of the required reading material and offer an opportunity to ask questions, and engage in discussions and debate.

Course objectives

At the end of the course the students will have acquired the following knowledge and understanding of history:

  • The student has familiarised him/herself with the academic understanding of history and global history.

  • The student has, to a very basic degree, acquired knowledge and understanding of classic and contemporary theories related to the study of history.

  • To a basic degree, acquired knowledge and understanding of key concepts and structures in the field of history.

  • To a basic degree, acquired knowledge and understanding of the methods that are used in historical investigation.

  • To a basic degree, acquired knowledge of international relations and the historical approach to the study of the ties between states and other actors in the international domain.

At the end of the course the student will have acquired the following skills:

  • The student is able to operate in a multicultural environment.

  • The student is able to form an opinion about historical texts.

  • The student will be able to write an exam with both closed and open questions.

  • The student will be able to collaborate and has develop essential academic learning skills


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Tutorials are held once every two weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours

  • Attending tutorials: 2 hours per 2 weeks = 12 hours

  • Assessment hours (midterm and final exam): 4 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: (approximately 7 pages per hour): 50 hours

  • Preparation tutorials: 25 hours

  • Preparation exam: 20 hours

  • Other components: 5 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam: This examination will consist of a series of multiple choice questions. The exam will test the comprehension of the lectures, readings and discussion in the tutorials. It assesses the student's comprehension of the contents, concepts, theories, and methods current in the study of history.

  • Final exam : This Examination will consist both of several multiple choice questions and a short series of open questions testing the comprehension of the second part of the lectures and the readings and tutorials, which assesses the student's comprehension of the contents, concepts, theories, and methods current in the study of history.


Partial grade Percentage
Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%


To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The endgrade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of tutorial, midterm exam and final exam.

  • The weighted average of the midterm exam and final exam needs to be 5.5 or higher.


If the endgrade is insufficient (lower than a 6), or the weighted average of midterm- and final exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier midterm and final exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the resit exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.


Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

The handbook for this course and for all of the history course in the programme is:

  • Robert C. Williams, The Historian's Toolbox; A Student's Guide to the Theory and Craft of History (London: Routledge, 2015). This is the third edition of the book.

Additionally, students should obtain:

  • J.R. McNeill and H. McNeill The Human Webb; A Bird’s Eye View of Human History, London: Norton 2003.

The additional reading list for the course will be posted on Blackboard before the start of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

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.


Prof. dr. I.G.B.M. Duijvesteijn

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.