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Configuring the World


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.


Political economy is multidisciplinary field premised on the assumption that economic processes, relations, and conditions may not be understood independently of the broader clusters of social relations within which they embedded. The course addresses key theoretical and empirical concepts and approaches in political economy and uses these to explore international themes and trends. Adopting a problem based approach, students will gain an appreciation of how ideas and methods in political economy can assist an understanding of links among social, political, and economic conditions in a variety of settings.

Course objectives

Students who complete this course will possess an understanding of key concepts and theoretical approaches in classical and contemporary political economy. They will learn to develop comparative perspectives on political economy and to collect and analyze data on a variety of themes across variety of regional and national settings. Students will demonstrate an ability to combine insights from economics and political economy. They will possess an understanding of institutional features of the world economy and the mechanisms by which social and political processes and relations interact with economic processes and relations in a variety of international settings.


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.

Weekly journal entries

Students will complete ten (10) journal entries of roughly 1.5 to 2 pages. These will be submitted on a weekly basis before lecture and then compiled and uploaded as a complete body of work at the conclusion of the semester. The journal entries will address questions assigned to students and will require students to comment on readings and course materials. Sometimes the journal entries will address questions to be discussed in the tutorials. The journal entries are for students’ own use. They are not evaluated strictly on the basis of content but rather obviousness of effort and thought. The weekly journal entries account for 40 percent of the final grade.


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: 24 hours

  • Attending tutorials: 12 hours

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

  • Study of compulsory literature: (approximately 7 pages per hour): 40 hours

  • Preparation of journal entries: 10 hours

  • Preparation tutorials: 10 hours

  • Preparation for two exams: 40 hours

Assessment method


  • Journal entries: 10 weekly outputs of 1.5 to 2 typewritten pages in length.

  • Midterm exam: Multiple choice and short essay.

  • Final exam: Multiple choice, short, and long essay.


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

End grade

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

  • The end grade 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 end grade 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 readings for this course will include a mix of texts drawn from academic texts, scholarly articles and books, technical and policy documents, and popular and business press. An example of a possible text is Clift, B., 2014. Comparative political economy: states, markets and global capitalism. Palgrave Macmillan.


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.


For tutorials
Dr. J.D. London

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