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Introduction to Secret Affairs


Admission requirements

It is not possible to follow single courses of the minor Intelligence Studies. You need to be enrolled for the minor to be accepted to this course.


During the past thirty years the so-called intelligence revolution that took place during the Second World War and the Cold War found its way into academic courses and literature. In many respects intelligence can no longer be called ‘the missing dimension’ of the history of international relations, even though many of its aspects and implications are still missing. This lecture series will put a spotlight on the ‘dark side’ of international relations and the hidden background issues that go on behind the sealed scenes of international relations.

This course will pay attention to the history of intelligence services, the methods of intelligence gathering, intelligence in regard to terrorism and asymmetric warfare. Furthermore, students will be challenges to use their own ‘spy-capacities’ and put themselves in the adversary’s position.

Course objectives

  1. The student is able to explain the different manners of organization of the services in different countries;
  2. The student is able to describe the possible role and influence of intelligence in international politics and is able to illustrate how states can use intelligence as an instrument of power;
  3. The student is able to mention the most important disciplines of intelligence gathering, explain when to use what different discipline and apply this knowledge to specific situations;
  4. The student is able to give examples of events of historical important in the field of intelligence;
  5. The student is able to give a broad perspective of the work of intelligence and security services and to elaborate on the different points of view and movements within the field.


To be announced by OSC staff.

Mode of instruction

7 lectures of 3 hours by instructors and guest lecturers.
Attendance is obligatory.

Course Load

Component % Hours
Attendance mandatory 21
Mid term exam 40% 2
Final exam 60% 3
Reading and self-study* 114
Total 100% 140

*On the basis of reading approximately eight pages per hour.

Assessment method

Mid term exam (40%)
Final exam (60%)

Attendance is obligatory. Being absent more than once may lead to expulsion from the course.

The Course and Examination Regulation and the Rules and Regulation of the Board of Examiners will apply.



Reading list



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Ms. W.J.M. Aerdts LL.M MA


This course can only be taken as part of the minor Intelligence Studies.