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Case study Syria


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies.


The current conflict in Syria, which emerged from the fall out of the Arab Spring and the War in Iraq, may perhaps present the most pressing security threat both in the region and at an international level. This irregular conflict is an example of an intentional threat (security) and has significant security implications at a national, regional and international level.

This course will provide an introduction into the Syria conflict, and explores its dynamics and security implications. Students will examine and discuss how the conflicts developed in both Syria and how they became inter-connect with the rise of ISIS.

Students will explore the Syria case by applying knowledge and methods from relevant disciplines. By following the logic of interdisciplinary thinking, students will learn how to understand and explain important facets of the Syria conflict in terms of causes, factors driving and sustaining the conflict, as well as the effects and implications for governments and citizens. Students will learn to review an event, or set of events, through the lenses of various academic disciplines and gain the ability to apply this skill in other cases.

Course objectives

  • Students will acquire knowledge and comprehension of several basic concepts and/or methods in: (1) History, (2) International Relations and Law; (3) Economics; (4) Sociology and Psychology and 5) Anthropology.

  • Students will acquire knowledge and all-round understanding of irregular conflict and the security threats affecting vital interests in modern societies (security).

  • Students will be able to select, weigh and integrate concepts and methods from relevant disciplines in order to gain a deeper understanding of a real-life security case.

  • Students will be able to carry out an interdisciplinary assessment of a security case and present findings in an academic paper.

  • Students will be able to show awareness of social and cultural differences and ethical dilemmas in this case study.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide Bachelor Security Studies you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

14 lectures and self-study

Course Load

Total study load of 280 hours

  • Contact hours: 42

  • Self-study hours: 235

  • Examination: 3

Assessment method

  • Academic Paper (mid-term): 40%

  • Written exam (final): 60%
    Both the written exam and the academic paper must be graded a 5,5 or higher in order to pass the course. The calculated final grade must be 5,50 or higher to pass the course.
    More information will be available on the Blackboard page.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have a grade lower than 5,5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.
Resits will take the same form.

Transitional Arrangement
Students who participated in the course “Case Study Syria and Iraq” in academic year 2017-2018 but did not manage to pass the entire course should follow “Case Study Syria” as a substitute in academic year 2018-2019. Passed partial grades obtained in year 2017-2018 remain valid during year 2018-2019. Failed partial grades should be obtained in 2018-2019 and cover the course content offered in year 2018-2019. The calculation strategy of year 2017-2018 will be applicable to the new, final grade.


Course page will be available one week in advance.

Reading list

Book: Nikolaos van Dam (2017) Destroying a Nation: The Civil War in Syria (London: IB Taurus)

Articles: To be announced on Blackboard.


To be announced by OSC staff.


Dhr. D.J. Weggemans MSc:
Dhr. E.E.A. Dijxhoorn: