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Career Preparation Module - Year 1



The BSc Political Sciences – International Relations and Organisations provides access to many different positions on the (international) job market. The programme offers multiple changes to prepare yourself for the job market. You are faced with many choices and options during your studies and your career. The choices you make as a student – the courses you follow, the (research) assignments you carry out, the questions you ask yourself – all help to steer your future career in a particular direction. The Job Market Preparation module is not a regular course. It offers a guideline to develop yourself. You can use it to define your choices and develop your profile. It also helps you to discover your own strengths, wishes and options. The key questions of the module are: ‘What do I want?’; ‘What can I do?’; ‘What should I be able to do?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’

The Career Preparation Module is divided into four different elements, which are explained below for each year of the bachelor’s programme. The four elements are:

1) Plenary sessions (co-curricular)
2) Skills education (curricular)
3) Courses including links to the job market (curricular)
4) Workshops and events (extra-curricular)

Learning objectives for the first year

The most important question in the first year is ‘What do I want?’ You will reflect on the question: Why did I decide to study Political Science – International Relations and Organisations? And: How does what I learn during my study programme link to my wishes for my future career? The first year will also include consideration of study skills. How should I study? How should I plan? How can I successfully complete my study programme?

Element 1. Plenary sessions (co-curricular)

During four plenary sessions, the bachelor’s study advisers discuss specific study skills. In the second semester, attention is also given to extra challenges for talented students or extra help if you encounter study problems. You will reflect on your own wishes and capabilities.

  • Thursday 20 September 2018

  • Thursday 22 November 2018

  • Wednesday 27 February 2019

  • Wednesday 24 April 2019

Element 2. Skills education (curricular)

In the first-year Skills workgroup courses are linked to certain lectures (block 1: Introduction to International Relations, block 2 Actor in World Politics, block 3 Introduction to Comparative Politics and block 4 Introduction to Political Science). You will practice a number of Academic Skills: (1) Text Interpretation, (2) Argumentation, (3) Book Review and (4) Critical Review. These skills are essential study skills, not only for successfully following and completing your study programme but also for your professional career.
During the workgroups you learn how to work on assignments and projects both individually and in groups, how to gain a thorough comprehension of the content of often complex texts and correctly evaluate this content, how to parse and reconstruct arguments, how to assess and develop arguments, and finally how to structure and present their findings both orally and in writing. Whatever field of work a Political Science graduate enters – a career abroad or in The Netherlands, with the government (for instance, in an embassy, ministry or city council) or outside it (for instance, as a journalist, consultant, political strategist for a bank, project worker with an NGO or IO, teacher, or party worker with a political party) – these 21st century skills (interpretation, argumentation, communication and presentation skills) will ensure that you will be able to achieve a high standard of work performance.

Element 3. Courses including links to the job market (curricular)

In addition to plenary sessions and the skills education in the first year, various first-year bachelor’s courses include clear links to the job market:

Introduction to International Relations  guest speaker(s) working in public practice
Introduction to International Organisations:  guest speaker(s) working in public practice (especially international organisations)
Politics of the EU:  guest lectures by alumni (such as city council registrars, members of staff of MEPs, consultants), describing how they obtained their job, how their study programme is useful for their work, and how their organisation functions in practice  report assignments that require a visit to the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament, a city council or the European Parliament. (See also the summary under the heading ‘Interrelation with bachelor’s courses’ below.)

Element 4. Workshops and events (extra-curricular)

During the first year of your study programme, you can participate in workshops organised by POPcorner and Student Support Services (SSS) /PITSstop, which help you to find their way within the university and during their studies. The offered workshops focus on such study skills as Time Management, Reducing Stress, Strategic Studying, Self-Confidence in Examinations, etc. In these workshops, students work on skills that can help them to be more successful in their studies. See student website for workshops in Dutch and English
In the context of starting to orient on the job market for Political Scientists, you are also strongly advised to participate in work visits and excursions in the Netherlands and abroad, which are organised by SPIL (Study Association for Political Scientists in Leiden).


Career Preparation Political Science (CPPS-POL-0000FSW)


Study Advisers IRO:
Ariane Berends
Ester Blom
Ignacia Levy

Career Service Faculty of Social & Behavioral Sciences
LU Career Zone