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Practising International Studies


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.


“There is nothing more practical than a good theory” said psychologist Kurt Lewin (1952). Practising International Studies is a consultancy project course where teams of students analyse real life cases and problems presented by organisational leaders that operate in international environments. These leaders appeal to student teams to use their area-specific and multi-disciplinary background in International Studies as well as their research capabilities to provide them with novel and critical insights that can assist them in their future decision-making.

First, the organisational leaders will visit the university to introduce their organisation and international challenge during a kick-off session. Student teams will have the opportunity to pose questions and gather the necessary information about the organisation and the context surrounding the problem. Next, students will participate in a series of workshops and guest lectures taught by selected faculty members and external speakers that will engage students in the academic debates informing these real-life problems or provide methodological approaches and tools to address them.

With this input, student teams will translate the (practical) problem into relevant and analysable research questions that would guide a sound project plan. Each team will divide responsibilities by utilising each member’s expertise in certain areas and disciplines and skills. Based on this task division, each student contributes to the team by conducting individual and group research and presenting findings in weekly project tutorials. Throughout these meetings guided by an experienced research coach, the findings from all students will be discussed, refined and integrated by the team.

This will result in a final report containing a multidisciplinary and multi-sited analysis and detailed recommendations on possible courses of action for the organisation. This report will be presented by the team, to committee consisting of representatives from the university and the organisation, after completion of the academic consultancy assignment.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • equip students with the tools to engage with the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary world as encountered by organisations

  • build the ability to critically assess and solve real-life cases of organisations to the benefit of society

  • build teamwork competencies, the ability to brainstorm, listen, debate and integrate perspectives through group work and collaboration;

  • receive and give feedback to peers and incorporate feedback from research coaches;

  • further develop research skills such as problem formulation, collect, select, analyse and represent academic literature, formulate research questions and apply research methods e.g. case study research;

  • apply concepts and ideas from International Studies as practical tools for analysis (bridge theory and practice);

  • expose students to the complexities and challenges faced by organisations and their leaders thereby contributing to research of societal relevance;

  • build skills to write, present and defend research findings in a professional and structured way.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

(Guest-) Lectures, project tutorials, workshops, presentations.

All sessions are mandatory In order for teams to flourish, all student consultants should be actively involved in all the components of the course and contribute to group discussions in order to be represented in the decision-making process.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 280 hours, distributed between participation in (guest-)lectures, workshops, project tutorials and presentations; conducting individual and group research; writing individual and group reports; preparing for workshops and tutorials; contributing to team meetings; preparing and delivering final presentations.

Assessment method

The course is assessed through a combination of individual and peer assessment of a series of components and deliverables, such as participation, team agreement, project plan, individual report, final report and final presentation.

Further specification of these components to be announced at a later date.


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to enrol on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • The course guide including instruction, schedule and guidelines will be posted on Blackboard.

  • Readings will be made available through Blackboard.


The method of registration for this course will be announced later.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For tutorials

Dr. S.R. Koendjbiharie

Dr. M.G. Palacio Ludeña

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies