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Political Science: International Relations and Organisations (The Hague)

Political Science, global affairs and the dynamics of international cooperation and conflict.

The international, English-taught 3-year programme of IRO is part of Leiden University’s Political Science curriculum and is based in The Hague, the city in which politics and international relations converge.

In this specialised bachelor’s programme you'll address transboundary issues from a social sciences point of view. IRO has a strong focus on diplomacy and current world problems, with particular attention paid to the role of major powers such as China, Russia, the USA and the EU, and organisations such as the IMF, NATO, UN, and the World Bank.

It is the right choice for you if you are fascinated by political science, global affairs and the dynamics of international cooperation and conflict. Themes such as war and peace, poverty, refugee crises, humanitarian cooperation, nuclear weapons reduction, and globalisation are covered in detail.

Practical Information

More information about the following topics can be found in the tabs in this Prospectus (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Career Preparation).

Please read below about the following topics:








Academic Career Support

The team of study advisers knows about all aspects of your study programme, and therefore you can go to them when you need, advise or support. If you feel your study progress is experiencing some obstacles, it is important to contact your study adviser as soon as possible. He or she can advise you on the best course of action and, if required, support you in dealing with academic delay.
Meeting your study adviser is also advisable if you are thinking of longer term planning or you are looking for additional (extra curricular) challenges.

Study Advisers

Nynke Heegstra – IRO students with surnames starting with A to G
Ian Lau – IRO students with surnames starting with H to P
Ester Blom – IRO students with surnames starting with Q to Z

Where can I find information about my study planning?

The Study Advisers are the first point of contact if you have questions about the IRO programme, your study planning, or study progress. These are your options to acquire your information:

  • Information on study programme, planning and study progress can be accessed 24/7 on the study advising Brightspace page: Brightspace: Academic Career Support IRO

  • Info Desk IRO: Quick questions about your studies: In Block 3, Study Advisers are available on Mondays between 15:00 and 15:30 at the desk opposite classrooms WH 2.01 and 2.02.

  • If necessary, you can ask your question via the IRO webform or schedule a meeting to discuss your personal situation.

  • Academic Career Support Sessions: sessions during which IRO peers share their experiences; study advisers and other representatives of the university will explain about different topics that are relevant for you in each phase of your study:

IRO Year 1

  • Block 3 | Making choices for your IRO future | Mon 12 Feb 2024 | 11:15-12:15 #3.54 WH

IRO Year 2

  • Intro session Semester 2: Mon 5 Feb 17:15 (before lecture Research Methods).

  • Choices in IRO: Thur 7 Mar 2024 | 13:15-14:15 # 2.19 WH

  • Elective Space/Minors : Thur 11 Apr 2024 | 13:15-14:15 # 3.54 WH

  • BAP & BAS: Fri 31 May 2024 | 15:30 (after BAP meeting) online

IRO Year 3

Sessions tba, based on deadlines for choices in your programme.

Year 1

Programme components year 1 (60 EC)

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Block I

Introduction to International Organisations 5
Introduction to International Relations, and Academic Skills 8

Block II

Actors in World Politics 5
Economics for Political Scientists 5
Introduction to Political Science, and Academic Skills 7

Block III

Global History 5
Research Methods in Political Science 5
Introduction to Comparative Politics, and Academic Skills 7

Block IV

Statistics 1 - Description and Inference 5
Politics of the European Union, and Academic Skills 8

Year 2

Programme components year 2 (60 EC)

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Block I

Comparative Analysis of Political Systems 5
Statistics 2 - Applied Quantitative Analysis 5
Academic Skills: Research Design (Sem. I) 5

Block II

Analyzing International Relations 5
International Political Economy (IRO) 5
Qualitative Research Methods (IRO) 5

Block III (Students choose either Contemporary P. Philosophy or Rational Choice Theory)

Global Security 5
International Development 5
Contemporary Political Philosophy 5
Academic Skills: Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis (Sem. II) 5

Block IV (Students choose either Contemporary P. Philosphy or Rational Choice Theory)

Environmental Politics 5
International Law and Human Rights 5
Rational Choice Theory 5

Year 3

Programme components year 3 (60 EC)

1. Elective Space (30 EC)

2. Bachelor Seminar (10 EC, Block 1, 2, 3 or 4)

3. Bachelor Project (Thesis) (20 EC, semester 1 or 2)

More information about the programme can also be found on Brightspace page Academic Career Support

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Elective Space

Elective Space Year 3

Bachelor Project

Bachelor Project International Relations and Organisations, Semester I, 2023-2024 20
Bachelor Project International Relations and Organisations, Semester II, 2023-2024 20

Bachelor Seminars semester 1

Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union 10
Global Governance and Multilateral Institutions 10
Political Leadership in International Relations 10
Anarchism, Anti-statism and Anti-state Rebellions 10
The Power of the Past: The Contemporary Relevance of Histories 10

Bachelor Seminars semester 2

Accountability in Global Governance 10
Citizen Representation in the European Union: Theory and Practice 10
Crisis Management 10
Elections and Voting Behaviour around the World 10
Energy Governance in a Post-carbon World 10
Media and Public Opinion in International Relations 10
Security in Asia 10
Politics of Memory 10
Politics of Migration 10
The European Union in Crisis: Challenges, Compromises, Results 10
The Psychological Origins of Mass Politics 10
International Environmental and Climate Politics 10
Political Myths and Political Realities: Lessons learned from Indigenous and Pre-historic Practice 10

Career Preparation

Career preparation in the BSc Political Science

In pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, we are committed to providing you with not only a comprehensive academic education, but also the necessary tools and skills to thrive in the professional world.

It's important to note that career preparation is a collaborative effort between the university and the student. To make the most of the opportunities provided, you should actively engage in extracurricular activities, seek internships or research opportunities, and take advantage of the career services available to you. By combining your academic achievements with practical experiences and professional networking, you can enhance your employability and/or readiness for a Master’s degree, and position yourself for a successful career in the field of Political Science.

Here are some aspects of career preparation you can expect from the programme:

1. Discipline-specific knowledge and skills
The BSc Political Science programme will equip you with broad knowledge and understanding of different aspects of Political Science and related disciplines, such as economics, history, law, and political philosophy. It will also offer you’re the opportunity to specialize in a subfield of political science in your second and third-year projects, papers, and thesis.

2. Research and Analytical Skills:
You will develop strong research and analytical skills through coursework, seminars, and finally through application via the writing of a thesis and, optionally, an Internship project. These skills are valuable in various career paths, including academia, policy analysis, consulting, and research positions.

3. Transferrable skills
Transferrable skills are abilities and competencies that can be applied across different roles, industries, and contexts. These skills are not specific to a particular job or field, but can be transferred and utilized effectively in various settings. These skills include: research and analytical methods, project-based work, generating diagnostic and solutions, digital skills, collaborative work, oral and written communication, presentation skills, societal awareness, independent learning, resilience. These skills are highly valued by employers and can enhance your adaptability and marketability.

4. Self-reflection
This involves reflecting on your own (study) career (choices), reflecting on your own background, profile and your personal and professional development. Gaining insight into, among other things, your competences and personality, your (work) values and motivations: this involves reflection on what can you do with your knowledge and skills on the labour market.

5. Practical Experience
We recognise the importance of practical experience in enhancing employability. We encourage you to look for research internship opportunities as part of your third year elective programme. Career Services and Brightspace Career Preparation Political Science provide opportunities for internships or collaborations with relevant organisations, allowing you to apply your knowledge in real-world settings. This experience can be instrumental in gaining insights into potential career paths and building a professional network.

6. Networking Opportunities
The Institute of Political Science, and the study association SPIL regularly provide networking events, guest lectures, and conferences that bring together students, alumni, professionals, and experts from the field. Actively participating in these events can help you establish connections and foster relationships that may be beneficial for your career advancement.

7. Study Advice
Your study adviser can assist you on your study choices and strategies to improve your academic performance, also by referring to the right contacts within the university. You can contact if you have a question about your programme or if you would like to discuss your personal situation.

8. Career Service
The Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Career Service offers career guidance, including workshops, (faculty) career events, and individual counseling sessions. These resources can assist you in exploring career options, developing job search strategies. Leiden University has a strong Alumni Mentor network, and as a graduate, you can leverage this network to access career opportunities, seek mentorship, and gather insights from professionals who have pursued careers in various sectors related to Political Science.