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Political Science: International Organisation

The specialisation International Organisation of the Leiden Political Science Master Programme aims to provide students with a deep and comprehensive understanding of international organisation in world affairs. Within the specialisation one studies the norms, rules, and institutions that (are designed to) shape relations between states and contacts across state borders, and how they affect people’s lives, the destiny of nations, and the fate of the planet. As a student of IO, you learn to apply a wide range of theoretical perspectives and research methodologies to the analysis of these institutions and the politics that surround them. The programme provides theoretical knowledge but also seeks to build bridges between theory and practice. Students develop advanced academic and professional skills. Besides core courses on International Organisation and Advanced Academic Skills, the programme offers elective seminars on a broad range of themes related to international organisation. Students may opt to complete the program with a thesis or an internship which includes a substantive research report.

Preliminary Info

Students starting in February: read the information on this page carefully before continuing

Registration for courses

Registration for elective seminars
In the Spring semester International Organisation students choose two elective seminars. Registration for February-starters is possible from Wednesday 13 January 2016, 10.00 a.m. until 20 January 2016, 10.00 a.m. Please send an e-mail with your full name, student number and 4 preferences for your seminar courses to the Institute Secretariat at You will receive an auto-reply with a confirmation that we have received your e-mail. You will be informed about the seminars for which you have been registered before 1 February 2016. Each seminar has a maximum number of participants; registration is on a first come first served basis. (If fewer than 5 students register for a seminar, we cannot guarantee that it will take place.)

Registration for mandatory courses
For the ‘Dynamics in International Organisation’ course students do not need to register themselves.

Optional only to September starters: Transferring to the Research Master

It is possible to apply for transfer to the Research Master after the first semester of the MSc Political Science. Students who want to switch need to fulfill the admissions requirements of the research master: Application deadline for students who want to switch to the research master once they have started in the Master Political Science is 1 December 2016 (online application system on the above mentioned website). We strongly advise students who consider transferring from the Master Political Science to the Research Master to take the two elective seminars that are recommended for the Research Master in their first semester. Please discuss any questions or concerns you may have with the study advisor or programme director.

Start February 2016

Welcome Meeting
We would like to invite you to a welcome meeting on Tuesday, February 2, from 1.30-3.00 p.m. in room number 5A42 (on the 5th floor of the Pieter de la Court building, Wassenaarseweg 52). During this meeting you will be informed about the programme and you get the opportunity to meet some of the staff members over coffee, tea and cake.

The program information in the e-prospectus is subject to change. We advise students to check the e-prospectus pages regularly throughout the academic year.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Master International Organisation Start February 2016

Semester 2 - Mandatory Course

Dynamics of International Organisation - Spring 2016 10

Semester 2 - Electives (IO Students must choose two seminars from the list below)

Foreign Policy Analysis 10
Preventing Terrorism in Multicultural Europe 10
Political Obligation 10
Governance and Diversity in Developing Countries 10
Civil War 10
Russia and the World 10

Semester 1 - Mandatory Courses (E-Prospectus 2016-2017 t.b.a.)

If required: check if you have to take this course on your Statement of Admission

Conversion Course: Research Design and Measurement 5

Start September 2015

Registration for elective seminar
Registration in uSis for the elective seminar in uSis is possible from Tuesday 8 December 10.00 a.m. until Tuesday 15 December 10.00 a.m.
Please note that elective seminars have a maximum capacity and placement is subject to availability. Registration is on a first come first served basis.

Registration for Thesis seminar
On Tuesday 1 December between 13.00-14.00 p.m. in SB45 the instructors will present their thesis seminar topics and explain what is expected of the students. Students can ask questions about the International Organisation thesis seminars.

Students can register for an International Organisation Thesis seminar from Wednesday 9 December 10.00 a.m. until Wednesday 16 December 10.00 a.m. Registration is on a first come first served basis and subject to availability. If more than 15 students prefer to be in a Thesis seminar students will be placed on a waiting list.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1 - Mandatory Courses

Dynamics of International Organisation 10
Conflict and Cooperation: Classics - Fall 2015 5
Advanced Academic & Professional Skills - Fall 2015 5

Semester 1 - Electives (IO students can choose one seminar from the list below)

Political Communication and Media Effects 10
Distributive Justice: From Local to Global Issues 10
Transnational Politics of Human Rights (recommended for the Research Master) 10
Crisis Management 10
Political Parties and Democracy: Conflict and Cooperation (recommended for the Research Master) 10
Consensus and Conflict in the Netherlands 10
Conflict and Cooperation: Applying Game Theory in IR 10
Conflict and Intervention 10
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict 10

Semester 2 - Mandatory Course

Thesis Seminar International Organisation Spring 20

Semester 2 - Electives (IO students can choose one seminar from the list below)

Foreign Policy Analysis 10
Preventing Terrorism in Multicultural Europe 10
Political Obligation 10
Governance and Diversity in Developing Countries 10
Civil War 10
Russia and the World 10

Optional: Internship

Internship MSc Political Science 30

If required: check if you have to take this course on your Statement of Admission

Conversion Course: Research Design and Measurement 5

Competency Requirements

The Master Political Science Admissions Committee may have requested that the applicant demonstrates competency in Research Design & Measurement in the Social Sciences. You can find this on your Statement of Admission.

This competency should be demonstrated by completing the conversion course Research Design & Measurement in the Social Sciences. This conversion course will be offered by the Institute of Political Science and may be followed along with the other courses from the regular Master of Science programme. The full conversion course comprises 5 ECTS credits. This conversion course is not part of the regular curriculum of the Master of Science programme.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Conversion Course: Research Design and Measurement 5

Extra Info

The specialisation International Organisation offers three core modules:

Dynamics of International Organisation gives an introduction to the basic structures and processes of international organisation.
Conflict and Cooperation: Classics will address contemporary political conflict, the philosophical approaches to political conflict and the nature and effectiveness of political institutions in resolving political conflict. Major classic works in political science will be studied.
Advanced Academic and Professional Skills aims at advancing the skills for various professions at an academic level, such as policy advisor, civil servant, or political assistant, whether in NGOs, interest groups, political parties or government and international agencies. The seminar will focus on oral skills and written skills, which will be applied during the classes.

Specialisation through Choice: Build your own Profile within the specialisation

The specialisation International Organisation allows students to specialise through their own choices of seminars (subject to availability). Students will gain advanced knowledge on a variety of empirical or normative approaches in political science. Seminar topics range from human rights, conflict management, distributive justice to political conflict and the media to elections and coalitions in a national context. Students may opt to complete the program with a thesis or an internship which includes a substantive research report.


Those opting for a thesis will follow a International Organisation Thesis Seminar during the second semester. In the International Organisation Thesis Seminar students apply theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills to a theme related to international organisation. Preparations for the thesis start during the month of January (designated for self-study). The thesis may take the form of a theoretical analysis, literature study, quantitative or qualitative empirical research, or a case study. Students write a thesis on the findings of individual research (length between 16.000 and 20.000 words).


The teachers that are mentioned in each course are appointed by the Board of Examiners to conduct examinations.

The Department expects the highest scholarly effort and achievement from students. Students’ academic work will be evaluated per assignment and per course. This includes both oral and written assignments. Timely completion of degree requirements is expected.

More information

More information on grading, graduation and other information can be found on the website of Political Science.

More information on the entry requirements of the programme can be found on Masters in Leiden.

More information about a variety of subjects can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Please contact the Student Services Center Faculty of Social Science for administrative affairs such as a certified transcript or a statement of registration.