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Security Studies

The Bachelor Security Studies is the first academic BA programme in continental Europe focusing on contemporary security and safety challenges. It is a three-year, English-taught programme that combines theory, practice, and skills, within an interdisciplinary framework. The programme helps students develop into well-rounded, academically trained security specialists.

Security and safety challenges rank among the most pressing contemporary issues for individuals, organisations, businesses, and states. They must deal with both real and perceived threats at local, regional and international levels. These threats may include: international terrorism, organised crime, cyber incidents, civil unrest, urban riots and natural or industrial disasters. Both technological and social developments have led to a rise in the number of complex security and safety challenges, that may affect societies and people across the globe. Addressing these security and safety challenges requires an academic approach, a critical attitude and knowledge of all relevant factors related to specific security and safety challenges.

The Bachelor Security Studies teaches students to analyse and address security and safety challenges. Using various theoretical lenses, students will learn how to unravel security cases by focusing on the political, historical and societal context, but also on governance structures, institutions and the role of the media. The programme employs a wide range of teaching methods to stimulate critical thinking in students, such as lectures, work groups, and excursions. Special attention is given to the development of academic and professional skills and the application of these skills to contemporary security and safety cases.

The Bachelor Security Studies is part of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, and is taught at Leiden University’s Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs located in The Hague.

Year 1

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1

Introduction to Security and Safety 10
Skills Lab 1 5
Case Study Syria 10
Skills Lab 2 5

Semester 2

Case Study Fukushima 10
Skills Lab 3 5
Integrated Project 1 10
Introduction to Research Methods 5

Year 2

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1

Vital Interests 10
Quantitative Research Methods 5
Terrorism and Counterterrorism 10
Law and Security 5

Semester 2

Cyber Threats 10
Qualitative Research Methods 5
War and Peacebuilding 10
Economics of Safety and Security 5

Year 3

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1


Elective space 30

Semester 2

Integrated Project 2 10
Governance of Security 5
Thesis Security Studies 15

Transitional Arrangements

Research Methods 1 (Block 4):

Following the restructuring of the bachelor’s programme that has applied from the academic year 2021-2022, the course “Research Methods 1” is now offered under the name “Introduction to Research Methods”. Students who participated in the “Research Methods 1” course before but did not manage to pass the course should follow “Introduction to Research Methods” as a substitute course (in block 4). Please take a look at the Introduction to Research Methods e-guide (under the year 1 tab) to learn more about what is expected from you. For exceptions, please contact the Board of Examiners.

Research Methods 2 (Block 1):

Following the restructuring of the bachelor’s programme that has applied from academic year 2021-2022, Research Methods 2 will no longer be offered. Students who still have to pass Research Methods 2 are required to follow both Quantitative Research Methods (block 1) and Qualitative Research Methods (block 3) during this academic year. Please take a look at the Quantitative or Qualitative Research Methods e-guides (under the year 2 tab) to learn more about what is expected of you per course. For exceptions, please contact the Board of Examiners.

Research Methods 3 (Block 3):

Following the restructuring of the bachelor’s programme that has applied from academic year 2021-2022, this will be the last year that this course will be given. Only students who have passed Research Methods 2 in one of the previous academic years should take Research Methods 3 in block 3 this academic year.
Students following this course will watch seven pre-recorded lectures and read the literature provided on Brightspace. Additionally, four walk-in sessions are organised for those seeking extra help with their papers. These sessions are not mandatory and will be used to answer any questions students have.
The final grade for this course is based on both a mid-term paper (25%) and a final research paper (75%). In order to pass this course you will need to pass the final research paper with a 5.5 or above and achieve a combined grade (mid-term paper (25%) ) & final research paper (75%)) of 5.5 or above.

Students who participated in this course before but did not manage to pass it, keep their passed partial grades during year 2022-2023. Students who previously failed the attendance requirements are not required to attend the walk-in sessions as they are not mandatory.
Please only register for the lectures of Research Methods 3 in uSis. After that, you will automatically have access to the right Brightspace course page.
For exceptions, please contact the Board of Examiners.

Governance of Security (Block 3):

Following the restructuring of the bachelor’s programme that has applied from academic year 2021-2022, Governance of Security as a second year’s course will not be offered anymore. This second year course is replaced with the Governance of Security course that is now offered during year three. Although the name stayed the same, the set-up and level of the course has changed. Therefore, students cannot carry over grades previously obtained for the course Governance of Security (up until 2021-2022 a year 2 course) to the Governance of Security (currently a year 3 course) of the academic year 2022-2023. Please take a look at the Governance of Security e-guide (under the year 3 tab) to learn more about what is expected from you.

Career orientation

Career preparation in bachelor Security Studies

In addition to offering you a solid university education, Leiden University aims to prepare you as well as possible for the labour market, and in doing so contribute to the development of your employability. In this way, it will become easier for you to make the transition to the labour market, to remain employable in a dynamic labour market, in a (career) job that suits your own personal values, preferences and development.

'Employability' consists of the following aspects that you will develop within your study programme, among others:

1. Discipline-specific knowledge and skills
Knowledge and skills specific to your study programme.

2. Transferable skills
These are skills that are relevant to every student and that you can use in all kinds of jobs irrespective of your study programme, for example: researching, analysing, project-based working, generating solutions, digital skills, collaborating, oral communication, written communication, presenting, societal awareness, independent learning, resilience.

3. Self-reflection
This concerns self-reflection in the context of your (study) career, including reflecting on the choices you make as a student during your studies, what can you do with your knowledge and skills on the labour market?
In addition, reflecting on your own profile and your personal and professional development. Who are you, what can you do well, what do you find interesting, what suits you, what do you find important, what do you want to do?

4. Practical experience
Gaining practical experience through internships, work placements, projects, practical (social) assignments, which are integrated into an elective, minor or graduation assignment.

5. Labour market orientation
Gaining insight into the labour market, fields of work, jobs and career paths through, for example, guest speakers and alumni experiences from the work field, career events within the study programme, the use of the alumni mentor network, interviewing people from the work field, and shadowing/visiting companies in the context of a particular subject.

Employability in bachelor Security Studies

You will also find these employability elements in your study programme. Examples of subjects that pay attention to this are:

Discipline-specific knowledge and skills

Shared transferable skills


Practical experience

Labour market orientation