Universiteit Leiden

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International Studies (BA)

Study programme

In International Studies you gain the ability to view regional issues from a global context, preparing you to play a crucial role in an increasingly globalised and interconnected world. In addition you gain the practical and professional skills needed to translate regional-specific knowledge into global solutions.

Programme outline

During this programme you gain deep knowledge of one of eight world regions by studying its politics, economy, history and culture, and a local language. You will acquire the professional skills that make any of your broad career choices easier to reach, whether you want to go on to do a Master's or to work in an international business, embassy, ministry, or as an entrepreneur.

The world regions and the local languages from which you can choose are:

  • East Asia: Mandarin, Japanese, Korean
  • Latin America: Spanish, Portuguese
  • Middle East: Arabic, Persian, Modern Hebrew
  • North America: French, Spanish
  • Russia and Eurasia: Russian
  • South Asia and Southeast Asia: Hindi, Indonesian
  • Africa: Arabic, Swahili, French, Portuguese
  • Europe: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch

Some of the courses

This course provides an introduction to political economy, showing that economic processes, relations, and conditions cannot be understood independently of the broader clusters of social relations within which they embedded. The course addresses key theoretical and empirical concepts and approaches in political economy and uses these to explore international themes and trends. 

What is International Studies? This course analyses key themes in the historic development and current manifestation of International Studies including:

  1. The history of International Relations as a discipline, focusing on its emergence from International History and Race Studies;
  2. The ongoing interaction of International Relations and International Studies with other disciplines and field, notably Political Science and Area Studies;
  3. Critical perspectives on International Relations, including those coming from the fields of literary and cultural studies, Asian Studies and political science.

As a student in International Studies, you are confronted with cultural differences and the impact it has on how people understand the world. The course discusses the interaction between culture and politics, and the impact of globalisation on regional cultures and theoretical frameworks. 

This course will introduce students to the underlying assumptions that shape interaction in different social and cultural contexts. The goal of this course is to provide students with the theoretical background to account for the different meanings from which our social worlds are constructed as they arise in everyday conversation, and the ways in which culture is used to shape worlds and world views.

Practising International Studies is a 12-week consultancy project course where teams of 3rd year students analyse real life cases and problems presented by leaders from international organisations. Student teams use their broad multi-perspective background to come up with novel solutions and insights for these organisations.

In their third year, students of International Studies get their teeth into difficult issues put forward by government and businesses such as Unilever and the World Food Programme.

Shaping the focus of your studies

International Studies gives you lots of freedom to shape the focus of your studies. It is a versatile and flexible programme, in which your choices are important. In the first year you choose your world area, and the language you will study. Then, in the first and second semester of year 2 you have two thematic seminars. These seminars help you develop your research skills and allow you to explore international studies from many perspectives and disciplines, including justice and democracy, film and business, religion and language theory. The electives during the first semester of the third year of the programme offer particular freedom. You may do an internship, a semester abroad or study a minor from another programme.

Detailed programme

Below you can find an overview of the curriculum. For a detailed description of the courses, please check the Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

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