Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges (BA/BSc)

Programme structure

LUC's programme, with the focus on Global Challenges, consists of four core components which are spread out over three years of study. Each year is divided into two semesters and each semester consists of two blocks.

Programme components

LUC's programme consists of the following components:

  • Mandatory courses which lay the foundation of knowledge
  • Major courses which allow you to specialise in a field of interest
  • Global Citizenship to develop cross-cultural communication and reflection skills
  • Elective space for minors, study abroad, internships or various courses

In the beginning of the study programme the focus will be on gaining the basic knowledge and laying the foundation and skills for the rest of the programme. Therefore, the mandatory courses are part of the first year as well as part of the specialisation taken from the second year onwards. The rest of the components can be taken at any year except for the study abroad option as this can only be done in the first semester of the third year. For more information, please view the individual items below.

In your first year, you follow the mandatory foundational courses in the four Global Challenges: Peace & Justice, Sustainability, Prosperity and Diversity. The four mandatory Global Challenge courses introduce you to interdisciplinary thinking by showing how issues can be explored from different perspectives. These courses also help you in choosing your specialisation (Major) at the end of your first year.

The first year also includes other mandatory general skills courses which will help you in the transition from secondary education to university and to build your academic skills. The following courses of the first year are mandatory general skills courses:

  • The four Global Challenges courses
  • Academic writing
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • History of philosophy

The remaining space is filled with electives which you can use to explore your interests.

At the end of the first year, you choose a specialisation based on your interests. LUC offers six specialisations called Majors. Each major has mandatory foundational courses which lay the foundation of knowledge. However, more than half of your major courses are chosen by you from the courses on offer.

In your second year, you can also follow courses for your Global Citizenship component and follow courses to fill up your elective space. Please note that if you wish to fill up your elective space to study abroad, your second year will mostly be filled with Major courses. This is because you will use your elective space for study abroad and this will be a whole semester in your third year.

In your third and final year, you continue with your major courses and other programme components. If you wish to study abroad, you can do so in the first semester of your third year. It is also possible to fill up your elective space with a minor at Leiden University or by doing an internship.

You end your third year by writing a Capstone Bachelor thesis, which is a final piece of independent research in which you apply the knowledge, analytical, and methodological skills you have acquired during your studies. Each student has an academic supervisor for the thesis from among our staff, who will guide you through the process.

In the first semester of the third year, LUC offers students the exciting and challenging opportunity to experience living and studying in another country as part of their programme. The credits obtained during the study abroad period count towards your bachelor's degree. In addition to participation in the university-wide schemes, LUC has its own unique exchange agreements with a select group of universities and colleges such as:

  • Macalester College
  • Sciences Po Paris
  • Bocconi University
  • Australian National University
  • National University Singapore
  • National Taiwan University
  • Rykkio University Tokyo
  • Yonsei (South Korea)

Of course, there are more exchange agreements. For more information and to use the ‘world map tool’ to browse through the options, please visit this website.

LUC students also have the opportunity to do an internship for credits, a maximum of 5 ECTS that counts as an elective course. Doing an internship provides you with a great opportunity to apply the content covered in a classroom setting in real-life situations. We encourage research internships, in which students participate in research programs (e.g., to get data for their capstone projects), as well as work-oriented internships.

Examples of internships include (but are certainly not limited to!) research in a science lab, a summer position at an embassy and working at an NGO or archive. We encourage students to find an organisation that fits their interests.

Students may only submit applications for an internship for credits after completing their first year at LUC. More details regarding internships for LUC's programme can be found on this website.

The Global Citizenship component links the global with the local and tries to link what you learn in the classroom to the environment you live in. It is an important element of the Liberal Arts and Sciences approach to education. It offers various options to develop your cross-cultural communication and reflection skills and to increase your appreciation of cultural and social diversity. This can be done by learning another language or by taking one of the Global Citizenship classes:

  • The College Project: individual and group research projects aimed at informing pedagogical and institutional practice at LUC by studying the history and politics of higher education.
  • Field course in Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Language courses in Dutch, Arabic, French, Spanish or Russian. Any other language course taken at Leiden University is accepted as well
  • Course Postcolonial world

Sandra Schmidt-Tauscher

Global Citizenship Course

Sandra Schmidt-Tauscher

"Our trip to Oerol on Terschelling was one of my personal highlights during my time at LUC. Although every student had their own research question during the trip, it was about so much more than investigating a research question. It was about scrutinizing our own minds and beliefs, broadening our experiences, experimenting with new methods, and exploring different ways of thinking and how we come to hold our beliefs… All of that whilst getting to know the beautiful Dutch Wadden culture and environment, visiting interesting art pieces, and growing closer as a class community!

The course itself was not knowledge centered but mostly aimed at providing insights into different anthropological ways of working and approaching anthropological field work. This made it quite a practical class and I think that everyone, regardless of major, year, and personal learning intentions, could take some insights and joy from it, because you can adapt it to fit your own interests, e.g. in terms of the research questions you want to investigate, the methods you want to focus on, or how you organize your free time during the excursion. When I think back to my experience, ‘exchange’ is an important concept coming to mind. Throughout the course, we always shared experiences from our different backgrounds and interests, about the new methods we tried, lessons we learned, insights we gathered. On top of that, we met and talked to many people we would not have met otherwise, from old islanders and fishermen to artists to strangers in The Hague, learning about others’ perspectives on social, cultural, and environmental topics and sharing experiences. 

If anything, I remember the class as an enjoyable learning journey and an unforgettable trip which tied all our learning experiences together."

This website uses cookies. More information.