Universiteit Leiden

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Security Studies (BSc)

About the programme

As a student in Security Studies you are a socially engaged critical thinker eager to study real-life security cases in an academic setting. You focus not just on the broad context of these issues but also on the role of government, institutions and media.

In this bachelor programme you will also study various crises and crisis management. Crises are unforeseen situaties which require impactful decisions in times of stress and chaos. How do govenments and private actors work together to prevent, response to, and recover from crises such as natural disasters and pandemics? For example, in the course Case study: Fukushima, students will look into the Fukushima nuclear disaster that happened in 2011 in Japan and in the course Vital interests we will further discuss the SARS epidemic. 


Programme overview

After a broad introduction to security and safety in modern society, you gain insight into different vulnerabilities and threats, the actors involved, and approaches to safety and security issues. You study two complex real life case with local, national, regional and global dimensions: Syria, and Fukushima. You begin to acquire and improve such academic and professional skills as: critical thinking, writing, communication, research, teamwork, intercultural skills, organisational & leadership skills.

In your second year you learn about the strategies necessary to protect the vital interests in society and to ensure stability, welfare and prosperity. As part of this process, you will study three security and safety challenges: Terrorism & Counter-terrorism, Cyber Threats and War & Peace Building. You will also explore the underlying themes of Law and Security and Economics of Security. 

Each security and safety challenge and underlying theme in this year are taught through plenary lectures and Course Labs. These Course Labs are connected to the subjects and aim to provide deeper understanding of the lectures in an interactive way.

You have exceptional freedom to tailor your studies to your goals in year three, enabling you to qualify for a specialised master’s programme, or to prepare for entering the labour market. You have the opportunity to study abroad or do an internship, or you can choose to deepen your knowledge and skills via a minor or elective from FGGA or another Leiden faculty; or you can take your minor at  another university in the Netherlands or abroad. You conclude the programme by writing an individual thesis.

Helena Reinders

Third year student

Helena Reinders

"Security Studies is a good combination of contemporary safety and security issues and their causations. Throughout the study I am learning that no security issue comes without cause and these causes can come in various forms. Sometimes a causation comes from politics, other times from historical and geographical elements. It makes the topics touched upon in the study very relevant and teaches us how to apply our knowledge to various issues, from natural disasters to civil wars and political conflicts. This is all strengthened by the international classroom and set-up of the study, that has helped me broaden my horizon."

Rosalie de Vries

Third year student

Rosalie de Vries

“What I think makes security studies so interesting, is that you can find security cases all around you! And new challenges arise everyday. If we consider the Covid-19 crisis that we encounter today, you can take a look at the questions that arise in politics, and are all over the news. Do we close our borders? How do we implement new measurements, and how do we communicate those to the population? What can we do to soften the financial problems of affected businesses? Security studies is a programme that prepares you to respond adequately to real-life situations, with academic knowledge, but also skills to put this into practice.”

Chiara Barbeschi


Chiara Barbeschi

"If modern global safety and security is a topic that intrigues you, then Security Studies is a bachelor programme that would suit you. What makes me enjoy this course is mostly the unique approach it takes; after learning about essential Security and safety concepts, the first year applies them to real-world situation through case studies. The case study on Syria was my favorite as it is an on-going issue.

The discussions in the Course Labs stimulated critical thinking and helped us reflect on the functioning of the world through modern security issues. This interdisciplinary course includes the following courses in second year; Cybersecurity, Vital Interests, War and Peace, Terrorism and Cyberterrorism, Economics of Security, that will help you find the security field that fits your interests."

Educational methods

As a Security Studies student, you can expect a full working week of about 40 hours. You will spend an average of 12 hours in-class and the rest of the time in independent study. You attend lectures focused upon a particular topic; the lectures are complemented by labs in which the material is discussed in greater depth and with more student input, for example in solo or group presentations.

Student support services

A tutor helps get you and other first-year students in your study on your path via Skills Labs, in which you practice academic and professional skills in a small group. You have support beyond your studies too, from the dean of students or student psychologist. And if you experience chronic illness, physical or psychological disabilities or dyslexia you can contact Fenestra Disability Centre for personal advice before or early in your application process.

Here is an overview of university study and student support.


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