Universiteit Leiden

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Governance of Violence (MSc)

Programme structure

This one-year, English-taught Master's programme offers insights on general developments as well as the specific challenges in the field of the governance of crisis and security, with in-depth knowledge of sub-fields of crisis and security management.

Programme outline

The CSM programme consists of three common courses of 5 or 4 ECTS each. Additionally, you take part in four specialisation courses of 10 ECTS each and one elective of 5 ECTS. The final 1 ECTS can be obtained in the Portfolio course. 

First semester

Security Challenges in a Globalizing World (4 ECTS)

In this course, students get acquainted with the underlying social, economic, political and cultural changes of late-modernity that influence perceptions of (in)security and critically discuss the concept of ontological security. This course addresses transformations in society that produce ontological insecurity, like globalisation and hybrid threats. Further, the course will look into the renewed search for ontological security, as manifested in populism, identity politics, re-territorialisation, nationalism and nostalgia.

Security: Actors, Institutions and Constellations (5 ECTS)

The provision of security has increased in complexity over time. The public provision of security is divided amongst several public entities, the pure public provision of security is deemed an illusion, and citizens demand a role in this framework as well. The very concepts of internal and external security become fluid as well, not in the least because of the growing importance of cyber security. Lastly, this multi-actor approach plays in a multilevel setting. In this course, students discuss the different theories on how security can be provided in the most effective way, and what repercussions this has for the organisational structure of security actors.

The Anatomy of Violence (10 ECTS)

This course focuses on definitions of violence and the anatomy of violence: who offends, who becomes the victim, and in what context? The course explores historical and geographical differences in violence globally. Students will become acquainted with the key psychological, sociological and criminological perspectives used in studying violence, and key prevention and intervention measures. By zooming in on specific subtypes of violence, students will gain an advanced understanding of the societal dynamics of violence, and ways in which we can curb such violence.

Facilitators of Violence (10 ECTS)

This course will focus on the potential facilitators of violence, including firearms, drugs, mental health and others. In a series of lectures, we explore the effects of such facilitators on different types of violent outcomes, including homicide, non-lethal assaults, and shootings. Theoretical perspectives introduced during the lectures will be complemented with case studies and, where relevant, guest lectures from other academic experts and practitioners.

Second semester

Security and the Rule of Law (5 ECTS)

Democracies today continue to wrestle with shifting and rapidly evolving threats stemming from conflicts, state coercion, and a variety of security concerns. Differently from other political systems, societies upholding the rule of law require policy and legal responses to respect balances and protect civil, social and human rights. Hence, how can states ensure safety while respecting a democratic legal framework? What kind of powers and responsibilities characterise democratic security governance? The aim of this course is to bring together different theoretical and methodological approaches in order to address these questions. Specifically, the seminars are designed around seven dilemmas related to security and the rule of law addressing both national and international politics.

Elective (5 ECTS)

In Block 4, students are required to pick one elective of 5 ECTS. Find the overview of the electives offered in 2023-2024 here

Violent Societies (10 ECTS)

By studying patterns of violence, and attitudes and norms around violence we learn something about a society. This course considers how perspectives on violence vary across cultures. The course will touch on questions such as: How and why do norms around violence vary across societies? What forms of violence are people willing to tolerant and why? Are attitudes and norms around violence static or fluctuating? These questions are central to various intervention and prevention mechanisms of violence. 

Proximity of Violence (10 ECTS)

In this course, students will look at relational proximity between victims and offenders of violence. Specifically, the course focuses on the nature, extent, and aftermath of intimate partner, domestic and other interpersonal violence in national and global contexts as well as the implications and governance strategies for practice and policy. The course looks at relational proximity through an interdisciplinary lens where different perspectives in theory from psychology, anthropology, public health, and criminology, research and practice are brought together to understand this complex phenomenon. 

Portfolio (1 ECTS)

You will acquire substantive knowledge and (research) skills throughout the CSM-programme, especially in the specialisation courses where assignments are tailored towards testing specific research skills: literature review, data collection, analysis of complex situations and phenomena, and critical review of standing research.

In your portfolio, you include assignments produced during the specialisation courses and common courses, showing the (research) skills and competencies acquired.
The portfolio also functions as a showcase for future employers: you can not only show to employers skills obtained, but also the research papers they produced. The portfolio therefore is also part of the labour market preparation in the CSM-programme. 

Additionally, the portfolio has to be accompanied by a reflection paper and problem analysis assignment. In the specialisation courses and common courses you have to produce short interim reflection papers, that serve as the basis for the final reflection paper.
In the final reflection paper, you reflect on your learning pathway in terms of (research skills) and general insight in Crisis and Security Management as developed during the programme. That way, you show your competency of self-directed learning and the ability to critically reflect on their competencies and achievement as a (future) reflective, academically trained security professional.

A defense meeting in which the portfolio, reflection paper and problem analysis assignment will be presented and discussed, is part of this course and function as the formal final step in order to graduate.

Programme structure

Please note: As of 2025 we will only offer a limited February intake: only the specialisation Governance of Violence will be open for registration in February 2025. If you would like to follow one of the other specialisations please consider applying for the September 2024 or the September 2025 intake.

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