Universiteit Leiden

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Global Political Economy (MA)

About the programme

Global Political Economy, a specialisation of the master in International Relations, provides you with a rigorous understanding of the global political economy and the different approaches to its study.

Programme structure

All specialisations (except European Union Studies) follow the same format:

Semester 1 Semester 2
Core course for your specialisation (10 EC) Regionalism in World Politics (5 EC)
Preparatory course for your thesis (5 EC) Elective (10 EC)
Humanities-based International Relations (5 EC) Thesis (15 EC)
Elective (10 EC)  


When it comes to picking a topic for your thesis, you have great freedom in what you want to write about. We have many thesis supervisors who have different expertise.

MA Thesis preparatory course

The preparatory course introduces you to core conceptual, methodological and theoretical issues you meet when you initiate, research, and write your MA thesis. In addition, a series of seminars will enable you to discuss specific issues related to International Relations. 


You have the opportunity to replace one elective with an internship or to pursue an internship as an extracurricular activity. Both options usually imply a study extension because you would delay graduation by one semester. Yet this possibility is valued and used by many of our students.

This experience is highly valued within international organisations. In the past years International Relations students have done internships at a huge variety of organisations, including:

  • Security Policy Department (DVB) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dutch Ministry of Defense
  • NGOs, for example Gender Concerns International or NGO’s focused on humanitarian aid
  • Think tanks, such as the Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’, the International Centre for Counterterrorism and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies around the world
  • European institutions - examples include Estonian presidency of the European Union, internships for members of the European Parliament
  • Media outlets such as Een Vandaag in Hilversum
  • Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations


You may choose electives (20 EC total) from a wide range of specialist courses. For examples, please see below or check the online study guide

Detailed programme

Course EC
Core Course Global Political Economy 10
Ideas in World Politics 5
Thesis and Methods in International Relations and Research (GPE) 5
Regionalism in World Politics 5
MA Thesis Global Political Economy 15
Core Course Global Political Economy 10
Ideas in World Politics 5
Thesis and Methods in International Relations and Research (GPE) 5
Course EC
China's International Political Economy 10
Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia 10
Global Labour Studies 10
Informality, Exclusion and (Adverse) Inclusion: Foundations and Key Concepts 10
Oil, Waste and Water: Environmental Issues in the Middle East and North Africa 10
The Middle East in the International Political Economy 10
A History of the United Nations 10
Brazil in the Portuguese Speaking World: Political and Cultural Dynamics 10
Decentering International Relations: Views from the Global South 10
Histories of Southeast Asia (10 EC) 10
Human Rights and Global Governance: History, Theory, and Politics 10
International Relations in the Slavic Triangle: Russia, Ukraine and Belarus 10
International Relations of the Middle East 10
Modern United States Foreign Policy 10
Rethinking Secularism in International Relations 10
Internship MA International Relations 10
China-Africa Relations in a Changing Global Order 10
Global Social Policy: The Political Economy of Social Reproduction 10
Jean Monnet Module. From Multi- to Interdisciplinarity: Europe in the World 10
Neoliberalism in Latin America: Varieties, Similarities and Alternatives 10
Political Economy of Southeast Asia (10 EC) 10
The Environment and Global Capitalism 10
China and Global Cyberspace 10
Contemporary Brazil 10
Contemporary Indian Politics 10
Creativity and Culture in Contemporary China 10
International Relations of the Middle East: Everyday Matters 10
Issues in Latin American Foreign Policies 10
Politics of Culture in Southeast Asia (10 EC) 10
Political History of the Middle East in the 20th Century 10

For a detailed programme, 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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