Universiteit Leiden

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Social and Behavioural Sciences


The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences provides its ca. 5000 students with a thorough education in the social and behavioural sciences. The student population is very diverse and international in nature.

Teaching: degree programmes for the future

In the Bachelor’s degree phase, the Faculty ensures that students acquire a firm scientific grounding that prepares them for leading positions in a complex society. Students are trained in research and develop skills that equip them for their later career, whether in science or in society at large. The existing bachelor degree programmes are monodisciplinary in orientation and have a strong methodological basis.

The Faculty’s Graduate School offers 4 PhD programmes. PhD candidates have their own place within the Institutes and work on their own research under the supervision of senior researchers.

The degree progamme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology focuses on research into human beings’ learned behaviour. How do people’s cultural backgrounds influence their conduct? Anthropologists study differences and similarities between societies. Participant observation is an important part of this and is also what makes this field of study unique. Anthropologists participate for long periods in the daily life of the people they are researching. This intensive contact generates deeper insights. So students don’t just read the research literature; by taking part in fieldwork, they also learn to carry out anthropological research in practice.

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The degree programme in Education and Child Studies focuses on child-rearing and learning. In all times, cultures, and societies, children are reared and educated. In the course of their studies, students learn what causes certain behaviour and how the person concerned and his or her environment can deal with it. Students learn to carry out research using the methods their lecturers also apply in their own research projects.

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The degree programme in Political Science focuses on societal problems and how to solve them. In the course of their studies, students investigate how issues such as criminality, healthcare, economics, the environment, and multiculturalism find their way onto the political agenda. They also consider possible solutions to such problems. Which individuals, groups, or organizations get their way, and which don’t?  What norms and interests play a role, and how does it all work? In addition to studying the research literature, students are also encouraged to carry out empirical research to explore their research questions.

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The degree programme in Psychology focuses on human behaviour and how it is experienced. In the course of their studies, students learn to take a systematic approach to questions such as: how do conflicts arise between individuals? Is intelligence innate, or can people be trained to become more intelligent? What sorts of leadership are the most effective? Why do people get depressed, and what can we do about it? Psychologists try to answer these sorts of questions by carrying out empirical research.

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Active student body

The Faculty has a diverse student body and in recent years has undertaken initiatives to ensure that each and every student receives optimal support throughout his or her university career. The Student Services Centre and Career Services are there to support all students. Students who feel the need of extra help, perhaps because of their cultural or social background, can turn to the POPcorner. The courses on offer here include workshops to improve study skills and language skills. Students and staff provide and shape this support backup together.

Study associations

There are 4 study associations: Itiwana, Emile, SPIL, and Labyrint. These associations are run entirely by and for students. In this way, active members gain valuable experience in administration and committee work, which stands them in good stead in their later professional life. They organise study-related activities in the form of lectures, symposiums, and workshops, which are aimed to stimulate contacts between their members and relevant work fields. In addition, they organise leisure activities such as excursions, parties, and study trips abroad. Regular meetings of the Associations Committee, which includes representatives of the study associations and the assessor (the student member on the Faculty Board), ensure that the associations are aware of each other’s activities and can organise joint activities if they wish.

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