Leiden University: Interdisciplinary security studies and student experiences
Source: Leiden University

Identified as a Dutch institution that’s interconnected and international, Leiden University offers a student experience like no other for aspiring security experts.

If you’re looking to study 21st-century security challenges and wish to invest your time in devising strategic solutions to the threats of today’s world, Leiden University in The Hague is the ideal place to learn.

With a Bachelor of Security Studies (BSc) programme that merges critical thinking with a practical attitude, you’ll soon develop into a highly-employable security specialist with an unstoppable drive to succeed.

To better understand the international student experience at Leiden, Study International spoke to current students and lecturers to find out what life is really like at the Faculty of Governance & Global Affairs.

Why should you link your security studies to Leiden?

“A story rarely has one side and this security programme at Leiden highly encourages you to examine all the sides of a story in depth,” says BSc student, Ryan van Osch. “Due to its interdisciplinary nature and international character, you gain new perspectives on global issues.”

Source: Leiden University

Equipping you with the tools and theories needed to thrive as a balanced security expert with an abundance of knowledge, Leiden University guides you with leading academics, valuable internship opportunities and career-enhancing techniques.

For current BSc Security Studies student Lucia Höfer, it was the multidimensional modules that made the programme at Leiden her first choice, “The programme’s interdisciplinary perspective on safety and security issues makes it stand out as more versatile and interesting compared to similar bachelor’s programmes that focus only on the political or legal aspect of the topic.”

Martijn Bergmann, BSc Security Studies student, also highlights the importance of interdisciplinary learning in his interpretation of Leiden.

Since the programme is perfectly aligned with his passions and ambitions, he believes it will lead to jobs at a strategic level within the government, think tanks and institutions like the UN, police, military and intelligence services, or even as a consultant.

“The thing that makes [this programme] stand out is that you will be able to look at issues with an interdisciplinary lens,” he says. “This means that you do not just use one scientific field like economics to study something, but you will also use different fields of study like psychology or even computer science.

“Plus, I joined a Model United Nations group at Leiden, through which I have developed my public speaking, lobbying and negotiating skills for the future,” Bergmann adds.

What’s the meaning behind the Explore, Understand, Do (EUD) theory?

The Bachelor of Security Studies (BSc) at Leiden encourages you to explore crucial events, stakeholders and the cultural and historical context of real-life safety and security cases, allowing you to understand relevant theoretical lenses and apply them to specific cases, and to use your knowledge to design solutions for security and safety challenges.

Source: Leiden University

So, how does the course project these EUD notions throughout its syllabus?

According to Bachelor of Security Studies lecturer, Basak Kalkavan, “We use various case studies in our Skills Labs to give our students the tools necessary for proper identification and assessment of safety and security incidents, as well as to design strategic solutions.

“In the Explore phase, students collect information of a given case and explore the cultural, geographical and historical context in which the incident took place. During the understanding phase, students identify relevant disciplines to analyse and unravel complex challenges.”

As Kalkavan adds, “Finally, in the ‘Do-ing’ phase, students gather their findings and apply the appropriate methods from the selected disciplines in order to answer their research question and to further develop strategies to address these challenges.”

By straying away from rigid teaching formats, Leiden gives learners the space and time needed to flourish professionally and personally. Instead of simply lecturing, the university expects students to transfer their theories into practice, preparing them for real-world working environments.

Life after Leiden

After graduating from the Bachelor of Security Studies (BSc) programme, it’s likely you’ll be wondering what roles will be open to you.

In Willem Verdaasdonk’s opinion, there are countless opportunities to exploit.

As the experienced Senior Security Studies lecturer explains, “While we train our students to become academics, we also realise that most will not pursue a career in academia and prepare them for a career outside of it. Therefore, some of the soft skills we teach [are] basic presentation skills, large and small group work, debate and discussions, bringing in knowledge from the private and public sector, as well as practice-oriented tasks and assignments.”

Source: Leiden University

By preparing you for a wide range of careers, Leiden ensures your options are abundant.

So, why should you study this course at Leiden University?

For Verdaasdonk, the answer is simple, “Besides The Hague (where the course is located) being the city of peace and justice, we have awesome and motivated teaching staff, all with different fields of expertise ranging from cyber security to terrorism and engineering, all of whom want to share their knowledge with students at one of the few universities in the world that teaches this programme.”

If you’re ready to experience the Security Studies student life, check out the website of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, download a free and informative brochure, attend a student for a day event, or the upcoming Experience Day for BSc Security Studies on Wednesday 13 February or 30 March!

You can also watch the webinar of 12 December 2018.

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