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International Studies

Globalisation is shaping the world we live in. In this programme, you will have the opportunity to study one of eight world regions within the context of global challenges and changes. You will gain the ability to place regional developments in a global perspective, through studying four main disciplines: culture, history, politics and economics.

At the same time, you will learn a key language of your chosen world region and acquire skills that will prove to be highly valuable for your future career. The regions and languages you can choose are:

  • Africa: Arabic, Berber, French, Portuguese, Swahili
  • East Asia: Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese
  • Europe: Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Latin America: Portuguese, Spanish
  • Middle East: Arabic, Berber, Modern Hebrew*, Persian*, Turkish*
  • North America: French, Spanish
  • Russia and Eurasia: Russian
  • South Asia and Southeast Asia: Hindi, Indonesian

A broad introductory semester opens the programme, familiarising you with theories and methodologies of the four disciplines and helping you to make an informed choice for your region of specialisation. From the second semester onwards you will develop your knowledge of the area of your choice and begin to learn a new language. The intersection of core disciplines, area study and foreign language training thoroughly prepares you to broaden your vision on the effects of globalisation on your chosen region.

Wilder Marsh

Wilder Marsh
Second-year student

'I thought that the first semester of the first year was an easy transition into university life. It was nice to have some interdisciplinary courses to get settled in, and then in the second semester we chose our region – which is already a bit more complicated, but also more fun! I study Africa, and I could not be more excited about my choice. ‘Africa’ entails the entire continent, which is very culturally and linguistically diverse of course! Because of this, they give us a lot of opportunities to research what we find most interesting ourselves.'

Curriculum: International Studies

International Studies 2023 vs 1

Why study International Studies in
The Hague?

  • A unique combination of area studies placed in The Hague, home of international organisations.
  • An English-taught programme in an international environment with over
  • 50 nationalities.
  • Learn one of the major languages of the region in which you specialise.
  • Combine theoretical knowledge with practical experience in working with organisations and businesses.

Teaching methods

The tutorials are one of the most important components of the BA International Studies. In small groups of 12 to 15 participants, students put into practice what they learn in the lectures, under the guidance of a group of young international tutorial lecturers. Tutorials are interactive, lively and dynamic!


In the first semester of your third year you can choose either to study abroad, take a minor, follow selected courses, or complete an internship. Leiden University has partnerships with over 600 universities abroad. This gives you the option to study almost anywhere in the world.

Hands-on experience

This programme offers a rewarding combination of theory and practice. In your third year, we offer you a unique opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired to a set of practical challenges. In this year, you will take the exciting 12-week consultancy course Practising International Studies (PRINS). In a team with fellow students you will work on finding solutions to real-life issues put forward by leading organisations, such as Unilever, UNESCO, UN Women, Starbucks, Philips, the European Space Agency and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Your future career

The majority of graduates choose to do a master’s programme directly after their bachelor’s. About ten percent of graduates starts a job directly after their graduation and about one-third decides to take a gap year. International Studies grants access to a large variety of master’s programmes ranging from international relations, history, development studies, and area studies, to management and business studies.

Our alumni can be found all over the world holding various positions. For example, as a policy adviser at an NGO in Brazil, a business analyst at a bank in Spain or a junior consultant at a firm in Canada. Other examples include positions at UNICEF, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the European Parliament.

International studies Right on page

Location: The Hague


year programme, 180 ECTS


English-taught programme established




largest lecture size


maximum tutorial size