World Politics (BA)

How are foreign policies made? What does the rise of China mean for international order? How is the nature of warfare changing? Are nation-states becoming irrelevant in a globalising world? What explains the rise of Islamism in the Middle East? These are some of the important questions explored by our students of the major World Politics.

Providing answers means engaging with some of the most pressing contemporary global issues, such as sovereignty, intervention, migration, culture, religion, peace, terrorism and much more. It also means understanding the roles played by the many different actors in world politics, from nation states and international organisations to individuals, NGO's, social movements and multinational corporations.

Issues of security and peace

World Politics is organised around the global challenge Peace & Justice, locating issues of security and peace within the broader context of international relations and transnational politics. The major will equip you with the knowledge and skills to understand the shape of political relations in a globalising world and their connection to peace and security.

You will become familiar with the most important theories, actors, institutions and issues in world politics at the global and regional levels. As a student of World Politics, you may find yourself:

  • exploring the historical development of the international state system or the evolution of norms governing warfare;

  • critically reflecting on key contemporary trends in world politics, such as humanitarian intervention, European integration or terrorism;

  • sharpening your research and analytical skills on pressing international problems such as nuclear proliferation or conflict resolution;

  • thinking creatively with others about possible responses to the rise of IS.

The Peace Palace in The Hague is home to a number of international judicial institutions

The Peace Palace in The Hague is home to a number of international judicial institutions

Programme structure

The World Politics major is organised into three tracks, each of which contains courses examining a different aspect of the global political order:

  1. International Relations and Diplomacy focuses on interstate relations and its dominant patterns: conflict and cooperation. This track will also introduce you to the most influential theories of international politics, including realism, liberalism and social constructivism.
  2. Transnational Politics draws primarily on History and Sociology to explore dimensions of world politics that fall outside of International Relations’ traditional focus on the state. This includes mass phenomena such as nationalism, religion and memory, as well as non-state and transnational actors.
  3. Peace and Conflict Studies examines issues of security and peace in more detail, drawing primarily on the interdisciplinary fields of Security Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies.

You can also follow courses centred on history, theory, ethics, issues, and regions. World Politics offers students the opportunity to develop an individual programme, tailored to their own interests, that creates opportunities for future study and work. Read more about the full study programme in the World Politics major’s e-prospectus.

Career in World Politics

World Politics offers a broad intellectual training that equips graduates for a wide range of roles in the public and private sectors. Courses are designed to foster transferable and career-relevant skills such as holistic and strategic thinking, problem-solving, data collection and analysis, effective communication, and teamwork. Graduates may go on to work as:

  • civil servants
  • policy advisors in non-governmental  and international organisations
  • diplomats
  • social and political researchers in think tanks and academia
  • public affairs consultants
  • teachers

As a graduate of World Politics you can access postgraduate programmes in:

  • Global Politics/World Politics
  • International studies
  • Political science
  • History
  • International relations

World Politics’ alumni have gone on to postgraduate study at for example Leiden University and the London School of Economics.

Other BA majors

Read more about the other Bachelors of Arts majors we offer at Leiden University College:



Last Modified: 08-09-2015