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Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to students of the Honours College. There are a few places available for regular students.


According to whistleblower Edward Snowden, everything you post on Facebook is read by the CIA. Banks are attacked by hackers and governments, too, are haunted by embarrassing security breaches in their ICT systems. Cybersecurity, therefore, has become a key theme in our highly digitised economies and societies. But what is cybersecurity? Whose responsibility is it, in terms of governance? And how can companies and governments cooperate to ensure the safety and protection of their systems, while respecting the rights and liberties of their citizens?

These themes will be addressed in the Honours Class ‘Cybersecurity. Legal, philosophical and technical dimensions.’ Together with other students from Leiden University and TU Delft you will learn about the complexities of cybersecurity through a series of lectures that each shed light on a different dimension of this multidisciplinary domain. Moreover, throughout the course you will work on a group assignment, which is woven into the entire course program, in which you will answer the following question: ‘How can we take measures to prevent a specific type of cybersecurity breach from happening again?’ To complete the class your group hands in a paper and a short video, in which you explain a policy proposal, based on the insights you gained during the four classes about cybersecurity.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have a basic understanding of the complexity of cybersecurity issues and the reasons for this complexity;

  • have a basic understanding of various disciplinary views on cybersecurity issues, including law, philosophy, computer science and public administration;

  • be able to disentangle a complex cybersecurity problem into different disciplinary questions, and, after analysis, integrate these disciplinary views into a multidisciplinary lense in order to increase the depth of understanding of issues in cybersecurity;

  • be able to present findings using such a multidisciplinary lense in a concise and clear way to various types of audiences.


The sessions will be held on the following dates. The first sessions starts at 9 a.m. and lasts till 5 p.m. All other sessios are from 1 p.m. till 5 p.m.:

1 June 2017 [starting time 9 a.m.!]
8 June 2017
15 June 2017
22 June 2017
29 June 2017


Faculty Governance and Global Affairs, The Hague

1 June 2017 Wijnhaven room 219
8 June 2017 Wijnhaven room 219
15 June 2017 Wijnhaven room 219
22 June 2017 Wijnhaven room 219
29 June 2017 Wijnhaven room 318


  1. Introduction into cybersecurity (dr. B. van den Berg)
    Lecture introducing the topic of cybersecurity, explaining definitions, discussing relevant scientific disciplines that contribute to this field

  2. Introduction tools for regulation (dr. B. van den Berg)
    Lecture introducing regulatory issues in relation to cybersecurity: can cybersecurity issues be addressed using regulation (law, norms, architecture, economic incentives etc), and if so, how?

  3. Technical aspects of cybersecurity (Prof.dr. J. van den Berg)
    Lecture on the technical and socio-technical of understanding, and responding to, cybersecurity issues. Discussion on acceptable risk levels and risk mitigation.

  4. Philosophical aspects of cybersecurity (dr. W. Pieters)
    Lecture on the philosophical foundations of risk. What is risk, how can it be conceptualized and what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so? How does this impact cybersecurity risks and their assessment?

  5. Economic aspects of cybersecurity (Prof.dr. M. van Eeten)
    Lecture on the economic aspects of cybersecurity and the role of incentives, e.g. in relation to cybercrime.

Aside from the lectures there are 5 workshops of 2 hours each in which students will work on the group project (developing a policy proposal) with which they will complete this course. These workshops are tutored by M. van Leeuwen, MSc.

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures: 5 lectures of 2 hours

  • Workshops: 5 workshops of 2 hours

  • Literature reading & practical work: 8 hours p/week

  • Assignments & final essay: 60 hours

Assessment method

  • 10% Participation assessed continually through participation in seminar and structured activities

  • 60% A scientific paper in which you explain your policy proposal

  • 30% A short video in which you explain your policy proposal

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

Required literature will be available on Blackboard.


Enrolling in this course is possible from Monday November 7th until Sunday November 20th through the Honours Academy, via this link


Dr. Bibi van den Berg