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Expertise in Practice: Advising on Dilemmas in Society

Problems in the world we live in come and go, and are a source of debate in society, business or politics as well as a topic for researchers who aim to better understand mechanisms in so many different areas. Effectively tackling these problems is a hard task for any party involved.

The connection between problems and issues in society and the scientific knowledge produced in order to better understand these issues, to address them and to find innovative solutions is not at all straightforward. Expertise often is underused or simply neglected. How can we understand why this happens, and how can a better match be established?

One of the foundations of universities is to develop knowledge and make this knowledge available to society. Knowledge development is about research in multiple areas, from social safety to environmental sustainability, and from food and public health to innovations in the services industry. In the Bachelor programme, and later the Master programme, students acquire up to date knowledge in their own field of study. But how to use this knowledge later in life, in a professional career? How to find new knowledge, how to use this when confronting issues in society and in the professional organization of employment? How to develop such an individual portfolio of expertise?

The general goal of this honours programme organized by Faculty Campus The Hague is to make you aware of the interaction between knowledge and society, the way in which problems and issues in business, in politics and policy making, and among citizens can be addressed with scientific knowledge. This programme takes you right into the relationship between science and society, between theory and practice, and looks at the ways in which the connection between the two may be strengthened. This orientation will be developed in large part within the Living Lab of Campus The Hague. After completing this programme, you will have a strong orientation on the dynamics in society and the way in which scientific knowledge may be used, and combined, to address old and new issues and themes that call for better understanding and more efficient solutions, now and in the future.


This honours programme offers a three year, 30 EC package. A combination of didactical principles is used to reach the aims of the programme: lectures, workshops, case study sessions, simulations, field trips, invited speakers and assignments. All activities serve to connect theory and practice. The Living Lab is used intensively for the interactive sessions ‘in house’.

For whom?

This honours track is open to all students who meet the Honours College requirements. In addition to excellent performance in the own BA we expect a strong motivation to make the most of yourself. You should have a broad interest and should feel comfortable doing this track in English.

This track is especially interesting to those students who would like to explore the relation between theory and practice, to acquire the tools to connect these and who like to work in an innovative and multidisciplinary setting.

Contact Coördinator

Sven Balfoort

First year

The first year (5 EC) aims at orientation on the topic: students make themselves familiar with the theoretical and practical aspects of formulating expert advice, the big questions in the field of study, and they carry out a case study and get a first taste of the instruments in the Living Lab. In this orientation module, students start developing a 360° perspective on issues in society and on ways to look at them.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Introduction: Society, Expertise and the Governance Lab 5

Second year

The second year (15 ECTS) aims for a further combination of orientation and specialization. Students develop an individual study plan with their coach, tailored to their personal interests and needs. In the second year two modules are offered:

  1. 10 EC module that runs the full academic year offers students a series of three or four cases in which a real world topic is confronted with different types of scientific research, and in which invited top-advisors from public and private organizations provide input. After a solid grounding in the academic literature available on the topic, students will interview and discuss with experts, concluding each case with a report. Topics for discussion will be as up-to-date as possible and will thus vary from year to year. This could include for example climate change and energy innovations, counter-terrorism, cultural policies, biotechnology, Europeanisation, urbanisation, or decentralisation of governance structures. Students are encouraged to bring their own ideas and suggestions for cases. Faculty Campus The Hague is home to a great variety of researchers, including the colleagues from Leiden University College, who can be involved in these cases.

  2. To further hone interdisciplinary thinking, students select an elective course from the Leiden University College curriculum or follow an Honours Class of their choice. The Talent Coach will help the students in this decision making process.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Orientation and specialization 10
Elective 5

Third year

The third year (10 ECTS) is a more practical year. Students are engaged in the “simulation and scenario lab”, offered by faculty of the Institute of Public Administration in cooperation with the Centre for Innovation, both at Faculty Campus The Hague. In different lab situations, students learn and experience practical applications and pitfalls in for example scenario development, forecasting, or the Delphi method for triangulating expert knowledge. In addition, students either follow a one-to-one internship with a top-professional or top-researcher, or partake in a group assignment in collaboration with a professional organization such as a government departmental unit, a consultancy company, or an NGO.

Faculty Campus The Hague organizes a range of lectures, debates and other activities, often in collaboration with the Municipality of The Hague and with centres for debate such as Prodemos (the House for Democracy and the Rule of Law), the Europe House, and the Montesquieu Institute. HC students will explicitly be invited to these events.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Simulation and scenario lab 10