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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

Annette Righolt

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
Governing science, society and expertise 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 3 course are offered:

1.The course Lectures & Journalism (3EC) runs for the duration of the academic year 2014 – 2015. The course has two connected parts: a series of lectures from different disciplines and organizations and a writing clinic. The general aim of this course is to stimulate you to expand your knowledge in a wide range of subjects, follow your curiosity and develop a constructive and critical attitude as well as enhance your writing skills.

2.The course “Attacking global issues on an European level” (7EC)

3.To further hone interdisciplinary thinking, students select an elective course (5EC) from the Leiden University College curriculum or follow an Honours Class (5EC) of their choice. The Talent Coach will help the students in this decision making process.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Attacking global issues on a European level 7
Lectures & Journalism 3
Elective 5

Third year

The third year is a more practical year. Students are engaged in the “simulation and scenario lab” (5EC), offered by faculty of the Institute of Public Administration in cooperation with other institutes. 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.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Scenario Lab: the art and science of scenario thinking - towards antifragility? 5
Internship 5