Intelligence StudiesOrganization logo: Leiden University

About this minor

Since the Second World War, intelligence and security services have played an important role in policy and decision making, particularly with regards to a state’s national security. In this minor programme we study both the organisations, their working methods, their analysis techniques, as well as the political, bureaucratic, and social context of intelligence and security services.

What will you learn?

In this minor programme, you will learn about the structure, working methods, and the analysis techniques used by intelligence and security agencies in the Western world. Furthermore, the programme offers the choice to a specific focus on cyber intelligence, spy cases during the Cold War, intelligence failures, and the position and powers of intelligence services in the democratic legal order.

The minor offers classes from guest lecturers, who either worked or still work in the field of intelligence. Their expertise as (former) employees of the Dutch secret services, as scientific researchers, as business experts, or as other intelligence professionals provides students with a lot of practice examples.

Learning outcomes

This minor is called ‘Intelligence Studies’ and has the following learning objectives:

  • to gain insight in the functioning, processes and proceedings of intelligence and security agencies. The courses of the minor aim to offer a thorough look at both the internal processes as well at the external processes taking place at intelligence agencies. The programme takes into account that these processes occur within a political system and within the realm of international relations;
  • to learn and apply the skills and craft of intelligence studies, with emphasis on analytical skill training;
  • to learn how to think interdisciplinary and how to apply qualitative skills and methods;
  • to gain knowledge directed at specific elements of the intelligence discipline. The minor programme offers courses such as qualitative analysis techniques, the history of the intelligence organisations of the United States and the Soviet Union, intelligence failures, the relationship between the services and the government and Cyber security.

Required prior knowledge

This English minor programme hopes to attract students who have a keen interest in the work of intelligence and security services in general and the institutional, organisational, and operational aspects of their work in particular. Students interested in ethics, policy, and (international) politics are more than welcome too. Any foreknowledge of the issues discussed in the minor is not necessary, but students are expected to have affinity with security issues.

Good to know

  • This minor is a consistent package of courses designed to help you build your knowledge in a logical and connected way. It is not possible to follow single courses and the minor needs to be completed in one academic year.
  • However, it is possible for EUR students to choose a 15 EC semi-minor consisting of the two courses, Introduction Secret Affairs and Qualitative Analysis Techniques for Intelligence Studies.
  • For more information about the minor please use the below link.

Additional information

  • Theme
  • Credits
    ECTS 30
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Leiden University.


  • Start date

    4 september 2023

    • Ends
      2 februari 2024
    • Term *
      Minor semester 1
    • Location
      Den Haag
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      16 May, 13:00 - 15 Jul 2023
    Enrolment period closed
These offerings are valid for students of Erasmus University