The courses regularly taught in the Bachelor’s programme are described in this section, though other courses may be offered on an occasional basis. Each course is are worth 6 ECTS.
The courses are listed by subject area, which is also indicated by the first three letters of the course code. Courses are offered at three levels. Courses at the 100 level are introductory and can be taken by all students. They are often taken in the first year. Courses at the 200 and 300 levels are more advanced and often cannot be taken without first having passed an introductory course in the subject. Some of these upper-level courses may even require successful completion of a 200-level course. Any such prerequisites are indicated at the end of the course description. Exemptions from prerequisites may be granted by the course instructor and must be notified in writing to the Head of Academic Administration.
Courses at partner institutions
The Vesalius curriculum includes courses that are offered by partner institutions, such as the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Boston University and the Royal Music Conservatory. While these courses are, in principle, also open to study abroad students, it needs to be taken into account that they do not always follow the same academic calendar as that of Vesalius College. This may require a certain degree of flexibility on the part of student with respect to their travel arrangements. The study abroad department will deal with such requests on a case-by-case basis. Information on the available courses will be distributed before the pre-registration period each semester. Students taking courses at partner institutions must follow their rules concerning schedules, examinations, and other academic matters.
ART 101G – Art in Belgium
Based around three case studies of art in Belgium (or the equivalent cultural area before Belgium’s independence in 1830), the course provides an introduction to art and culture in Belgium from the 15th to the 20th century, by using a number of analytical tools in art appreciation, art historiography, the collecting and display of art, including some business and legal aspects. The course provides an historical and intellectual framework for the other courses on the topic. It helps students to contextualise the rich and diversified aspects of Belgian culture, as well as its quirky ones.
ART 301G – Art in Europe
A course focusing on European history and culture, which includes field trips to different European cities (Antwerp, Bruges, Tournai and Brussels for Belgium; Amsterdam for the Netherlands; Paris for France). In this course students study the historical, cultural and economic aspects of the above mentioned cities and countries. Special emphasis is placed on the history of art and architecture. All costs for the trips are to be paid by the participants as an additional fee collected at registration; see section on tuition and fees.
BUS 101G – Introduction to Global Business
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of business studies. It provides insight into the internal organization of companies as well as the legal, economic, political and social environment in which businesses operate. Businesses compete for ideas, customers, employees and capital. Entrepreneurs and managers make choices on how to create and capture value through innovation, differentiation of products and services, and how they utilize resources and organize activities. Furthermore, students will be introduced to the tools to understand business decisions. Students will learn how to make educated business decisions that take market forces, technologies, government and society into consideration. The course provides knowledge on how the different divisions of a firm, such as finance, marketing, operations, human resources and innovation contribute to realizing the objectives of globally operating businesses. Students will also deepen their analytical and research skills related to business studies with exercises complementing the HUM101 course.
BUS 102G – The Belgian Brewery Industry in a Global Context: Business, Economics, Culture and Innovation
Belgium is not only home to the world’s biggest brewers, but has in recent years also seen a rise of innovative micro-breweries and diversification of the beer market with potentially far-reaching implications for the business and economics of the brewery industry inside and outside the country. In November 2016, UNESCO even added ‘Belgian Beer Culture’ to the World Heritage List, highlighting the cultural importance and impact of the Belgian beer industry beyond pure business and economics. This course focuses on key principles and changes in the economics, marketing, production and innovation of the Belgian Brewery Industry in a Global Context. Taking the Belgian beer industry as a multi-faceted case study for studying core Business processes and developments in the field of the national and international beer market (including production, strategy, marketing and product innovation), this course also explores the impact of geography, culture and globalization on Belgian beer businesses and their business strategies. The course includes company visits, guest lecture series and experiential learning and provides unique insights into the major shifts and changes of major the economics and business processes related to the brewery industry. In cooperation with key experts, this summer course will also include the possibility of learning the nuts and bolts of the beer brewing process itself.
BUS131G – International Marketing
This course analyzes the role of marketing in a globalized world with a focus on a variety of approach- es used in creating customer satisfaction. The course emphasizes the importance of understanding customer needs and translating them into a (perceived) superior value, quality and service for the target market. Students will learn how to compose an effective marketing program by discussing and examining real world examples provided in case studies, films/videos, articles, class discussions and a group assignment. Students will be introduced to basic marketing theories and approaches. Students will discuss and elaborate on marketing strategies and learn how to apply them. Students will have the opportunity to apply their skills and to work on a real project. They will define the marketing strategy for a contemporary event or product.
BUS 142G – Financial Accounting
The core of this course deals with the main concepts in financial accounting and how these concept are interconnected with managerial accounting. It is centered around the study of accounting cycles of service and manufacturing industries. Students will learn how financial statements are prepared and how to analyse them, i.e. the underlying business transactions that are reported. The course covers a broad range of topics in the valuation and reporting of assets, liabilities and equity. In the second part of the course students will understand managerial accounting concepts. The emphasis is put on analysis of cost behaviour, budgeting concepts, standard cost systems and variance analysis, as well as the use of accounting information to make decisions.
BUS 162G – Introduction to Entrepreneurship
This course introduces students to the theory of entrepreneurship and its practical implementation. It focuses on different stages related to the entrepreneurial process, including business model innovation, monetization, small business management as well as strategies that improve performance of new business ventures. Centered around a mixture of theoretical exploration as well as case studies of real-world examples and guest lectures, students will develop an understanding of successes, opportunities and risks of entrepreneurship. Students will also develop skills in written business communication and oral presentations that allow students to integrate entrepreneurship concepts and interact with business experts. This course has an interdisciplinary approach and is therefore open to students from other Majors.
BUS 2110G – International Business Management
This course provides insights on tools and practices that help to identify and interpret international business opportunities. Students will analyse international management- and investment strategies.
This course provides insights on tools and practices that help to identify and interpret international business opportunities. Students will analyse international management- and investment strategies and learn how to identify and evaluate challenges and opportunities of the international business
This course draws upon international business theory and practice for understanding the international business context. It aims to provide students with practical tools and theoretical knowledge related to international trade and the exploration of practical issues faced by business managers in international business situations. Students will study international business at (i) the nation-state level and (ii) at the level of the company. Understanding international business management from the nation-state perspective, students will analyze the role of international monetary institutions as well as political and economic factor that influence foreign direct investments. At the company level, this course provides insight into factors that influence internationalization, entry strategies into foreign markets such as exporting, licensing, joint-ventures and tools to manage and evaluate risks and changes of international operations.
This course has an interdisciplinary approach by providing insights on how the international political environment affects business decisions such as internationalizing or global production. International affairs and communication students are very welcome to join this course.
Pre-requisites: BUS 101G
BUS 2111G – Global Leadership
students with insight into the nature and scope of global leadership as well as its successes, limitations and failures. Students will examine the core traits, behaviors, and values of what makes managers effective leaders. The course will focus on the human side of leadership and management in a global context, exploring how successful leaders have built effective organizations and companies through essential competences, relationships, visions and interaction within and across businesses. The course will also assess the importance of cross-cultural and intercultural leadership as well as sensitivity towards a variety of social, ethical and diversity issues.
BUS 2112G – Management of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
This course provides students with insight on key aspects and challenges of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Students will gain knowledge of systems and techniques to manage and strategically position SMEs in the national and international context. This course will emphasize the opportunities and challenges of internationalization strategies of SMEs. Students will learn about tools for assessing foreign markets and strategic evaluation models specific to SMEs. It will introduce the strategic evaluation tools for different entry-mode options in domestic and foreign markets. It will assess the importance of competitive positioning of SMEs in an international context.
Students will examine the key characteristics of SMEs and understand the challenges and the unique position of SMEs in contrast to larger organizations. A main part of this course is dedicated to strategic management models and theories specific to SMEs. Furthermore, this course will focus on the unique- ness of the managerial process, control and accountability issues of SMEs. This course has an inter- disciplinary approach. While mainly open to business students, input and expertise from international affairs and communication major will enrich the course.
Pre-requisites BUS 101G
BUS 216G – Strategic Management
This course focuses on business strategies that entrepreneurs and management develop to secure resources and develop capabilities needed to gain or sustain competitive advantages in traditional and emerging markets. Developing such competitive advantage is at the core of strategic management. This course thus focuses on strategy formulation, implementation and performance, and deals with the identification and analysis of external opportunities as well as constraints faced by companies.
This course focuses on value creation through strategic management and decision making based on financial information. The main functions of the corporation are investigated by means of theory and case-studies, products and services, research and development; manufacturing, logistics, marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
Prerequisite: BUS 101G, BUS 142G
BUS 217 – Business in China
The course addresses the economic and political aspects of business and investments in China. China’s ‘red capitalism’ is distinctly different from Western democratic economies. Students will explore the strengths and weakness of China’s market economy and the Chinese characteristics shaping it, e.g. the state’s investment projects such as the ‘One Belt – One Road’ initiative and the risks and opportunities for Western companies investing in the Chinese market.
Students are invited to discuss and elaborate in detail China’s specific investment environment. To that end, this course will cover both the theories underpinning business in China and a number of practical tools to analyse and evaluate economic and political aspects of business in China.
BUS 221G – Corporate Finance
This course focuses on establishing the operating and technical foundation for financial decision-making in firms. Many of the fundamental concepts and tools that will be introduced apply equally well one’s own personal financial management. Students will learn about: the structure of the firm and financial markets, the notion of time impact on money, the trade-off between risk and return, the approach to balance investments with capital funding, the impact of firm’s financial policy on leverage and shareholders’ return, the management of the funds needed for operations, the advantage of utilizing financial tools, Mergers & Acquisitions and the implications of corporate finance in a global context.
BUS 222G – Corporate Financial Management
This course focuses on corporate finance from the managerial point of view. Students will engage in vivid discussions about the key considerations behind fundamental choices CFOs face. Students will also gain insight on the company’s financial decision-making processes and learn how to make educated financial decisions. Corporate financial management involves the process through which the corporation creates value through its capital allocation decisions. Using a blend of quantitative tools and analyses, managers forecast financial needs and opportunities, assess the value of these opportu- nities, and implement a strategy for achieving the company’s financial goals. Major corporate finance decisions include capital budgeting decisions, valuation analysis, financing decisions, risk management, and dividend policy. Students will learn how to analyze how a company functions by looking into the yearly reports disclosed by companies. They will gain knowledge on how to apply the most important ratios (e.g. leverage/ return on investment) and will be able to analyze the company results.
Pre-requisites: BUS 101G, BUS 142G, MTH 140G
BUS 224G – Political and Financial Risk Analysis
The contemporary forces of increased globalisation create a peculiar global political and financial environment, giving rise to a new, interdisciplinary field of enquiry: Political and Financial risk analysis.
Globalized markets create many risks and opportunities for companies seeking international business. This course teaches students how to examine, analyse and evaluate the portfolio of risks that a com- pany is facing in an international environment. Students will be familiarized with the main tools, prac- tises and theories needed to assess a broad spectrum of potential risks. In the first part of the course students will focus on different types of financial risks and principles of diversification such as hedging. In the second part of this course political aspects will be taken into consideration when analysing financial risks.
In the era of globalisation, companies must consider new political dynamics when investing in less predictable institutional environments, such as economies in transition or markets affected by different political and economic systems as well as different factors of instability. In addition, companies have to consider other risks on the international playing field. The students will gain insights on risk assessment in international economic relations such as exchange rate regimes, monetary policy and economic financial integration as well as elaborate on political factors that impact investments.
Pre-requisites BUS 101G, MTH 140G or STA 101
BUS233G – Social Marketing
Social marketing is the systematic application of marketing, along with other concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioural goals for a social good. Social marketing can be applied to promote merit goods, or to make a society avoid demerit goods and thus to promote society’s well-being as a whole. <i>Given annually in the fall semester.
BUS243G – Management Control Systems
The purpose of this course is to give the participants skills to identify, analyze and construct proposals for solving a company’s internal control problems. Thus, they are able to explain, apply and evaluate tools within management control systems, respectively Performance management in different areas of the company. In order to be able to manage individuals and entities by using financial as well as, non-financial performance indicators, design incentive systems and performance objectives in relation to this, and the interaction with other control tools and factors such as values, employee motivation, empowerment, procedures and policies.
BUS251G – Business Information Systems
This course teaches and applies theories that help students to understand information systems. First students will be introduced to basic concepts such as logic gates and the representation of data in binary form and concepts of computers that include central processing units, internal and external memory, input/output buses. In the second part of this course students will learn about communications protocols, computer networks, operating systems, middleware, applications software and file formats.
Furthermore, the usage of information systems in organisations will be discussed. On a practical level, students will learn to use spreadsheets and relational database servers.
Prerequisites: BUS 101G
BUS 253G – Big Data: Technological, Business and Societal Implications
This course examines, analyses and evaluates the evolution, impact and future direction of ‘big data’ (i.e., extremely large volume of data sets that can be used for discovering patterns of use for business, technological and societal solutions) in relation to global business and the development of new services, products and innovations. The course explores the different ways to which companies can take advantage of big data and focuses on core aspects, such as volume, velocity, variety and variability as well as complexity. Students will also assess both the risks and opportunities associated with the generation and use of big data and will explore impacts both on societal, economic and technological processes and issues. The course will also touch on issues related to big data and technology, including the ‘robotics revolution’ and advances in Artificial Intelligence. This course is interdisciplinary in nature and open to students from other Majors.
BUS254G – Digitalization and Business Transformation
This course provides a systematic introduction to the development of Information Technology over the last 25 years, including a review of the most important players in this market today. This introduction is followed by an analysis of key aspects of today’s age of Digitalization, including building blocks like Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Big Data Analysis, and Artificial Intelligence. Primary focus will be the effect of digitalization on the processes within enterprises and organisations. Interdependencies with the overall economy as well as with individual behavior (social networks) will also form part of the syllabus.
BUS 262 – Social Entrepreneurship
This course focuses on the growing phenomenon of ‘Social Entrepreneurship’, defined as developing business ideas and companies that drive social change through innovative and profitable solutions. As such, social entrepreneurship combines tools, techniques and visions related to entrepreneurship and business innovation on the one hand with practical, market-driven solutions for fundamental social challenges, problems and concerns on the other hand. The course will provide an in-depth analysis of the history, evolution and major features of successful social entrepreneurship initiatives and will explore innovative approaches towards generating ‘shared value’ between companies and societies. Although this course is aimed primarily at Business Students, it is deliberately interdisciplinary in nature and open to students from other majors.
BUS 312G – Mergers and Acquisitions
This course provides students with the full spectrum of the Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) process with a special focus on international M&As. It covers the main types of M&A (including leveraged buy-outs; management buy-outs; friendly and hostile mergers and acquisitions), and related transactions (including divestments; de-mergers; privatizations; alliances, partnerships and joint-ventures). In this course students will learn and apply tools to evaluate whether a merger or acquisition contributes to the overall goal of the company. Transactions are studied from all angles. The topics covered include: motives; search for potential acquisition targets, acquirers and partners; the role of advisers; bid tactics; legal and regulatory issues; valuation; financing; accounting and tax issues; organisational and human resource aspects; integration; successes and failures. One major challenge of an M&A is a smooth integration. Students will reflect on the challenges of integration and learn about tools to make the integration successful.
Pre-requisites: BUS 101G, BUS222G
BUS 314G – Project Management
This course provides a systematic and thorough introduction to all aspects of project management. Projects are an increasingly important aspect of modern business. Therefore, the course underlines the importance of understanding the relation between projects and the strategic goals of the organisation. The course also discusses the technical, cultural, and interpersonal skills necessary to successfully manage projects from start to finish. It emphasises that project management is a professional discipline with its own tools, body of knowledge, and skills. Concepts are reinforced by case studies covering a wide variety of project types and industries.
Pre-requisites: BUS101G, BUS222G
BUS 315G – Women and Leadership: A Global Context
This course examines key leadership concepts, in general, and women in particular. The course is not set up to teach you how to be a leader, but it will operate with the assumption that if you know how successful women and men have navigated power and authority, applied core competencies, and have secured a work-life balance, you will be better able to frame your own academic endeavors and professional development.
The course will explore leadership theory in a global context by examining leadership for a global audience and understanding leadership approaches addressing diverse populations.
There is still much work to be done to rectify the gender imbalance and these are exciting times to make a difference in this regard. In fact, strong leadership in our global environment is one of the most valued skills you can have. This is one of the goals of the course—to make you aware of the value of strong leadership in knowledge-based societies. This course should be of interest to students in business, communication, international relations, international law, and other fields of studies.
BUS 316G – Business models and Leadership in times of Transition – de Kemmeter
The world, our society and economy are changing fast. Technological advances and heigthened collective consciousness can provide a unique opportunity to address current challenges. Business, diplomacy and politics all play a significant role in ensuring that today’s possibilities are translated in feasible and progressive answers to world-spanning issues. The challenge is on the levels of individual people’s alignment, on the level of the company strategy, and on the level of territorial development. Which are the transition scenarios in order to come up with sustainable solutions knowing that we are currently at a crossroads? There are some need-to-know cornerstones for a sustainable transition. The students will integrate them and apply them to a live project. This course will drive you to develop your opinion and critical decision-making skills, based on scientific knowledge.
Prerequisites: BUS101G, BUS162G, HUM101G
BUS 321G – Financial Markets and Investments
The course aims to familiarize students with the theoretical and practical workings and concepts of financial markets, with a specific focus on investments. It will provide students with simple, but powerful tools to assess financial management decisions. These tools can be used to make personal financial decisions, but will also prepare students for a career in the financial or investment industry. Concepts of risk/return rate, efficient markets, portfolio allocation, asset pricing are discussed in great detail. Topics, such as the 2008 financial crisis and the advantages of international diversification will also be discussed.
Prerequisites BUS 101G, BUS 142G
BUS 325G – International Finance
The course aims at providing a solid understanding of international finance within a complex capital markets context. It emphasizes the managerial perspective of finance for a multinational corporation (MNC). Based on macroeconomic and institutional foundations, advanced techniques and instruments for managing the foreign exchange exposure and risk of MNCs are developed. The course further ad- dresses international banking and money markets.
Students will be prepared to, and provided with the skills required for, international investment man- agement, cross-border acquisitions, international capital budgeting, and multinational cash manage- ment and trade financing.
Pre-requisites: BUS 101G, BUS 222G
BUS 353G – e-Business
This course deals with the characteristics of e-Commerce in various target markets, how products and services are bought and sold via the Internet and other electronic systems. It starts with building a basic understanding of the infrastructure that is the internet, and the World Wide Web as the aggregation of content made available via the internet. We will discuss the various features that make e-business (and mobile e-Commerce or m-Commerce) stand out from traditional businesses, as well as the related security, privacy, and other legal, ethical, and social issues. Students will learn some basics about what it takes to develop a mobile web application or ”app”.
Pre-requisites: BUS101G, ECN101G and BUS251G
BUS 363G – Global Sustainability and Society
This course introduces the academic approach of Global Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation, resource limitations, and corporate social responsibility. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics, policy, and ethics. This subject is of vital importance, seeking to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of a reliant sustainable future. As sustainability is a cross-disciplinary field of study, the course will evaluate business, political, and legal issues facing communities, business, and organizations.
Prerequisites: BUS101G, HUM101G
BUS364G – Scenario Thinking
In this interdisciplinary course, students will use scenario thinking to help digest and understand the many dynamic forces impacting upon global business. Business executives need to have a good feel for the macro-environmental context of their business, at a variety of levels- local, national, regional and global. For instance, despite half a century of trade liberalisation and the acceleration of globalising processes since the early 1990s, recent years have witnessed the re-emergence of popularism in politics, rapid increases in migration, creeping protectionism, world free trade zones in difficulty and crisis management in climate change. Such complex change makes global business environments highly uncertain. Hence, organisational decision-making and strategic actions can not exist in a vacuum; they are situated in this complex and dynamic turbulence. The programme will help students to get a grasp of this complexity by tracing its underlying forces out into the deep future and imagining what stories those futures might tell. Students will use a powerful process to build such future ‘scenarios’ and undertake detailed primary research to populate them. This is a workshop-type course where students, working in groups, have to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and undercover gems of knowledge that they never knew existed. It is intellectual, challenging, thought provoking, fun and hugely rewarding. Due to the interdisciplinary approach students from all majors are welcome. This course is offered in an intensive module format.
Prerequisites: BUS101G, MTH140G or STA101G
BUS 393G – Capstone: Entrepreneurship
The capstone course is the final integrative and summative course that provides an opportunity for students to integrate and apply all their knowledge acquired throughout their 3-year Business Studies curriculum to advancing their own idea and plan for setting up a viable new business. The Capstone in Business Studies runs across two semesters with Part I laying the foundations and Part II serving as space for developing and finalizing the business plan with the help of a ‘Business Incubator’ framework.
The course challenges students to develop a marketable idea, and lay down the most important parts of a business plan. The key element is to give a real-world exercise to students, which requires them to apply knowledge acquired in the fields of entrepreneurship, economics, marketing, finance and accounting, strategic management and related fields
Pre-requisites: BUS101G, BUS 222G, BUS 264G
BUS 395G – BA Thesis in Business Studies – Seminar I (Advanced Research Methods)
The advanced research methods seminar (Seminar I) for the BA Thesis in Business Studies, requires students to formulate and devise their research question for their BA Thesis topic as well as to choose and apply advanced research methods specific to the field of Business Studies in order to tackle and investigate their major research topic. In this seminar, students will acquire knowledge and skills of advanced research methods and will complete their preparatory work for conducting major research on their BA topic which will serve as a foundation for finalizing their thesis writing in BA Thesis Seminar
Pre-requirements: Students must have taken all Core courses before taking this course.
BUS 396G – BA Thesis in Business Studies – Seminar II (Senior Seminar)
After completing the BA Thesis Seminar I, students are required to complete writing their BA thesis, applying advanced research methods acquired in BA Thesis Seminar I. Under the guidance of their thesis supervisor, students finalise the writing process and present intermediary results in senior seminars and roundtables. The final oral defence/presentation of the thesis’ results will take place in the context of the College’s public ‘undergraduate research day’. Pre-requisite: BA Thesis Seminar I.
CMM 101G – Human Communication
The course will allow students to become familiar with a fundamental strand of communication science; namely Human Communication with a goal to prepare them to gradually become more effective communicators by studying and comprehending the preliminaries to language as well as verbal and non-verbal communication in a variety of cultural settings. The course also aims to provide students with the tools needed to craft and master informative presentations as well as defend persuasive speeches and/or presentations. As a result of the various lectures and in-class discussions as well as the book reports and research, students will gain a greater capacity to analyze and understand specific Human Communication related issues and topics such as Peace Communication, Identity Management, Gender-based communication, Interpersonal communication and Leadership and Communication.
The course also acquaints students with some of the major Human Communication theoretical traditions by focusing on such models as the semiotic, the sociocultural and the rhetorical tradition.
Finally, the students will learn the techniques needed to become proficient at the art and craft of in-depth interviewing.
CMM 102G – Media & Society
This course provides an overview of theories to describe and explain media communication. The course examines several perspectives on media and how they are translated into contemporary research efforts. Specifically, the course deals with the communication field from the perspectives of content and language, media and society, audiences and effects, and media organisations. Students will be encouraged to participate in discussions where key theories will be analysed and possible applications discussed.
CMM 106G – Intercultural Communication
The course introduces students to the phenomenon of culture in the broad sense of the term and applies it to a social, business as well as a media-driven context.
Major theoretical issues and cultural criteria/dimensions are studied and highlighted to illustrate the challenges of dealing with cultures and identities in all of their complexity. A number of theoretical models are presented and analysed (such as the communication theory of identity and the bicultural identity integration theory). Throughout the semester, students will learn how best to approach and deal with intercultural issues and challenges, as well as how to best increase the likelihood of such issues being successfully dealt with or resolved.
By the end of the course, students will be tasked with writing, defending and presenting a comprehensive Intercultural Report which is meant to cover all the material, models and issues raised in class throughout the entire semester. It is also expected that as a result of the course, students’ level of cultural intelligence and awareness will have increased significantly.
CMM 132G – Writing across Media
This course introduces students to the various kinds of writing they will encounter in the field of mass media and communication. The activities include different writing projects, such as blogging, news and feature stories, press releases, short scripts, public service announcements, reviews, and corporate pitches. In addition, there will be discussions on emerging media themes, including the ethical and legal implications of publishing online and aggregating content in a 24/7 environment, the impact of social media, and the importance of web analytics. The students will build an online portfolio of their work using a content management system.
CMM 211G – Persuasive Communication – Rhetoric
CMM 211G offers an introduction to rhetoric defined as an act of persuasive communication. The course is divided in two parts. The first part will focus on the history and theory of rhetoric. The second part will focus on practice: first students will learn how to apply rhetorical analysis to contemporary persuasive communication instances (verbal and visual) and finally they will create their own (oral and written) pieces of rhetoric.
Typical classes involve analysis of relevant materials (written texts, videoclips, podcasts, pictures), group discussions, oral presentations and a field trip/guest lecture.
The paramount aim of the course is to teach students how to detect and analyse rhetoric in all its contemporary forms (ranging from political speeches to commercial advertisements) and how to use it effectively because “whoever does not study rhetoric will be a victim of it” as an ancient Greek encryption on the wall states.
CMM 214G, Gamification in Politics, Business and Communications: An Interdisciplinary Approach
The course on Gamification aims at introducing students to the uses of game design elements (such as online games or apps) in non-game contexts. Gamification is a broad concept, which has been increasingly applied to different sectors and areas, ranging from political communications, the non-profit sector (“gamification for advocacy”), the business sector, and even the public sector. The rise of gamification as an important tool and strategy raises fundamental questions about the opportunities, challenges and the risks of the increased use of websites, online games and apps for major sectors of society.
This interdisciplinary course aims to: (1) introducing and comparing scholarly analyses of gamification across a variety of fields (politics, public governance, advocacy, marketing); (2) illustrating relevant case-studies and best practices of gamified strategies from business organizations/non-profits/media outlets/political parties/governments; (3) pinpointing common patterns in the development of gam- ification strategies from various actors; (4) highlighting the benefits for participation and democracy arising from the increased use of gamification strategies; (5) Discussing the issues of gamification and the problems arising from its increased use.
Typical class will involve case analysis, group problem solving, analysis of relevant materials (movies, podcasts, pictures) and debate.
CMM 221G – Global Communication
The course introduces the historical context of the field of global communication and examines different approaches to global communication from the modernization and cultural imperialism theories to cultural studies and critical political economy perspectives. The course also examines the theories and problems related to the international function of the news media, the entertainment industry and the telecommunications sector. Students also gain a clear understanding of the creation of the global media marketplace and how international communication evolves in the Internet age. Furthermore, the course discusses the international governance structures related to media, news, telecommunications and the Internet. With the help of a comprehensive textbook, seminal texts and videos, the course addresses the main political, economic, social and cultural themes intersecting the debate around the emerging global communication system.
CMM 232G – Video Production
The course aims to give students an introduction to the production of videos (planning, filming and editing) from a theoretical and practical perspective. The course will be designed to be as useful as possible for their professional careers given that the ability to produce/edit video material (e.g. for social media) is becoming increasingly important in many areas of the workplace.
The theoretical aspects will include analysing the elements of a good video and looking at the communications’ aspects of video production.
The course will cover interviewing skills (from the research phase to the execution of the interview and the selection of what material is used) for the production of a short video, camera presentation skills, script writing skills, writing a video concept and filming for a video and producing that final video.
CMM233G – Photojournalism
This class is an introduction to photojournalism, with a focus on developing core skills and learning photography theory in order to produce effective photographic news stories. The course consists of both classroom sessions and classes held off campus, on location in Brussels. Students will learn practical skills, such as how cameras and lenses work, image composition and the rule of thirds, lighting conditions and techniques, and theory including the decisive moment and the human perception of truth in photography. The photographic assignments will fall into several categories including food, nature, architecture and tourism.
CMM 242G – Corporate Communication and Public Relations
The course provides an analysis of the practice of corporate communication and public relations. It studies how major companies provide information on their activities, defend their issues and manage their identity and reputation and build or manage their brand image. Particular attention is drawn to the science and art of effective communication with various stakeholders, including the general public, media, shareholders and employees. Students will gain a better understanding of how corporate communication tools and PR instruments can be used to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders. A number of major crisis management situations will be explored and their response analysed for effectiveness. Special emphasis will be placed on the strategies companies need to adopt in order to communicate effectively with the media and improve their media relations.
CMM 244G – Media Organisations and Economics
The course aims to analyse the different industry structures and operations related to mass media (including print, broadcast media, sound recordings, motion pictures, social media and media chains) from a historical perspective while emphasising its economic underpinnings. The course aims to explain the key drivers to the functioning of the media industry. It provides a comprehensive macro-view of the increasingly globalised and interconnected communication markets. The course will also focus on how the most recent technological trends have significantly impacted on the media economy. Finally, the course also examines how the economy of media affects the social fabric and discourse, media policy making, and raises such fundamental issues as competition law, copyright issues, and subsidies in media services.
CMM 251G – Political Communication
This course examines the triangle that exists between politics, the media and the public. Political communication examines the relationships that exist between these three actors that are central to contemporary democracies: to communicate with the public, political elites need to pass through the media gates, as most people get their political information through the media. Yet, politicians seem to have a hate/love affair with journalists, as both actors are trying to gain the upper hand. Media themselves are constantly in flux, and the public’s use of media is shifting dramatically in response to the rise of online technologies. Finally, governments increasingly rely on communication to bolster support abroad – for example the US government’s public diplomacy efforts in the Middle East.
This course offers a broad overview of the field of political communication and public diplomacy. We discuss and apply theories regarding 1) the impact of political communication on voters (e.g. priming, agenda setting), 2) the changing relationship between media and politics (e.g. journalistic role perceptions), and 3) role of public diplomacy and PR. In the final weeks of the course, we discuss a number of specialization topics on recent trends in political communication, such as populism and personalization.
CMM 252G – Lobbying in the EU
Lobbying is an integral part of the EU decision making process. Set at the launch of a new political mandate for the EU Institutions, and in the context of wider problems of EU legitimacy, heightened by Brexit, this course will describe the participatory model of EU policy making based around agents of participation. Indeed, actors representing State and non-governmental interests engage with European Commission decision makers and members of the European Council and of the European Parliament on a daily basis. Lobbying is therefore perceived as a legitimate tool of pluralist bargaining in which interest representatives are perceived as a source of data and practical expertise, informing and improving policy development.
This course will explore the EU’s revamped institutional set up, and the application of the Better Regulation package as well as the formal decision-making processes, from legal sources, through the consultation stage and parliamentary debate to final adoption. It will address major trends in the culture of EU interest representation such as the need for “transparency” and the use of coalition and alliance building.
Finally, from a practical perspective, the course will deal directly with lobbying techniques ranging from the legal drafting of amendments to the use of social media and civil society supported activities and events. Students will be encouraged to debate, use role play and hone their negotiation skills on self-researched hot topics.
CMM 253G – Global Advocacy
This course introduces students to the complex and fascinating interplay between globalisation and advocacy. By taking into account the impact globalization has had throughout the world, students of this course are introduced to the analysis of successful and unsuccessful advocacy efforts. The course investigates a wide array of cases, for example civil society’s attempts to influence international organisations (e.g. the United Nation, the World Bank), or supranational regulators (e.g. European Union) and national governments. This course discusses key theories underlying the practice of advocacy, but also trains students to apply these theories through the study of key cases.
CMM 254G – Branding Politics: Political Marketing in the 21st Century
Political marketing consultants and spin doctors often operate in the shadows of political campaigns, but this course puts them front and center. The course has three goals. First, it introduces students to key concepts and theories underlying contemporary political marketing. In doing so, it links to more general approaches from political communication. Second, it seeks to develop students’ communicative skills in a campaign context by having students develop their own political marketing plan for a party or candidate of their choosing. Third, it addresses the normative and ethical implications of political marketing on politics, and democracy more broadly.
CMM 261G – World Cinema: History, Theory and Narration
The course prepares students to gradually become familiar with fundamental film theories, genres and schools (including auteur theory, neo-realism and Dogma) as well as the process involved in adapting a literary source into a film.
The course expands students’ cinematic vocabulary by allowing them to become familiar with the fundamental constitutive elements of film (editing, photography, acting and mise en scène) as well as gain an appreciation of film structure and narrative forms in mainstream productions. The course focuses on the constitutive elements of narration as applied to feature films and explains how to master basic visual techniques. A series of practical assignments will give students the opportunity to become more familiar with the technical aspects required to translate ideas on paper into a credible audio visual production. They will also learn how to effectively tell a story with a view to pitching the idea to decision-makers and producers. The course will also provide opportunities for students to discover and appreciate the art and craft of film-making as it developed over the decades in various key markets. The students will be actively involved in producing a 5 to 8 minute short film.
CMM262G – European Cinema: Present, Past and Future Trends
This course reveals Europe at its edgiest. It is impossible to understand European culture without experiencing its cinema. Groundbreaking and thought-provoking films from Europe pioneered genre-filmmaking (drama, fantasy, comedy, epic, horror, thriller, cult, documentary and animation), and defined aesthetic concepts such as ‘realism’, and ‘surrealism’ that have become key inspirations for cultural production around the world. This course contains thirteen in-class sessions. Each session departs from a recent development (a genre, a style, a politics, …), and uses a contemporary or (post)modernist film to trace its origins and tentacles into the past, thereby uncovering the intrinsic inter-connections between all of Europe’s filmmaking traditions.
The course will use hands-on examples from films, productions, screenplays, video and digital aesthetics, museums, screenings, and on-site visits to illustrate what it means to ‘make a movie’ in Europe. Each session showcases key filmmakers (like Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, Werner Herzog, Lars von Trier, Claire Denis, Michael Haneke, Danny Boyle, Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, or young female filmmakers like Fien Troch and Céline Sciamma) and interrogate their inspirations by linking them to social and cultural contexts of their times, to offer a broad overview of European film art, with the intent to unlock the core of the ‘European Imagination’.
CMM 263G – Transmedia Scriptwriting
The course aims to introduce students to how various narrative forms as well as brands are currently increasingly conceptualized and produced across multiple media platforms. It will assess the major cultural, social and political changes that have occurred as a result of increased media convergence. The course analyses how this major technically-driven cultural shift is impacting and fundamentally transforming audience participation, interaction and consumption of mediatised content.
Via a series of workshops and exercises, the course provides students with the practical opportunity to conceptualize, create and finally produce a major transmedia narrative project in the form of either a docu-drama or a multimedia driven presentation, thus giving them the opportunity to become familiar with the tools needed to master the art and craft of writing for a number of traditional and new media formats in a cohesive and organic fashion (from radio to the web). They will also be asked to ensure that in the process they create and manage the type of interactive space that will generate major and sustained audience participation.
A significant portion of the course will be devoted to analysing and discussing the findings of some of the major theorists in the field, notably Henry Jenkins, Max Giovagnoli and Nuno Bernardo.
CMM 323G – Communication Audiences and Effects
This course introduces students to the impact of various types of communications on the public. As this is a widely researched topic, the course covers a wide array of theories, including uses and gratification approaches, cultivation theory, the elaboration likelihood model (ELM), spiral of silence, knowledge-gap, agenda setting, priming, and framing theories. In addition to understanding these theories, students learn to apply these theories to specific situations, evaluating real world events through the lens of these theories. Finally, students are expected to be able to take a critical position regarding the normative implications of communications’ effects on the public.
CMM 324G – Communication Effects across Cultures
In CMM324G we will focus on applying theory of communication effects to different cultures using mostly humanities perspective. However, the course will challenge the assumption that Western theories of human communication and mass communication have universal applicability. To fully grasp the influence of culture on interpersonal, mediated, and mass communication, we will study human and mediated communication concepts first. Then we will turn to the concepts related to culture. Only then will we be ready to understand the interrelations between communication and culture and their effects in the Western and non-Western world, including Asian, African, and Latin American contexts.
Apart from theory, the course will focus on practice: students will learn how to analyse real-life communication instances using theoretical concepts studied in class. Furthermore, students will write a research paper on a chosen topic as well as they will prepare a group presentation dedicated to another topic of their choice.
Typical classes involve analysis of relevant materials (written texts, videoclips, podcasts, pictures), group discussions, oral presentations and two guest lectures.
The paramount aim of the course is to teach students how to see communication from a global, open-minded perspective.
CMM 331G – International Journalism
This course focuses on understanding foreign correspondents’ and international news’ role in society. The course analyzes the direction, flow and pattern of foreign correspondents’ coverage, as well as the impact of new technologies on the quantity, frequency and speed of international news reporting. It also addresses the political, social and economic consequences of international journalism and the challenges related to it. The course takes an international approach, contrasting differences in journalistic cultures and approaches. Moreover, it discusses the impact of global trends on journalistic practices. Finally, the main challenges of communicating from abroad are candidly discussed with several guest speakers.
CMM 341G – Marketing Communication and Advertising
The course surveys the theoretical models of marketing communication with a particular emphasis on a coherent and fully integrated approach to communication. Students are involved in the design and implementation of various strategic communication schemes for different publics while focusing on the advertising, publicity and promotional strands that are part of a comprehensive media-driven marketing campaign. The global nature of advertising and marketing is duly considered, thus allowing students to fully incorporate a series of important cultural factors. They also gain an understanding of why and how these factors need to be taken into consideration when selling a product, a service or a media/ cultural production such as a film. The course also focuses on the conceptualisation and creation of public service announcements as well as hospitality industry related campaigns (tourism, hotel industry) that are then focus group tested.
CMM 352G – Communication Ethics and Law
This course introduces students to communication ethics and law. The course content covers key values and principles underlying communication law, and the basics of communication law, including an analysis of various legal frameworks on freedom of expression, privacy and confidential information, libel and defamation, racial hatred and blasphemy, copyright, and right of reply. Rather than entering into the specificity of one country’s legislation, students will receive a global comparative view on the subject matter. Communication ethics are heavily emphasized in the course, as the basis on which communication law and policy are developed. The course will discuss relevant policy developments and legal cases in order to better understand how the principles are worked out in practice.
CMM 353G – Comparative Media Systems
This course introduces students to the main theoretical and methodological approaches underpinning comparative research on media systems. In the first part of the course, we take a deep dive into Hallin and Mancini’s comparative media systems model for the Western world, and some of the academic responses it has elicited since its publication in 2004. In the second part of the course, we explore how this media systems model holds up by studying cases inside and outside the Western world. Attention is paid to the role that global and digital communication transformations play on media systems. Through this course, students will be familiarized with comparative communication research and gain an in-depth understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of comparing media systems.
CMM 372G – Advanced Qualitative Communication Research Methods
The course introduces students to the major research methods used in communication research. The course tackles qualitative methods (qualitative interviewing and qualitative content analysis) as well as quantitative methods (quantitative content analysis, experiments, and survey research). The course first introduces students to various applications of these methods in communication research, by covering studies from various subfields of communications, such as political communication, journalism studies, marketing, corporate communications, and health communication. Students also learn which methods are fit to study different research questions, and must then apply communication research methods to a research question of their choosing.
CMM 391G – Capstone in Communication Studies
The course provides students with an opportunity to work on an extended communication project while advising a ‘client’. The client sets the main task for the students, in order for them to apply their acquired skills to a complex and ‘real-life’ problem related to Communication Science. As such, the Capstone is designed to contribute to preparing students for the job market and support their transition from academia to the professional world. Furthermore, by calling for sophisticated understanding of theoretical issues as well as an appreciation of ways to construct empirical policy solutions, it also prepares students for independent policy writing. Clients of recent years include the European Commission, Euronews and Education International.
CMM 395G – BA Thesis in Communication – Seminar I (Advanced Research Methods)
In BA Thesis I, students write an extended thesis proposal (ETP) that comprises an introduction, conceptual model and research design. To help guide students in developing their ETP, the course starts with several plenary lectures that discuss the key elements of the ETP (e.g. introduction, conceptual model), various academic skills (e.g. a short recap on referencing and finding relevant literature, how to situate the RQ in the broader literature), and methods. After the first few weeks, the course then shifts to more individual meetings with the course instructor to discuss students’ progress on the ETP.
CMM 396G – BA Thesis in Communication Studies – Seminar II (Senior Seminar)
In BA Thesis II, students complete their thesis, based on the extended thesis proposal from BA Thesis I. The course consists almost entirely of individual meetings with the course instructor. In the first weeks of the course, students revise their ETP based on the final feedback given in BA Thesis I. Then, they set about collecting the necessary data for their thesis. In the second half of the course, the focus shifts to data analysis and the reporting of the key findings.
Pre-requisite: BA Thesis Seminar I
ECN 101G – Introduction to Economics
The course illustrates the way in which economists view the world. You will learn about basic tools of micro- and macroeconomic analysis and, by applying them, you will understand the behaviour of households, firms and government. Problems include: trade and specialisation; the operation of markets; industrial structure and economic welfare; the determination of aggregate output and price level; fiscal and monetary policy and foreign exchange rates.
ECN 201G – Intermediate Macroeconomics
This intermediate-level course examines the determination of income, employment, the price level, interest rates and exchange rates in the economy. Piece-by-piece, we construct a model that describes how each of these variables is determined in the long- and short-run. We investigate issues of long-run growth, business cycles, international trade, and monetary and fiscal policy. We pay special attention to current developments, with an international and European perspective throughout.
Pre-requisite: ECN 101G
ECN 202G – The European Economy
This course is intended for those students interested in the main aspects of the European economy considered from a theoretical, empirical and a policy perspective. The course focuses on the recent political and academic debates on the different economic issues pertaining to the European integration.
It firstly considers the most relevant historical events leading to the establishment of the European Union and the Euro area. Secondly, a short overview of the different European institutions is provided. Next, monetary and fiscal integration are explored followed by a focus on the financial and economic
crises. The course, then, studies in detail the structure of the European economy in terms of trade and labour market, internal production and external trade.
Pre-requisite: ECN 101G
ECN 211G – Intermediate Microeconomics
Provides a rigorous intermediate-level treatment of microeconomic theory with applications to business and public policy. Topics include the mathematical foundations of economic theory; the theory of individual economic behaviour; the theory of the firm and economic organisation; perfect competition, general equilibrium, and economics of information; corporate behaviour and strategy under imperfect competition; capital theory; labour markets; welfare economics and public choice.
Pre-requisites: ECN 101G, MTH 140G
ECN 241G – The International Banking System
The course provides an overview of the international banking system, including such topics as: the role of the banks in the financial system, regulatory and policy aspects, services offered by banks, analysis of bank performance, macroeconomic perspectives in banking, and comparison of the banking structures and environments in Europe, the USA, Latin America, Japan and emerging/developing countries.
Pre-requisites: ECN 101G, BUS 142G
ECN301G – Environmental and Ecological Economics
The course provides an overview of issues regarding the environment and sustainability from an economics perspective. It will make use of microeconomic and statistical analysis applied to real-world examples. The course introduces basic analytical concepts and relevant economic theory to address topics such as the environment as a public good, externalities, market failures, government intervention, environmental regulation, eco-innovation and sustainable development. Moreover, various tools of economic policy analysis are used to assess environmental policies such as the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the Paris Agreement.
Pre-requisite: ECN101G and HUM101G
ECN 302G – International Trade
This course analyses the interdependence that arises from international trade in goods and services. We cover the following topics: the gains from trade, the pattern of trade, the impact of protection, international factor movements, and trade policy. The course further in-depth studies the institutions dealing with, and regulating trade policy.
Prerequisite: ECN 101G
ECN322 – Economic Growth and Development
This course gives an overview of issues related to economic growth and development. It will look into the definition of growth, the different growth theories and explanations of differences in standard of living and economic growth across nations. The course furthermore will examine the evidence of economic growth and the underlying factors, looking at highly developed countries as well as developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Amongst the topics addressed in the course are the concepts of convergence or divergence, the role of institutions, education, population growth, natural resources, and technology. But also more recent criticism of growth will be looked at, studying the relevance and impact of inequality, openness, climate and culture.
HIS 101G – Global History since 1945
This course introduces students to the key developments, processes and major events in global history
from 1945 to the present. The course not only focuses on conflict and cooperation among the majorWestern powers, but also places the development of modern International Relations into the global context of socio-economic and political developments in Eurasia, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. The course serves as a foundation for further region-based and thematic in-depth history courses at the 200 and 300 levels.
HIS 203G – International Relations between the Wars
The primary objective of the course is to examine and review the Interwar period in the history of the twentieth century. The lectures will cover international and domestic events in between the outbreak of the Great War and the aftermath of the Second World War, such as: the collapse of the European Empires and the rise of the United States; the Versailles Treaty and the creation of the League of Nations; the Bolshevik revolution, Communism and the creation of the Soviet Union; the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism in Germany. Apart from deciding the shape of the international system and the world order until today, these events have also had an overwhelming impact on the appearance of the study of International Relations (IR) as an academic discipline. In this respect, the secondary objective of the course is to reflect on the implications of the Interwar period for the study of IR. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach and is suitable for all students who have a strong interest in the history and international relations of the twentieth century.
Pre-requisite: HIS 101G
HIS 261G – Regional History of international relations: Africa
This course surveys major historical developments that underpin the contemporary politics of Africa. Among the issues discussed are: European colonialism, westernisation, the slave trade and contemporary challenges linked to decolonisation processes and independence movements, state- building, peace-building and the roles of gender, race and ethnicity. Students are expected to broaden their understanding of Africa and how its history is interlinked with global politics, economic and environmental developments.
Pre-requisite: HIS 101G
HIS 262G – Regional History of international relations: Asia
This course introduces students to the history of modern Asia, developments within and between the regional states, and the impact that they have on global politics. The course is composed of lectures and seminars during which students analyse texts and engage with guiding questions developed for each week’s readings. The course analyses historical developments through the prism of contemporary politics and assesses how historical paths, domestic political institutions, and extra-regional actors such as the United States have shaped the history of modern Asia.
Pre-requisite: HIS 101G
HIS401M – History and theory of Grand Strategy
Strategy is neither simple nor easy. A good strategy requires a number of skills and competences. A professional needs to understand that formulating, articulating, evaluating or executing strategy is not easy. A theory of strategy is not the simple application of a checklist or a recipe that can be applied time after time. Especially in periods of great turmoil and change, the development of strategy becomes rather difficult. This course will help students to get a better understanding of the what, how and why of strategy in a fast changing world, based on the study of a number of great strategists and their approaches.
HIS421M – History of Global Conflicts and Global Security
This compulsory thematic course of the Security Studies Track (Trimester III) is an interdisciplinary perspective on the causes, course, outcomes and resolution of major modern conflicts – focusing on those since 1945. Students will apply historical and IR methods and theories to understand and analyze the major conflicts and their effects on regional and global security. A guiding question to answer throughout the module is “why have the 20th and early 21st centuries been so conflict-ridden, despite efforts by governments to establish international organizations and mechanisms to preserve peace?” To answer this question, one must take into account the empirical studies and theoretical approaches forming the basis of international conflict and security studies. Given its outsized impact on the post-1945 international security environment, the role of the United States in international peace and security will be examined closely.
HUM 101G – Introduction to Academic Writing & Critical Thinking
This course introduces students to the main conventions and requirements of academic writing and to basic elements of research processes. Students learn how to formulate a research question, how to analyse and critique the methodologies of previous studies and compose a literature review. Students improve their critical thinking skills by engaging with research language and thereby hone their academic writing. Students learn how to select, question and analyse studies and how to use academic research in their own writing. In addition, critical thinking exercises refine students’ ability to distinguish valid from invalid arguments and will teach students key critical analysis skills. The course also engages with core debates important in understanding contemporary processes in the fields of Business, Communications, International Affairs and Law.
HUM 103G – Global Ethics
This course introduces students to the major theoretical and applied debates in the field of global ethics as well as to its major moral puzzles and challenges. Drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives and thematic issues in the fields of Business, Communications, International Affairs and Law, the course will challenge students to reflect on major ethical theories and traditions as well as core problems such as corporate governance, media ethics, global distributive justice, the ethics of making and sustaining peace and the legal dimensions of ethics. By combining the works of both classical and contemporary philosophers with contemporary applied global issues, students will be able to critically reflect on fundamental normative questions from an interdisciplinary perspective and reflect on the rights, responsibilities and challenges of ‘good global citizenship’.
HUM 203 – Global Ethics, Leadership and Personal Development (GELPD) I
The Global Ethics, Leadership and Personal Development track (GELPD) provides VeCo students with unique mentoring and individualized training on ethical issues, leadership perspectives and in-depth coaching on students’ core competences, skills and attitudes, as outlined by international education frameworks (such as the Dublin descriptors). Students meet regularly with professors, academic advisors, external coaches and mentors to work on the development of their skills (such as presentation skills, team work competences, critical self-reflection), attitudes, life-long learning abilities, as well as their leadership skills in various scenarios. Building on HUM 103G (Global Ethics), students are also deepening their knowledge and reflection on major ethical issues from a global perspective and are encouraged to engage in the local community in Brussels through pro bono and charity work.
Pre-requisite: HUM 103G
INT 381G – Internship
Working in a sponsoring firm or organisation, students undertake a 150-hour, semester- long project on a theme or topic related to their major. It requires students to work on- site at least 10 hours per week, keep a daily activity log and write a project report.
Pre-requisites: Students in their second semester of second year or first semester of third year, good academic standing and approval by the Internship Committee.
INT482M – Intensive Internship
The 9 ECTS MA internship consists of a 300-hour (9 ECTS) position at a partner institution of the College within the framework of the Vesalius College Internship Programme (organized and coordinated by the College’s Study Abroad and Internship Department). It provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable professional experience in a truly international environment that can help students orient their career choices after graduation and build relationships with professionals and organizations.
The internship is unpaid. The standard 300 hours internship is evaluated with a letter grade and is worth one academic course or 9 ECTS. While each internship experience is distinctive based on the nature and scope of the organization itself, the academic internship advisor takes care of the overall quality, the level of the internship, ensuring that the level corresponds with that of an academic postgraduate level course.
LAW 101G – Introduction to International and European Law
This course introduces students to both general international law and EU law. The first part deals with an introduction to general international law. The major fields of international law are explained: sources of law, fundamental rights and duties of states, human rights, international organisations, international legal regimes governing particular subjects (the atmosphere, Antarctica, the high seas). The second part deals with EU law. It explains the sources and the hierarchy of EU law, the principles governing the powers and the division of power in the EU as well as between the EU and its member states. The course also addresses issues linked to democratic governance and human rights, the EU institutions, and the internal market.
LAW 102G – Introduction to Legal Principles and Theories
The course covers the basic legal concepts, issues and themes that are common to the world’s major legal systems. Students will become familiar with the legal principles and theories that they will encounter throughout the entire Law programme at Vesalius. Topics include legal history, nature and components of law, relationship between morality and law, natural law and legal positivism, hierarchy of legal sources, role of legislators and courts, the process of legal analysis (including judicial opinions, facts, legal issues, applicable law and the judgment), contracts law, torts law, criminal law, public/private law, jurisprudence, substantive and procedural issues, and conflicts of law.
LAW 103G – Lawyering
The lawyering course focuses on teaching the real-life skills in the field of law. Through this course students would develop essential legal skills, such as analytical thinking, legal research, legal citation, writing skills, negotiation, oral advocacy, counseling, drafting briefings, policy papers, memoranda, and exploring how law and fact unite in legal analysis. This course provides you with the necessary legal skill set that would serve you for the rest of the program.
LAW 111G – Business Law
This course provides a general introduction to Business Law concepts, beginning with the legal context in which business is conducted on an international basis, with focus on civil and common law jurisdictions. After examining the sources and components of Business Law, students will be introduced to Contracts Law as a key to successful transactions. Students will become familiar with the elements of contracts and the formation process. We then move to enforcement of contracts, third party rights, performance and termination of contracts including impossibility, frustration of purpose, damages and remedies. During the second part of the course, students will be introduced to agency law, intellectual property rights, competition law, forms of business organizations, bankruptcy and the fight against white collar crime. In addressing contemporary legal debates related to Business Law, students will gain sensitivity to the importance of ethical considerations in business decision making.
LAW 201G – Humanitarian Law
This course addresses international humanitarian law as part of general international law. It introduces students to the history and codification of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) from the 16th century till today. The methodology is explained by highlighting the difference between ius ad bellum (the legitimacy of armed operations) and ius in bello (law applicable during armed conflict). The four Geneva conventions of 1949 and the two additional protocols of 1977 are looked at in detail. Attention is paid to the question of law enforcement, in particular the numerous resolutions of the UN Security Council.
The course illustrates IHL in some recent armed conflicts such as the NATO air campaign in Kosovo, the Libyan civil war, the Syrian civil war and looks at some new challenges of IHL in the context of armed drones and cyber warfare.
LAW 202G – Legal Aspects of Migration
This course provides a detailed introduction to the international and European legal frameworks relating to migration. The main focus will be the study of the nature and implications of the progressive establishment of a common European legislative and policy framework covering the status, rights and mobility of persons in the European Union. The course will address the ways in which the nation state’s powers over the regulation of flows of persons and the status of mobile nationals and non-nationals has been affected by these transnational legal developments and the case law of supranational courts.
Pre-requisite: LAW 101G or with prior written permission from the instructor.
LAW 203G – Criminal Law
This course offers an introduction to criminal law and the criminal justice system, beginning with a historical overview of criminal law and its aims. Through a look at the historical development of criminal law, basic concepts are addressed such as the acts classified as crimes, the distinction between more serious offences (felonies) and less serious offences (misdemeanours), punishments (including incarceration and fines), the difference between the prosecuting office and the tribunal/court, the investigation process, the role of law enforcement agencies and victims’ rights. Penal codes of several countries will be used to illustrate a comparative overview of criminal law.
LAW 204G – Human Rights and International Criminal Law: The Case of the International Criminal Court
This interdisciplinary course is aimed at students interested in the study of human rights and international criminal law, international relations, and history. It combines a discussion of several case studies and special issues with a theoretical discussion on human rights, international criminal law, and the role of state and non-state actors in global affairs.
We will use the case of the International Criminal Court (ICC)—often cited as a landmark achievement in the fight against impunity—as a means of understanding the debates and issues that meet at the intersection of human rights and international criminal law. As we do so, we will embark on a historical and institutional journey that will take us from the early days of the development of the first norms and principles of international criminal law to the present.
In the second part of the course, we will examine up close some of the major debates and issues surrounding the creation of the ICC, but which have continued to be discussed in other international forums as well. In particular, we will unpack the fraught relationship of the United Nations Security Council and the ICC, the important progress that has been made in the area of gender rights, as well as the controversies surrounding the issues of universal jurisdiction and crime of aggression.
In the final part of the course, we will try to answer the many questions about the relevance of the ICC in the 21st century, especially as it pertains to the development of the norm of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the Court’s contentious relationship with the various African countries, and the political considerations surrounding the investigations of the Court in the Occupied Territories and Syria.
LAW205G – Law and Technology
With law often playing catch up to today’s technology driven society, the study of how law interacts with technology is more critical now than ever before. The course Law and Technology will provide a forum for discussing the legal challenges associated with new and emerging technologies in the digital age. The course covers different domains such as internet governance, intellectual property, privacy, data protection, digital currency as the various ways technological developments can exert pressure on existing legal concepts and legal institutions. This course covers regulatory issues in the spheres of international and European law. Providing cutting-edge knowledge within the burgeoning field of technology regulation. This course on Law and Technology would try to give answers to the complex and dynamic issues arising in this diverse and rapidly changing field.
LAW206 – International Trade Law
This course discusses the legal system governing international trade, with particular emphases on the laws of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the European Union (EU). It is designed to give students an overview of the regulation of international trade law. The class will examine the world trading system, it strengths and weaknesses and the tensions of trading super powers such as EU, USA, China, India, and Brazil. The objective of this course is to give students a comprehensive overview of free trade doctrines: most-favored nation treatment, national treatment, and transparency, the economy of the treaty framework, the relationship between international and EU law, bilateralism versus multilateralism, the WTO dispute resolution system, nondiscrimination obligations in international trade, and trade after Brexit.
LAW 211G – Advanced Business Law
This advanced-level course illustrates that no aspect of business life is entirely free from legal aspects. Building on the concepts learned in Business Law (LAW 111G), students will further examine the sources and components of Business Law as well as conflicts of law, competency of courts and various legal regimes governing international business transactions and operations. Students will focus on special problems concerning sales contracts, product liability, negotiable instruments, banking procedures, creditor’s rights, debtor protection, secured transactions, company law, mergers and acquisitions, employment law, bankruptcy and receivership. Throughout the course, students will gain enhanced critical-thinking skills and the ability to identify legal issues within the business context. Finally, in examining emerging trends in Business Law, this course deals with issues regarding legal ethics as applied to modern business.
Pre-requisite: LAW 111G
LAW 212G – International Commercial Arbitration
This course covers the basics of the law and practice governing international commercial arbitration, mediation and alternate dispute resolution. It provides students with both the theoretical and practical aspects of commercial arbitration, including topics such as the enforcement of arbitration agreements,
review of the major international arbitral institutions and their rules of procedure. In studying the relationship between international arbitration and national court systems, students will review court decisions on arbitration, perform research on arbitration at the global level and draft arbitration
LAW 213G – Intellectual Property Law
This course provides an introduction to the four primary types of intellectual property protection: patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret. Students will gain a basic understanding of the various grounds for and limitations of such protections by exploring the policies and legal principles which support international and European protection of intellectual property rights, designs, protection of trade secrets as well as the sources of those rights. Special topics will include acquisition of rights, registration, infringement, remedies and international aspects of these laws. The course also examines the function of international intellectual property organisations and recent developments in the EU.
LAW 221G – European Organisations
The European Union has become the most influential organisation in Europe, with a membership of 27 European states. However, 21 independent European intergovernmental organisations or European cooperation frameworks exist which are active in fields not, or not completely, covered by the activities of the European Union. These 21 European Organisations are divided in four sectors: economy & finance, political and security, science, and river commissions. The course will explain the law and policy of the 21 European organisations: their origins, membership, activities and cooperation among them or with the European Union. The students will acquire a complete overview of the all existing European intergovernmental organisations. Another objective is to prepare students of the International Affairs major to the job market in the world of European organisations and the related sectors (procurement for contractors, sub-contractors).
Pre-requisite: LAW 101G or with prior written permission from the instructor
LAW 222G – European Union Constitutional Law
The course focuses on the rights of EU citizens (inter alia the Charter of Fundamental Rights) and the institutions (European Parliament, Council, European Council, Commission, European Court of Justice and other organs) as well as the decision- making and controlling procedures of the President of the European Union. The operation of the EU institutions will be explained in all major areas of the European Union policies, with special attention to the internal market, the area of freedom, security and justice, as well as the common foreign and security policy.
Pre-requisite: LAW 101G or with prior written permission from the instructor
LAW 271G – Methods: Legal Analysis, Research and Writing
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to identify legal issues and communicate such findings effectively, particularly in the written form. In developing the ability for legal analysis and problem-solving skills, students will focus particularly on the interplay between international and European law, through historical, political and economic dimensions. Students will be encouraged to apply legal knowledge gained in previous courses in a number of ways. Finally, students will be provided with the opportunity for enhanced use of appropriate legal research methods and tools within the framework of class assignments.
Pre-requisite: LAW 102G or with prior written permission from the instructor
LAW 302G – Environmental Law
The contents of this course include the general principles of environmental law, the legal and institutional framework comprising subjects such as the actors (states, international organisations, NGOs, etc.), environmental treaties, resolutions of the UN General Assembly and other international bodies, EU regulations and directives, and the general problems of compliance, implementation, enforcement and dispute settlement.
LAW 303G – Human Rights
The first part of this course provides insight into the theoretical and philosophical background of the evolution of human rights, while the second half focuses on the legal instruments and application of human rights law in practice. Topics include the principles regarding the status of individuals under international law, the ‘International Bill of Human Rights’, regional human rights instruments, human rights related to expulsion and extradition, stateless persons, refugees and asylum, and the treatment standards regarding foreigners. The course incorporates major case law.
Pre-requisite: LAW 101G or with prior written permission from the instructor
LAW 311G – Competition Law
In this course, students will examine the role of competition law and policy, at both the EU and national levels and within the global economy. The different regimes of competition law will be closely analysed, including the interaction between trade and competition and the process of internationalisation of competition law and policy. Students will explore various issues related to competition law, including abuse of dominant position, anti-competitive agreements, the interface between Intellectual Property Rights and competition law and other current issues related to business strategy.
Pre-requisite: BUS 101G or LAW 111G or with prior written permission from the instructor
LAW 312G – International Banking Law and Financial Regulation
This course introduces students to the legal and regulatory environment of international banking and finance. In exploring the fundamental legal issues, emphasis will be placed on the international and European context in order to reflect the globalisation of the financial markets. Students will become familiar with the regulation of capital markets as well as the traditional financial market sectors of insurance and commercial & investment banking. This course will enable students to benefit from the “big picture” of banking and finance while considering related legal challenges.
Prerequisite: BUS 101G, ECN 101G or LAW 111G
LAW 322G – EU Law of the Internal Market
This advanced course provides a systematic analysis of the internal market and focuses on the four freedoms, namely the free movement of goods (including custom duties and taxation, quantitative restrictions and similar measures), the free movement of services (including the freedom of establishment), the freedom of movement of people (including the Schengen Area) and the free movement of capital (including monetary union). Related topics will also include EU citizenship, fundamental rights, harmonisation of legislation and redress mechanisms.
Pre-requisite: LAW 222G or with prior written permission from the instructor
LAW 391G – Capstone in International and EU Law
The course is devoted to landmark judgments and legal opinions of the judicial bodies of both the European Union and the International Court of Justice and its predecessor, ICSID arbitration, mixed claims commissions and the ILOAT tribunal. With respect to the European Union, students will examine holdings of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the General Court, and the European Civil Service Tribunal. The course culminates in a high-level research paper or project of the student’s choice, where the student will analyse the structure and legal reasoning of judgments and legal opinions related to their topic.
Pre-requisite: LAW 271G and third year standing in the Law major, or with prior written permission from the instructor
LAW395G – BA Thesis in International and European Law – Seminar I (Advanced Research Methods)
The advanced research methods seminar (Seminar I) for the BA Thesis in International and European Law requires students to formulate and devise a research question for their BA Thesis topic as well as to choose and apply advanced research methods specific to the field of International and European Law in order to investigate their major research topic. In this seminar, students will acquire knowledge and skills of advanced research methods and will complete their preparatory work for conducting major research on their BA topic which will serve as a foundation for finalizing their thesis writing in BA Thesis Seminar II.
Pre-requisite: Students must have taken all Core courses before taking this course.
LAW396G – BA Thesis in International and European Law – Seminar II (Senior Seminar)
After completing the BA Thesis Seminar I, students are required to complete their BA Thesis, applying advanced research methods acquired in BA Thesis Seminar I. Under the guidance of their thesis supervisor, students will finalize the writing process and present intermittent results in senior seminars and roundtable discussions. The final oral defence/presentation of the thesis results will take place in the context of the College’s public undergraduate research day.
Pre-requisite: LAW 395G
LCH 101G – Elementary Chinese
This course teaches Mandarin Chinese, which is used as official language in Taiwan and mainland of P.R. China. Equal emphasis will be given to listening and comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The objective is to lay solid foundations for further learning of Chinese. The course will be conducted, as far as possible, in Chinese from the beginning. After this course students should be able to speak with correct pronunciation and tone, write all strokes in the correct order and some Chinese characters, understand and read simple conversations and texts. The course will also expose students to various aspects of Chinese culture. It is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Chinese.
LAR 101G – Elementary Arabic
This is a course of Modern Standard Arabic, the language that comes closest to a Lingua Franca in the Arab World. It enables students to read modern texts and follow the news (decipher headlines and look up words that are unknown) and most important provides them with the tools to constantly improve and broaden their knowledge by engaging in conversation with locals who speak Arabic and ask for words and expressions that are new to them. Since the Arab culture is often described as an “oral culture” students of Arabic benefit greatly from this approach.
They will also get an insight into the diversity of the Arabic language and the main differences between the biggest groups of dialects. At the end of the course participants will be able to have a simple conversation with native speakers, as well as getting a grip of the local variety they speak. In order to achieve that we use not only a classical teaching book, but also recorded texts (mostly with transcripts), songs and films from different countries where Arabic is spoken and one or the other social media entry.
This course is a door-opener helping you to make your first steps into the Arab-speaking part of the world and will get you as far as your enthusiasm carries you, once you got the hang of it. With potential for further courses to follow.
LDU 101G – Elementary Dutch
This course focuses on listening and understanding, vocabulary and basic practical grammar. After these courses students should be able to manage to live in a Dutch-speaking environment, to participate in everyday conversations, to read and understand basic Dutch texts and to compose simple written work. Students will also learn more about Dutch/ Belgian culture. This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Dutch.
LFR 231G – French for International Affairs (ONLINE ONLY)
This course is a CLIL-course (Content and Language Integrated Learning), conform to the CEF Common European Framework for Languages, entrance level B.1 and exit level B.1.2 or B.2
This course is completely available on Canvas. There are no class meetings for this course, students advance independently but are yet closely monitored through weekly assignments and regular feedback from the instructor.
Every week of class corresponds to a weekly module. In this online folder, students can find specific learning paths for that particular week, the set exercises and their corrections, explanations about the online assignment and other learning materials.
The weekly assignments are of a varied nature and will involve online presentations, reading exercises, specific writing exercises for international affairs students such as presenting a diplomatic mission or an international organization, analyzing and constructing a speech, express and opinion, present and comment a graph, write professional emails, compose an action plan,..
Syllabus FRR 231G
LFR 331G – Business French (ONLINE ONLY)
This course is a CLIL-course (Content and Language Integrated Learning), conform to the CEF Common European Framework for Languages, entrance level C.1 and exit level C.1.2 or C.2
This course is completely available on Canvas, with everything from the handbook, to designed knowledge clips and other relative video content. There are no class meetings for this course, students advance independently but are yet closely monitored through weekly assignments and regular feedback from the instructor.
Every week of class corresponds to a weekly module. In this online folder, students can find the instructional videos for that particular week, the set exercises and their corrections, explanations about the online assignment and other learning materials.
The weekly assignments are of a varied nature and will involve online presentations, reading exercises, specific writing exercises for business purposes such as pitches, posters or brochures, video analysis, knowledge clips, short reflection papers, listening exercises,…
LFR 101G, LFR 102G – Elementary French I & II
This sequence focuses on listening and understanding, vocabulary and basic practical grammar. After these courses students should be able to manage to live in a French-speaking environment, to participate in everyday conversations, to read and understand basic French texts and to compose simple written work. Students will also learn more about French/ Belgian culture.
LFR101G is designed for students with no prior knowledge of French, whereas LFR102G is for students with the equivalent of one semester of college French as assessed by a placement test.
LFR201G – Intermediate French I & II
This level consists of 8 different modules, each focusing on a different aspect of language learning. This sequence focuses on the acquisition of major elements of French grammar, as well as a more advanced level of comprehension, accurate and active communication skills and a broader coverage of vocabulary. The students can choose 4 different modules that correspond best to their individual learning path. The modules are Grammar I and II, Reading and Writing I and II, Conversation I and II, and Culture and Civilisation I and II.
Prerequisite for LFR200 level: LFR102G or placement test. The choice of modules is discussed at the Placement test with the French Instructors.
Syllabus 201G-Fall and LFR202G-Spring
LFR 301G, LFR 302G – Advanced French I & II
The two courses are comparable in their methods of instruction, as they are content courses taught in French enabling students to master advanced vocabulary, to practice grammar, to organise class discussions, to write essays, and to do oral presentations and/or extracurricular projects, but each has its own programme and its own theme. The two courses complement each other in the development of vocabulary, comprehension, writing and oral skills, and may be taken in any order.
Pre-requisite for LFR 301G: LFR 200 level or placement test
Pre-requisite for LFR 302G: LFR 200 level or placement test
Syllabus LFR300G (301G-Fall and 302G-Spring)
MTH 140G – Mathematics for Business and Economics
Teaches the mathematical skills required for problem solving and decision making in the business world through use of mathematical models and specialised techniques. Topics include: functions as mathematical models, equation-solving techniques, differential and integral calculus, exponential growth and time-value of money and partial derivatives and their applications in economic functions.
Politics and International Affairs (POL)
POL 101G – Global Politics
This is a basic introductory course familiarising students with core concepts, processes and events in global politics. It gives insight into the so-called ‘global’ dimension of world politics, which encompasses the worldwide, the regional, the national and the sub-national levels. In this course, students study concepts and issues related to state and sovereignty, the nation and globalisation; power and war; diplomacy and sanctions, identity and terrorism. Studying these issues helps to outline the interdependence and interconnectedness of state and non-state actors in world politics.
POL 111G – Introduction to Comparative Regional Studies
This course aims at providing students with an understanding of the key concepts and issues in comparative politics and regional studies. Here, comparative politics is mainly understood as “politics within the state,” while students also learn about the specific features characterising political dynamics, state features and regional patterns of political developments in particular areas of the world through the regional studies approach. In the first part of the module, students are introduced to what comparative politics is, how to organise and design comparative research in political science, and get a glimpse of the main literature debates on comparative politics methodologies. Here, students also get familiarised with the basic concepts associated with the modern State, liberal democracy and authoritarianism. The rest of the module introduces students to the study of politics in a number of world regions: Latin America, Western Europe, the Middle East, the Post-Soviet Space, Asia, and Africa. Students thus learn about the way the concept of State was developed in all of these areas of the world, what the challenges to the Modern State are and whether, and how, State power in these regions has been eroded.
E102 – EUROPEAN REFUGE(ES): Face-to-face Encounters between Students and Refugees
This programme brings refugees and non-refugees together to explore and critique the refugee ‘crisis’. This is a 10-week programme during which youth from European universities and those from refugee backgrounds learn from expert academics and practitioners from across Europe, as well as from each other as they build up relationships in their small seminar groups.
All students engage in 3 pillars: 1) online video lectures by European experts 2) live, facilitated seminars between participants from refugees and non-refugee backgrounds 3) primary research through European-wide survey and short video interviews.
The content of this programme will be underpinned by the concept of European citizenship with the focus towards exploring the European political, media and social responses to the ‘refugee crisis’ as well as going more deeply into understanding how these responses and attitudes are affecting European society and the integration and experiences of refugees/new-comers. This season young people from a refugee background will also join European students.
POL 201G – Comparative Political Systems
This course builds on the ‘Introduction to Comparative Politics and Regional Studies’ and deepens students’ knowledge of comparative politics, regionalisation and regional systems of governance. Students refine their understanding of liberal democratic, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, always through a comparative perspective. In addition, students also focus on an in-depth analysis of the different challenges Nation-States are facing. For instance, students learn about the processes of institutional devolution and the rise of localism. Furthermore, students focus on regionalism and regional systems of governance. They study the current trends in the regionalisation of world politics, through a comparative analysis of the major regional organisations. The final aim of this course is to provide students with knowledge of how political institutions have developed in different areas of the world as well as give pupils the theoretical, conceptual and methodological tools necessary n to start carrying out independent research in the field of comparative politics. More specifically this course equips students to analyse the developments characterising governance in national-States and regions and to specialise further in the study of a particular world region.
POL 212G – Theories of International Relations
This course introduces and applies the major paradigms, key authors and core theories in the discipline of International Relations (IR). The course allows students to study and apply major IR theories with the help historical and contemporary political empirical case studies in order to illustrate, as well as test, central assumptions and arguments of these approaches. The course provides a knowledge base for the further study of International Relations theories as well as for understanding core processes, actors and power relations in international politics.
POL 214G, Western Democracy in Crisis: Post-truth Politics and the Rise of Populism
This course will examine one of the defining political puzzles of our time: from the EU referendum in the United Kingdom to the presidential election in the United States and the rise of populist forces everywhere in Europe, there is a growing realization that truth may no longer be relevant to politics.
‘Post-truth’ politics – the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year – threatens to turn Western liberal democracy upside-down. The public scorns at politicians, technocrats and experts; conspiracies and viral hoaxes run rampart in social media; objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. We will use an interdisciplinary approach – with lectures, group activities and assignments – to examine the philosophical underpinnings, the evolution and the effects of populism. In the course of seven weeks we will consider a range of questions such as: is populism a crisis of democracy or a legitimate revolt of the masses against their shrinking political importance? To what extent can populism be considered as a descendant of eighteenth century Romanticism? What are the ‘post-truth’ challenges to the European Union, the transatlantic security and the liberal world order?
Pre-requisite: POL101G or HIS101G
POL 222G – Understanding Contemporary Conflicts in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
Formerly known as ‘Understanding Contemporary Conflict in Europe and Beyond’, this is an EPSS course on the history and the politics of contemporary conflicts, with a specific focus on the Mediterranean region and the impact that its dynamics have had on European security. It will provide an understanding of the historical roots, conceptual foundations, and current developments characterising the conflicts of this area. The course is divided into three parts: the first part will be focused on understanding the historical developments and changes in warfare and the tools to analyse and manage conflicts. The second part of the course will deal specifically with the most important historical developments that have created the conditions for the current conflicts in the region. The role of Europe in the formation of the contemporary Middle East will be highlighted. The third part will focus on current crises in the Middle East, dealing with four specific case studies: the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Syrian civil war, sectarianism in the Middle East and the rivalry between the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda in the Jihadist camp.
Pre-requisite: POL101G or HIS101G
POL 223G – Ethnic Conflict, Reconciliation and Reconstruction
This interdisciplinary course is aimed at students interested in the study of peace and conflict resolution, international relations, political science, sociology and history. It combines a historical overview of the breakup of Yugoslavia and the wars of 1990 with a theoretical discussion on peace and conflict resolution. The course consists of a series of lectures and presentations during which students look at the main events and causes that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s as well as the impact the conflict has had on the security, economic, demographic, and religious situation in the region. No background in Yugoslav history or politics is required. The role of nationalist ideology and organisation in the breakdown and building of state structures is a key element of this course, as is (often violent) conflict surrounding the implementation of state-building projects. A final element of major significance is the impact of international intervention or world geopolitics, particularly the interests of Great Powers and their attempts to shape state-building projects of local actors. The course assists students in identifying and analysing the causes of the Yugoslavian conflict, and more importantly, learning how to anticipate such conflicts in the future.
Pre-requisite: HIS101G or POL101G
POL 225G, Global Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and (De-)Radicalisation
This course examines the contours of the jihadist movements, with the aim of enhancing students’ understanding of ideological, strategic, and operational characteristics that define it. Students explore the ideological and strategic debates within the movement as well as national, regional, and international events that contributed to these debates. A particular emphasis is placed on aspects of counterinsurgency, national and international policy to combat radicalism and jihadism and areas of continued concern within the international system for such occurrences. This course introduces students to policy debates, theoretical literature available in the emerging field of jihadist studies as well as statements and literature produced by jihadists themselves. This course places heavy emphasis on professional writing, briefing, conduct, and other skills needed for careers in the fields of terrorism and security.
POL 227G, Security, Migration and Cultural Diversity in Europe
Recent events from the terrorist attacks in France and Belgium to the US presidential election through the Brexit referendum in the UK have highlighted the saliency of migration and cultural diversity in industrialised societies and the frequent linkages being made between ‘migrants’ (or ‘culturally others’) and security in its broadest sense. The main aim of this EPSS course is to equip students with the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to explain how migrants and minorities have come to be seen as threatening and the public policies that have been developed in that respect, as well as evaluating the consequences for those at the receiving end of these discourses and policies and for industrialised societies more broadly.
POL 231G – European Union Politics
This course focuses on the European Union’s integration, institutions, decision making processes and major policies and on the theoretical approaches to studying European integration. The course is divided into 4 major parts. Part one provides a historical overview and analyses evolving treaty framework in the European Union. Part two details the organisation and functioning of the European Union institutions including the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Council as well as the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice. Part three deals with policy processes and the making of legislation in the European Union and focuses on selected policy areas. The final part of the course focuses on the major theoretical approaches to studying European integration including neofunctionalism, intergovernmentalism, neo-institutionalism and constructivism(s).
POL 233G – The EU’s Approach to Democratisation and Human Rights
This course examines the historical evolution, policies and overall track-record of major European countries and the European Union itself in the field of democratisation and the promotion of human rights. The first part of the course provides a comprehensive overview of the main conceptualisations, debates and core issues related to human rights and democracy promotion. The second part of the course consists of a critical analysis of both the internal and external human rights policies and democratisation efforts of the European Union and major European states.
POL 234G – Economics and Politics of the European Union
In the alphabet soup of regional groupings the European Union is unique because it has a system of sovereignty-sharing between nation-states. The course will examine precisely what that means and how it expresses itself in terms of institutional arrangements. The EU is also unique in having built up a single market in which business activity in another member state is intended to be (and in some cases, has become) as straightforward as activity in another region of the same state. The course will examine both of these aspects.
POL 243G – International Organisations and Global Governance
This course provides an analysis of the historical evolution, policies and impact of core International Organisations in the field of Global Governance. Students examine and evaluate the policy-making processes, successes and failures of major International Organisations in addressing core global challenges, such as global peace and security, global economic governance, development and the global fight against hunger, climate change and environmental governance, the global rule of law, human rights and democratisation.
Pre-requisite: HIS101G or POL101G
POL 244G – The United Nations and Global Governance
This course introduces and explores the history, institutions, core policies and impact of the United Nations in the context of ‘contemporary global governance’. Emphasis is placed on assessing the UN’s core institutions (Security Council, General Assembly, ECOSOC, UN Secretariat and Secretary-General) and the UN’s policies in the fields of peace and security, human rights and (sustainable) development. Particular emphasis is placed on UN Peacekeeping. Students are encouraged to critically assess the UN’s effectiveness and options for reform, whilst appreciating the persistent challenges of global governance in the context of a multiplicity of actors without formal, overall coordination. The course also provides students with an opportunity for critical in-depth (tutorial) discussion, group work and in-depth research into the role, function and performance of the United Nations in the policy fields discussed in the course.
Pre-requisite: HIS101G or POL101G
POL 261G – History and Politics of the Modern Middle East
This is an introductory course to History and Politics of the Modern Middle East. The course introduces students to some of the major historical, political and cultural events that have affected the Middle Eastern region since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. It is an interdisciplinary course that examines key historical and political milestones that have shaped, defined and redefined the Modern Middle East since the beginning of the 20th century: modernity, colonialism, nationalism, ethnicity, identity and religion, state formation, democratisation, wars and geography as well as the impact of external influences on the region. The course also touches upon recent events in the region, in particular the Arab uprising and the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Given the complex history of the region, current events cannot be dissected from the Middle East’s history alone. This introductory course will provide students with basic building blocks that will enable them to better understand and analyse today’s events and conflicts in the greater context of the region’s historical, political and cultural developments over the past 100 years. The course includes film viewings as well as guest-lectures by experienced practitioners and policy-makers.
Pre-requisite: POL101G or HIS101G
POL 262G – US Foreign Policy
This course examines the evolution and pursuit of US interests by the United States Government internationally over the 20th century through to today. It investigates the evolution of US foreign policy in the context of conflicting regional nationalisms, sub-regional poles of power, competition with the Soviet Union, and the post-9/11 era. This course draws upon readings, lecture, class discussion, and crisis simulation to foster an understanding of the history of U.S. foreign policy and help students develop an analytic framework for understanding current policy debates.
Pre-requisite: POL101G or HIS101G
POL 263G – Russian Foreign Politics
This course introduces students to the key developments in Russia’s foreign and defence policy. It closely examines the drivers, policy tools and constraints Russia faces when seeking to achieve its foreign policy objectives. Students also learn to apply major theories of international relations to the analysis of specific countries’ foreign policy decisions and to the development of policy recommendations for emerging security challenges.
Pre-requisite: POL101G or HIS101G
POL 301G – Contemporary Political Debates
This course debates key policy and normative dilemmas in contemporary liberal democracies. It introduces topics using recent academic literature and policy documents and then examines classical and modern political texts in order to build conceptually coherent arguments to support conflicting positions on political and normative dilemmas.
Prerequisite: POL101G or POL102G
POL 302G – Political Theory for International Affairs
This course explores some key themes, questions, approaches in modern and contemporary political theory, which are particularly relevant to international affairs. Many of the most important concepts normally employed in this domain, both at the theoretical and the practical levels, have their roots in the tradition of political theory. The course thus provides an opportunity for the students to engage directly with some of the most important political theorists and texts, in order to gain a first-hand perspective on the origin of such concepts. This means that the course will privilege major figures in the history of modern and contemporary political theory, whose works have played a crucial role in shaping the way we understand those basic concepts.
The course will be divided into three broad traditions of political thinking. These are: “Political Realism and the State”, “Liberalism, Democracy, and Cosmopolitanism”, and “Critical Theories”. Each of these traditions will take four sessions, each of which will be devoted to an important political theorist, whose work has given a substantial contribution to that particular theoretical approach. In the sessions on “Political Realism and the State” we will focus on the works of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Weber, and Schmitt; and we will study themes such as the relation between ethics and politics, the meaning of the ‘state of nature’, the role and function of the state, and the friend/enemy distinction in the political arena. In the sessions on “Liberalism, Democracy, and Cosmopolitanism” we will study Kant, Rawls, Habermas, and Arendt, and analyze questions such as the idea of international peace among democracies, global justice, deliberative democracy, and human rights. Finally the sessions on “Critical Theories” will cover the works of Marx, Gramsci, Foucault, and Butler, and the themes of communism, cultural hegemony, biopolitics, governamentality, and feminism.
The course aims to offer an in-depth understanding of these three traditions of political theory and their respective theorists, in order to allow the student to develop a critical perspective on the ways in which some basic political concepts are employed in the domain of international affairs. Therefore it will be based on a careful study of a selection of emblematic texts of these influential authors, accompanied by the analysis of secondary literature to put such texts in context and relate them both to relevant political events and the on-going intellectual debates to which they contribute.
POL 303G – Advanced Theories of International Relations
This course takes an in-depth look into the classical readings of the authors of international relations theory and places them in the context of contemporary politics. The course provides an overview and critical analysis of the important scholarly debates. Students learn to think critically about different theoretical assumptions and practice applying them to real cases from global politics. In addition to contemporary politics, students draw on their history knowledge to contextualise different theories and their origins. The format of the course includes some lectures paired with seminars where students analyse readings of the core theoretical texts and analyse their own views on the merits and limitations of different theoretical approaches. Thus, class discussions and seminar presentations are among the core activities of this course which is designed to equip students with the theoretical knowledge they need to carry out rigorous research for their BA thesis.
POL 311G – International Policital Economy
This course studies the interactions among political, economic, and social institutions and processes and how they affect international relations. It describes mercantilist, neoliberal, radical, and contemporary approaches to international political economy. Students analyse the structures of trade, finance, security, and knowledge and compare change, transition, and development in different regions. Furthermore, this course analyses global problems, including energy, migration, and environment.
Pre-requisites: ECN101G and POL101G
POL 321G – NATO and Transatlantic Approaches to Security
This EPSS course explores the history, track record and major political and policy challenges related to both the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and wider US-Europe transatlantic relations more generally. Students examine the waxing and waning of US-EU relations in the field of security and assess the evolution, institutions, policy-making processes and impact of NATO’s core security policies. The final part of the course invites students to explore emerging and future challenges NATO and US- EU relations will face.
POL 322G – Military Approaches to Security
This EPSS course provides an in-depth analysis of core actors, as well as key dimensions and approaches to promoting security through military means. Particular emphasis will be placed on the so-called ‘comprehensive approach’. The course provides a conceptual and theoretical introduction to military security by focusing on the concepts of threat, risk, security and conflict and explains their evolution. It discusses the changing nature of war and the complexity of today’s conflicts and analyses the role of the military in security issues such as deterrence; arms control and disarmament; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, small arms and light weapons; and failed states. The course will also explore how the role of the military is influenced by the privatisation of international security and the evolution of military equipment. Finally, students study the role of the military in state-building, the specificity of the military in crisis management, and the main approaches to peace support operations and military crisis management in the UN, EU and NATO frameworks.
POL 324G – International Approaches to State-Building, Reform and Good Governance
This interdisciplinary course is aimed to engage students in debates on the origins, development and deterioration of states. Approaches to promoting good governance and state-building as part of post-Soviet transition, African studies, development studies, security studies, post-conflict reconstruction, have been the subject of numerous academic and policy debates. Students learn about these different approaches as well as how they are interlinked with democracy assistance and security sector reform initiatives. Students review the indicators for state capacity and good governance, assess issues critical for the development of states in transition and will discuss models of state-society relationship. While this course primarily focuses on the role of the international actors in state-building efforts, it also focuses on issues linked to the concept of nation, national movements and civil society. The course consists of lectures, seminar discussions and includes guest speakers as well as interactive exercises.
POL 332G – European and Global Governance of Migration
This course provides an overview of the EU policy-making structures as they apply to migration policy as well as broader themes of EU justice and home affairs. It includes an analysis of the changes of EU governance in the area of justice and home affairs: its origins and evolution as well as the current debates, including security and human rights aspects. In addition to the strong EU focus, the course also maps out the development of the global governance of migration. It explores the role of different stakeholders who are active in migration debates, including different states, international non-governmental organisations, and lobby groups (many of which are active in Brussels). Overall, the course draws on different debates on migration and relates them to broader developments in global politics, including the economic crisis, issues of national identity, immigrant settlement and integration.
Pre-requisite: one course in politics
POL 333G – Policies in the EU
This course aims to familiarise students with institutions, actors and policy patterns of EU policy domains (agriculture, regional development, environmental policy, social policy and foreign/security policy), as well as with public policy approaches and concepts used to analyse EU policies. It addresses some of the challenges of EU policy-making: asymmetry, path dependency, complexity, accountability, legitimacy, public participation, implementation and monitoring deficits, hierarchical authority, enlargement, etc. This course refers extensively to policy cases and domains to clarify theories and concepts, which are juxtaposed to highlight explanatory advantages and weaknesses.
Pre-requisite: POL 231G
POL 334G, The European Union in the World, Amie Kreppel
This course explores the changing role of the European Union (EU) on the global stage. It examines the evolution of the EU’s global influence through an analysis of several key areas of influence, including enlargement, trade and economic policy and the development of defence policy.
Pre-requisite: POL 101G
POL 342G – The Government and Politics of Global Powers
The course analyses the challenges of Global Governance and the role played by emerging countries (BRICS+) in the new global order. It analyses the key drivers and challenges to the emergence of these countries, their major foreign policy priorities, the rationale behind their engagement in international multilateral organisations/institutions and the w ays in which they try to change the balance in the global system. Firstly therefore, this course presents and studies the key concepts that continuously shape its content and reviews the various strategies that global powers can use to ‘emerge’. Second, it looks specifically at the power structures of a number of emerging countries and at their external strategies. The country case studies focus on Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and a few others (BRICS+). Third, students look at the ways in which these states engage into the international governance structures, the tools they use and the efforts they make to influence or redesign current structures. To do this, the course discusses certain international issues such as the global economy, development cooperation, climate negotiations and global security. Finally, students explore the strategies developed by established powers (the US and the EU) to confront these new powers and look at possible scenarios for future global structures.
Pre-requisite: HIS101G or POL101G
POL 343G – Global Economic Governance
This course provides an overview of the evolving architecture, functions and outcomes of global economic governance. It assesses the establishment and the role of international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and their capacity to deal with global challenges. The course also examines the role of international rules, norms, practices and institutions that have been challenged in the recent financial crisis. Students analyse how international institutions facilitate cooperation and mitigate conflict in the world economy. Pupils also take a look at issues such as the role international trade, finance and development through the prism of international politics.
POL 391G – Capstone in International Affairs
The International Affairs Capstone course provides students with an opportunity to integrate their knowledge and apply the skills acquired throughout their studies to a concrete policy problem. As the final, summative and integrative course of the IA Programme, students to apply their knowledge and skills in a highly independent, theory-driven, but policy-oriented manner. For the duration of the Capstone course, students work on a real-life problem and act as policy advisors or policy analysts for a ‘client’ (policy-maker from Brussels-based organisations, such as the European Union or NATO). By calling for the integration and application of their multi-disciplinary knowledge, the Capstone course seeks to prepare students both for independent research at the graduate level and to bridge the gap between academic studies and the professional realm of policy-oriented analysis.
Pre-requisites: SSC271G and SSC272G, and third-year standing in the International Affairs Major; or with prior written permission from the instructor.
POL 395G – BA Thesis in International Affairs – Seminar I (Advanced Research Methods)
The advanced research methods seminar (Seminar I) for the BA Thesis in International Affairs, requires students to formulate and devise their research question for their BA Thesis topic as well as to choose and apply advanced research methods specific to the field of International Affairs in order to tackle and investigate their major research topic. In this seminar, students will acquire knowledge and skills of advanced research methods and will complete their preparatory work for conducting major research on their BA topic which will serve as a foundation for finalizing their thesis writing in BA Thesis Seminar II.
Pre-requirements: Students must have taken all Core courses before taking this course.
POL 396G – BA Thesis in International Affairs – Seminar II (Senior Seminar)
After completing the BA Thesis Seminar I, students are required to complete writing their BA thesis, applying advanced research methods acquired in BA Thesis Seminar I. Under the guidance of their thesis supervisor, students finalize the writing process and present intermittent results in senior seminars and round-tables. The final oral defence/presentation of the thesis’ results will take place in the context of the College’s public ‘undergraduate research day’.
Pre-requisite: BA Thesis Seminar I
POL401M – Global Perspectives on History and Ideas of Peace
This elective course provides students with a global overview of the history of ideas and culture related to different conceptions of ‘civil resistance’ and ‘nonviolent movements’. The course invites students to reflect on the plurality of conceptions of civic engagement and peaceful protest in a global context. In order to do so, it builds bridges between different cultural perspectives, approaches and ideas of peace, and it compares and contrasts Western conceptions with variants of Indian thought, Islamic thought, Confucian thought as well a African and Native American conceptions. The second half of the course provides students with the opportunity to critically assess the effectiveness and limitations of nonviolent peace movements around the globe, and examine the link between civil resistance, non-violence and conflict resolution/prevention.
POL411M – The Theory and Practice of International Relations
This foundational course introduces students to the major theories and core concepts of the discipline of International Relations (IR) and their practical application to historical and contemporary policy issues. Students analyze the different theoretical schools as well as Western and non-Western traditions of IR thinking and make the first connections on how the intellectual foundations of IR theories are related to the theoretical and conceptual assumptions behind peace studies, security studies and strategic studies as well as studies of diplomacy and global governance. The course will examine the influence of state actors and non-state actors on global affairs and will challenge students to reflect on the possibilities and constraints related to reforming the current practice of International Relations.
POL412M – Current and Future Challenges in Diplomacy
This course addresses current and future challenges in diplomacy. Students will learn to analyze contemporary problems and issues appearing on the diplomatic horizon by using theoretical presumptions and applying them to the cases selected. We are going to combine theories and models from both IR theory and Comparative politics. You will identify the major processes and actors currently setting and shaping the diplomatic agenda. Given the immense speed of change in international relations since the end of the Cold War, the methodology of diplomacy has changed from traditional club diplomacy to network-based diplomacy. Against this background we will see how actors widen and reshuffle the toolbox of diplomacy in order to meet these challenges. We put special emphasis on the current crisis of the West and the threats to multilateralism, on security challenges, new technologies and the strive for the last free spots on earth (and beyond).
POL414M – Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy
This course examines the recent emergence of ‘cultural, science and innovation diplomacy’ in theory and practice. Students will first gain an understanding and knowledge of conceptual and practical differences between the ‘new diplomacy’ and traditional diplomacy. The course then examines case studies taken from the VUB based Horizon 2020 project ‘European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy (EL-CSID) which analyses the relevance of cultural, scientific and innovation diplomacy for EU external relations. The second half of the course will focus on the strategic response of the EU to the ‘new diplomacy’. Adopted by EU institutions and member states in June 2016, the culture and EU external relations strategy is a radical departure from the traditional diplomacy policies and practices of member states and it is already proving to be a major challenge both for member states and for the European External Action Service. Students will have an opportunity to discover how this EU policy is being developed and implemented with contributions from policy makers and practitioners.
POL415M – Social (In-)equality, Human Rights and Global Justice
This course examines social equality and human rights from a global justice perspective. It analyzes the nexus between socio-economic inequality and human rights within and among different layers and sections of society on the one hand and the implications and consequences for conflict, national and international security as well as ‘global justice’ and stability on the other. The course is approached from the overarching framework concept of – and debates about – ‘global justice’ (including a critical analysis of the concept and its practice) and explores the inter-linkages between justice within states and global justice in the global governance sphere. This exploration is carried out with a focus on the actors, such as regional and international organizations, within global governance. Finally, students are encouraged to apply their analyses to develop their own solutions on how ‘more just’ conditions and ‘global justice’ can be promoted.
POL422M – Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Theory and Practice
This elective module provides students with a comprehensive overview of the main theories and approaches to mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution. The course draws on major case studies of successful resolution of different types of conflicts across the globe and challenges students to assess and practice themselves core approaches to mediation and negotiation of conflicts in different scenarios with emphasis on the role of culture. The course brings together different strands of the sub-disciplines of conflict resolution, negotiation and mediation in order to provide students with a solid grounding in diplomatic and non-violent approaches to peacemaking. The course also includes sessions provided by mediation experts and practitioners from, inter alia, the EU, NATO, and non-governmental organizations. The focus will be more on political questions such as the forms and causes of armed conflict and the means of conflict resolution. However, insights from other disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology as well as business administration will broaden our understanding of the methods of conflict resolution.
POL424M – Terrorism, Counterterrorism and (De-)Radicalisation
This elective seeks to enhance students’ understanding of ideological, strategic, and operational characteristics of global terrorism, radicalization as well as counter-terrorism strategies in the 21st Century. Students will define terms associated with the movement, and explore the development, motives, tactics as well as the variety of conditions of radicalization and terrorism, with a specific focus on Europe. The course will provide both a critical assessment of the contributing factors behind the emergence of terrorism as well as of the methods and policies used by national and international actor to prevent and counter terrorism. Policy debates, statements and literature from a diversity of actors, including jihadists themselves, will be introduced to create a comprehensive understanding of all perspectives involved in the movement. This course places heavy emphasis on the professional writing, briefing, conduct, and other skills needed for careers in the counter-terrorism and the security field.
POL443M – The Success, Failure and Future of Global Governance
This course provides an in-depth assessment of the design, successes and failures of global governance. Tracing the evolution of global governance designs through diplomatic treaties, initiatives, alliances and international and regional organizations since the First World War, students will examine institutional, procedural systemic and leadership factors of differing designs of global governance tools and institutions and will analyze examples of flawed and more successful global governance architectures. In the second part of the course, students will develop the tools to evaluate different global governance policies since the end of the Cold War and will analyze conditions for successful and unsuccessful global governance initiatives. Finally, students are encouraged to apply the knowledge gained throughout this course to reflect on reforming institutional set-ups and policies in global governance.
PSY 101G – Introduction to Psychology
This course is aimed to provide students with an introduction into the research field of psychology. Students get acquainted to core concepts and existing domains within Psychology. Psychology as a scientific discipline and the interconnection between sub domains in Psychology are central issues in this course. Topics that will be treated include: what is psychology, biology of behaviour, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, learning and adaptation, motivation and emotion, development over the life span, personality, adjusting to life (stress, coping and health), psychological disorders, social thinking and behaviour, etc. Theory will be supported by demos, class experiments, exercises and film fragments.
Social Sciences (SSC)
SSC 271G – Intermediate Qualitative Research Methods
This course will give an overview of several qualitative methodologies relevant for addressing some of the cutting-edge social and policy problems. Thanks to lectures and interactive exercises, students learn to pursue an independent research project and work in a team. The course is beneficial to students of Business, Communications, International Affairs, and International and European Law majors. The class format allows students to practice their research methods skills by including many real-life case studies. Students learn how to gather different kinds of evidence prioritise and analyse it and produce high-quality reports. Students are also trained to make effective briefings and presentations. The course is structured as to give students the opportunity to practice what they learn in lectures. This is done by including both lectures and seminar-style sessions. While it is expected that students actively participate in the lectures by asking questions and doing readings prior to the class, during the seminars, the students are required to be prepared to lead the discussion and group exercises.
SSC 272G – Intermediate Quantitative Research Methods
This course exposes students to the main quantitative research methods required for analysis in the Social Sciences. Students learn the main methodological approaches from the field of Business, Communications, International Affairs and International and European Law studies. The course also provides essential skills required for analysing and tackling major research issues.
Prerequisite: STA 101G
STA 101G – Introduction to Statistics
Statistics is the art of using data to make numerical conjectures about problems. Descriptive statistics is the art of summarizing data. Topics include: histograms, the average, the standard deviation, the normal curve, correlation. Much statistical reasoning depends on the theory of probability. Topics include: chance models, expected value, standard error, probability histograms, convergence to the normal curve. Statistical inference is the art of making valid generalisations from samples. Topics include: estimation, measurement error, tests of statistical significance.