The History of International Relations section offers a unique combination of expertise in international relations and historical research. In Utrecht, students can follow courses ranging from classical historiographical seminars to introductions in a variety of analytical methodologies, like oral history, ethnographic fieldwork, foreign policy analysis and the micropolitics of social violence – all embedded in a historical context. Our staff is active in the following study programmes.

For Bachelor's students

Bachelor's programme

Our section is active in a rich array of courses in the BA programme History. For first year students we coordinate the courses on contemporary history, in which students are introduced to the captivating domain of international history since 1914.

Advanced 2nd and 3rd year students have the possibility to follow the track International Relations. Herein our staff lectures on their expertise in our three focal themes, conflict and security, Europe and the world, and globalisation.


Students both from within and outside Utrecht University have the option to follow a minor as a part of the optional course profile within their BA programme. Minors offer a coherent package of courses on a topic, allowing students to broaden their focus beyond the field of their BA programme. The section History of International Relations offers two minors:

  • In the minor International Relations, students are introduced to the topics of history of international relations and global governance. The staff’s competence in theory and their knowledge of the history of present-day issues is well reflected in the courses.
  • The minor Conflict Studies teaches students to understand and analyse contemporary violent conflicts around the world and interventions addressing these conflicts.

Both minors have a strong interdisciplinary profile, combining the study of theoretical issues with the investigation of case study material.

For Master's students

Master's programmes

The MA programme International Relations in Historical Perspective bridges history and political science. The courses focus on three pressing themes in current international politics along the lines of our research focus: Europe, Global Governance, and Conflict and Security. Our staff’s extensive expertise in these fields ensures in-depth understanding of contemporary issues by tracing historical developments from a theoretical perspective.

The MA programme Conflict Studies and Human Rights fosters competent, critical and evidence-based conflict analysts. It equips students with the capacity to unravel the complexity of the web of actors and alliances producing and resisting contemporary war and violence. It provides cutting edge insight into the ways clusters of conflict cross-infect and exacerbate each other.

Students Yvonne van Laarhoven and Joram Schollaardt tell about their experiences in Utrecht University's BA programme History.
The MA programmes are connected to the Utrecht Centre for International Studies (UCIS), which encompasses 5 MA programmes in total. Students tell what UCIS contributes to their career perspectives.