Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and Geostrategy [Summer School]


Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and GeostrategyThe Russian annexation of Crimea, the development of the Nicaragua canal and the melting ice of the Arctic underline the continued importance of questions about the interaction between geography and power. The “Geopolitical Theories and Methods” Summer School helps you better understand the wide variety of ideas about geopolitics, geoeconomics and geostrategy. The lectures teach you the ways in which they have been conceptualized in different national, political and academic contexts. What is difference between the Heartland and the Rimland? How decisive is geography in human behaviour? And is it possible to do geopolitical research objectively? You further learn how to apply a French geopolitical method and a critical discourse analysis method. The first is valuable to structure your own geopolitical research, the second to assess the geopolitical claims of others. Next to giving two talks, you write a paper in which you discuss a theory or apply a method of your choice. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Geopolitical Concepts” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 25 – 29 July 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “I should also highlight Leonhardt’s advanced teaching skills that made the program the best summer training course in my entire academic career. After 5-6 hours of study no one wanted to leave the classroom!” — Irina, PhD candidate, Czech Republic
    • “Leonhardt’s class was really thought provoking as he pushed us to think and share our ideas and thoughts on the topics under discussion.” — Ady, business professional, Qatar
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on the result
  • Application deadline is 4 July 2016. Applications hereafter are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding the multi-dimensional nature of the interaction between geography and politics
  • Working with different approaches towards geopolitics, geoeconomics and geostrategy
  • Explaining the role of geography in political, economic and military processes (e.g. in the South China Sea, Syria and Ukraine) in a more coherent way

Course Participants

  • Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and GeostrategyTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master students from all disciplines who would like to know more about geopolitics, geoeconomics and geostrategy to improve their research skills and career prospects
    • PhD students who would like to know how to apply geopolitical, geoeconomic and geostrategic theories and methods in their research
    • Professionals who need a deeper understanding of geopolitical, geoeconomic and geostrategic ideas for their work
  • Number of participants: 7-15

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and GeostrategyPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Geopolitical Concepts” Summer School]

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Geopolitical Theories


  1. Please, send me information on the following:
    1. Programme
    2. Duration
    3. Housing
    4. Fees
    5. visas



  2. Dear Dr. Van Efferink,

    I’m a recent graduate from an Australian university who majored in International Business. I’d be interested in doing a number of your courses for professional and personal development, however being on the other side of the world makes that quiet difficult. Do you do/or have you ever done, any online geopolitics or geoeconomics courses or workshops that do not require a physical presence in Europe?

    Thanks for your time,

    James G.

    • Leonhardt van Efferink

      Dear James,
      Thanks for your question. No, I haven’t offered any online courses yet. The main idea behind my Summer Schools is that through a physical presence of the students, the interactive setting and direct feedback in class, students get a unique learning experience. Bonding with each other and me is also a key aspect of the Summer School, which is only possible if you spent time together and have drinks and dinner after class. In the past, I had students as far away as Peru, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Angola, Indonesia, China and Japan, so distance does not need to be an issue to come to my Summer Schools. However, if it is for you, I would of course fully understand. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Kind regards, Leonhardt

  3. Pingback: Geopolitical Theories and Methods summer school, Maastricht

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