Overall, the SSMS programme covers three pillars: Public Safety, International Security and Industrial Safety. Furthermore, in year two and three you will also be introduced to other, more contemporary forms of security that affect our society, such as cyber-terrorism and emerging forms of transnational crime. SSMS’ has a specialised theoretical framework, mixed with a variety of hands-on group projects and guest lectures given by knowledgeable experts from our extensive network. All this will help you connect the dots of seemingly unrelated issues and to recognise patterns in society and organisations that no one else can. This is exactly why organisations such as the NATO, Tesla Motors, Eurocontrol, the OPCW, Friesland Campina and intelligence agencies from around the world, depend on the expert knowledge our graduates can offer in the fourth year. And why their employability in safety and security management is so high.
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The first year is the foundation (propaedeutic) year.
To be an SSMS professional, you will first have to attain a basic understanding of the many ways safety and security are entwined with modern society. This is why the first year focuses on introductory courses like: International Law, Criminology, Psychology, Economics, Policy Making, Business Administration and various management courses. Before even thinking about advising commercial companies and governmental institutions on their security policies, you will first have to take their organisational structure and culture into account.
To complement these theoretical courses we further introduce our students to SSMS by approaching various topics and themes from a more practical perspective during group projects. As an example: in module three you will roam the streets and districts of The Hague, looking for safety and security breaches. Where are criminals most likely to strike? And how you can make an existing environment safer? As an SSMS student your appreciate security management is all in the details. In module four we also concentrate on safety auditing, which includes several visits to military bases. These introductory practical projects will force you to focus on the specifics of safety management first, before moving on to larger environments in the second and third year, which deal with even greater risks.
Year two is all about deepening the knowledge you acquire in year one. During the first term you will be introduced to Industrial Safety. This could be as straightforward as evaluating the initiation of new safety protocols at a factory, or as complex as designing crises scenarios at the Port of Rotterdam. In the second half of year two you will learn how international institutions tackle safety and security issues on a daily basis. Great, more books! Not really. Among other group projects, you will participate in simulations exercises. During these sessions - much like mock-trials prepare lawyers for their big day in court - you will play out different roles. You could be representing the EU, for example, or Syria, the US, and even a terror group. International security management is as much about politics as it is about intelligence. Just because you feel a particular security procedure will hit the spot, doesn’t mean everyone feels the same way.
Year three is all about the ‘how’ of SSMS, as opposed to the ‘why’. You will become acquainted with the professional values needed for safety management. And also be expected to take on a more advisory role in the field of safety and security management, consulting with companies on their current security issues. Last year, for instance, OPCW (the Organisation for the Prohibitions of Chemical Weapons) visited us and asked students to analyse the weapon industry and intercept potential risks for the coming years. We have also welcomed European directors of multinationals like General Motors and TESLA, who came to share their current concerns, as well as to cherry-pick our students’ knowledge and creativity.
Internship and graduation
These three challenging but insightful years at SSMS will be your springboard to a successful international internship in year four, and later to a career as a professional. Thanks to our wide array of partnerships with companies that include: Europol, the AIVD (Dutch Intelligence Service) and NATO, we will definitely be able to help you choose a suitable internship. That said, SSMS students are usually quite certain what sort of internship they are looking for. Some might start off at the NATO School in Naples, helping to design professional military training programmes. Others go to the Dutch Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division (EODD), followed by an internship at Daimler, or designing efficient air transport systems at Eurocontrol (the European Organisation for the Safety of air Navigation). We urge students to write their thesis about a specific safety and security issue their host company faces. And more often than not, these organisations will explain the issues they face during the internship, giving students pointers on how to solve them.
During year three you will get the chance to specialise as a safety management professional via three minors. Advanced Criminology will focus on violence, drugs and fraud. How do you reduce youth crime in an Amsterdam neighbourhood like ‘De Bijlmer’ for example? Or make sure that innocent bystanders are not injured through the activities of the Russian Mafia? In this minor we also deal with corruption and the first question that might pop into your head is: how do you trace back illegal financial transactions conducted by FIFA? You could be more interested in the new ways intelligence agencies are fighting ‘the war on terror’? If so, then Terrorism and Counter Terrorism, a minor in collaboration with Leiden University, might be more your thing. Do you consider yourself more of a CSI aficionado? Well, during the minor of Applied Intelligence you will discover first-hand how important confidential evidence can be. And how increasingly important digital information on the dark web has become. Of course, as a SSMS student, you’ll also be able to follow THUAS minors at other faculties.
SSMS is the only Bachelor’s programme in Europe that offers Safety and Security Management at an international level. The intercultural character of the SSMS classroom gives students a clear understanding of how different nations deal with safety and security, and where there is room for improvement. This pertinent approach echoes in all SSMS’ courses, including the many guest lectures given by ‘officials’ currently working at Scotland Yard and the AIVD (Dutch Intelligence Service). And yes, their names and resumes are as secretive as the work they do. Among excursions in year two and three, including one to Europol, you will get to visit military bases and advanced prison systems, where you will see how they apply the safety and security measures you learned about in year one.
We assume your time at SSMS will run smoothly. But, if you are experiencing any study problems, we offer personal assistance. A coach can help you keep track of your study progress and further guide your career development. He or she can help you improve your time-management skills for example, or find the right people within the programme to answer more complicated questions. He or she will also support you if you have any personal problems that can adversely affect your schoolwork
In the first year, you are expected to earn at least 50 of the 60 credits available. In some cases, as part of the 50 credits, you will need have passed a certain subject.
If you fulfil all requirements, the Examination Board will issue a positive study advice and you can continue with your degree programme. If you fail to meet these requirements, you will be issued a negative binding study advice and will be required to leave the degree programme.
The Examination Board may take personal circumstances into consideration, such as illness or participation in professional sports. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The study advice may be deferred, possibly with certain conditions attached that must be fulfilled during the following academic year.
You are personally responsible for your academic progress, so make sure to contact your academic career coach early on if things are not going well.