Public Safety, International Security and Industrial Safety are the three pillars of SSMS. In years two and three, you’ll also be introduced to more contemporary forms of security that affect our society, such as various forms of radicalisation and emerging forms of transnational crime. SSMS offers a specialised theoretical framework 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 recognise patterns in society and organisations that only people with a special set of knowledge and skills can do. This is exactly why organisations such as the NATO, Tesla, Eurocontrol, the OPCW, Friesland Campina and intelligence agencies from around the world, depend on the expert knowledge of our graduates. 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’ll first have to attain a basic understanding of the many ways safety and security are interlinked with modern society. This is why year one focuses on introductory courses like International Law, Criminology, Psychology, Economics, Policy Making, Business Administration and management courses. Before you even think about advising commercial companies and governmental institutions on their security policies, you’ll have to take their organisational structure and culture into account.
We also approach various SSMS topics and themes from a more practical perspective during group projects. For example, in module 3 you’ll explore the streets and districts of The Hague looking for potential safety and security concerns in the surroundings. Security management is all about the details. In module 4 we concentrate on safety auditing, which includes visits to military bases. These introductory practical projects will allow you to focus on the specifics of safety management 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 acquired in year one. For example, during the second term you’ll be introduced to Industrial Safety. This could be as straightforward as evaluating new safety protocols at a factory, or as complex as designing crisis scenarios at Schiphol Airport. In the second half of year two, you’ll learn how international institutions tackle safety and security issues on a daily basis. More reading? Certainly, but you’ll also take part in group projects creating simulation exercises and assessing risks and threat for major international events. International security management is as much about politics as it is about intelligence. Just because you feel a particular security procedure will do the job, it doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way.
Year three is more about the ‘how’ of SSMS in addition to the ‘why’. You’ll become acquainted with the professional values needed for safety management. You’ll 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, the Organisation for the Prohibitions of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited us and asked students to analyse the weapons industry and anticipate potential risks. We’ve also welcomed European directors from multinationals like Siemens and Tesla, who came to share their current concerns - as well as cherry pick our students’ knowledge and creativity.
Internship and graduation
The first three challenging but insightful years on SSMS will be your springboard to a successful international internship in year four. And your career. We’ll help you choose a suitable internship thanks to our wide array of partnerships with companies including Europol, the Dutch Intelligence Service (AIVD) and NATO. 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 may go to the Dutch Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division (EODD), followed by an internship at Daimler, or design efficient air transport systems at Eurocontrol (the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation). We encourage students to write their thesis about a specific safety and security issue that their host company faces. And more often than not, these organisations will explain the issues they face during the internship, giving you pointers on how to solve them.
During year three, you’ll get the chance to specialise as a safety management professional in three minors. Advanced Criminology focuses 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 Russian mafia activities? In this minor, we also deal with corruption. 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, the minor Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism might be more your thing. Do you consider yourself more of an agent collecting and analysing data? Well, during the minor of Applied Intelligence you will discover first-hand how important the proper analysis and processing of confidential information and evidence can be in many fields in the public as well as private sector. And how increasingly important digital information on the dark web has become. Of course, as an SSMS student, you’ll also be able to follow THUAS minors at other faculties.
SSMS is the first bachelors programme in Europe that offers safety and security management at an international level. The intercultural character of the SSMS classroom will you give a clear understanding of how different nations deal with safety and security and where there is room for improvement. This approach echoes in all SSMS courses, including the many guest lectures given by ‘officials’ currently working at Scotland Yard and the Dutch Intelligence Service (AIVD). And yes, their names and résumés may be as secretive as the work they do. During excursions in year two and three you’ll visit military bases and advanced prison systems, where you’ll see how they apply the safety and security measures you learned about in year one.
We assume your time on SSMS will run smoothly. But, we do offer personal assistance if you are experiencing any study problems. A coach can help you keep track of your study progress and further guide your career development. He/she can help improve your time management skills, for example, or find the right people within the programme to answer more complicated questions. They will also support you if you have any personal problems that can adversely affect your schoolwork.
If you haven’t acquired the basics needed to continue the degree programme of your choice, you will have a hard time completing it successfully. To make sure that you have these basics, you will have to meet an academic progress standard during your first year as a student (the foundation year). If you have earned at least 50 of the 60 credits (or, if relevant, have satisfied a qualitative requirement), the Examination Board will give you a positive binding study advice to continue your degree programme. In most cases, if you earn fewer than 50 credits, you will receive a Negative Binding Study Advice (NBSA) and you will have to leave the degree programme.
But the Examination Board will always consider personal circumstances. These could include illness or participating in elite sports: personal conditions that might have kept you from meeting the required academic standard. In such cases, the Examination Board can postpone giving its study advice. This means that you can continue your degree programme for the time being and that your study advice will be issued later, possibly with additional conditions imposed.
It is important, however, that you inform the Examination Board immediately of any personal conditions that might apply to you.
In conclusion: every student is responsible for his or her own academic progress. For this reason, make sure to contact your academic career coach early on if things are not going well. Read all the rules and requirements for the binding study advice in Chapter 7 of the Programme and Examination Regulations (PER) for your degree programme.