The European Union of 27 member states is the largest single market of the world in terms of economic size and the EU is an important player in its wider neighbourhood and beyond. Europe has shaped world politics in profound ways over centuries, but is also affected by global events and dynamics, such as economic crises or shifts in economic and political power.
While European integration has brought about the European Union as a unique political system, individual states and regions within states still matter and economic, political, cultural and linguistic diversity persists. This diversity generates puzzles and challenges: Does Monetary Union need a centralised economic government to survive? Can a borderless Europe be achieved without building a fortress Europe to the outside? How can national democracy be preserved without undermining the potential for effective joint-action at the European level?
European Studies is an interdisciplinary field which combines insights from various disciplines, including political science, history, law, and economics, to study processes how Europe and its constituent states are being governed, how societies and cultures develop and change, and how diversity can be a source of conflict but also of new ideas. Better understanding how the continent and key parts of it works is intellectually enriching, but also prepares students for a range of careers in politics, media as well as business in the new Europe of nearly 500 million citizens.
The Department of European & International Studies was created in 2011, but builds on the achievements of the European Studies Programme created 20 years ago. It has earned an international reputation as a dynamic and challenging place for those who want to deepen their knowledge and understanding of modern Europe.
The Department has particular strengths in European foreign policy, Economic and Monetary Union, European institutions, political thought and philosophy, migration and urban spaces, and international political economy. It benefits from its close association with the Departments of French, German and Spanish, Portuguese & Latin-American Studies, as well as History and War Studies. European & International Studies offers a range of extra-curricular events, some of them supported by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (JMCE) for Law and Governance awarded to King’s by the European Union in 2008.
Our students are typically not just bright, inquisitive and open-minded, but show a lot initiative beyond their studies. For instance, many are active in the King’s College London European Society, which organises a series of events, including the annual European Week with high-profile speakers.
The department offers two distinct programmes to students interested in contemporary Europe:
The BA European Studies is a four-year interdisciplinary degree in the politics, history and culture of modern Europe but with a specialisation in a particular country and its language. Students take core modules in European history and politics, and are given the choice to pursue other areas of interest such as economics, law, and international relations. In addition, students take modules in the politics, culture and language of France, Germany or Spain and will spend their third year in one of our three partner institutions in Paris (‘Sciences Po’), Berlin (Humboldt Universität) or Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). For the final year they return to King’s to deepen their knowledge in key areas.
The BA European Politics is a three year programme for students interested in studying Europe from a political science perspective grounded in an understanding of European and national histories. It adopts a comparative perspective by giving students the opportunity to take a range of modules on specific European countries but also provides them with the theoretical tools to understand how domestic politics is also part of a European system of governance and where borders have become less significant for the circulation of people, goods and ideas. Through its compulsory modules the programme promotes an understanding of European politics as situated in and influenced by the international system and global politics. It offers substantial opportunities for specialisation in areas such as foreign policy, economic policy and political thought, plus the expertise of staff to offer supervision of an extended essay.