KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

European Union: History, Institutions and Politics (Module)

Module description

Please note that module information is indicative and may change year to year.

This module provides a comprehensive exploration of the history, institutions and politics of European integration since 1945. It begins by evaluating competing theories of integration that help us to explain the historical development of the EU. It then analyses the institutional framework established for managing this process and how and why it has evolved over time. The module focuses on key policies at the EU level, and addresses a number of contemporary issues facing the EU today. In particular, we explore a number of EU policy issues including economic and monetary union, EU budget, common agricultural policy and cohesion and structural funds, environmental and social policy, justice and home affairs as well as foreign, security and defence policy. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how, why and to what extent these policy areas have been transferred to the European level, and the challenges and opportunities that the EU faces in managing them in the future.

Module aims

The module aims to:

Provide a thorough understanding of the history, institutions and politics in the European Union;

Introduce principal theories of European integration and policy-making;

Examine the EU decision-making procedures and the role of the European Commission, the European Council, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers;

Introduce students to a number of EU policy areas including economic and monetary union, EU budget, common agricultural policy and cohesion and structural funds, environmental and social policy, justice and home affairs as well as foreign, security and defence policy;

Allow students to assess critically empirical evidence and apply their theoretical knowledge to existing pieces of EU legislation.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of EU integration and its history, institutions and politics;

Demonstrate a knowledge of the EU institutions and their role in the policy-making process;

Demonstrate a knowledge of EU decision-making procedures;

Critically assess the role of EU institutions across a number of EU policy areas;

Demonstrate an understanding of the potential and limitations of key theoretical approaches;

Seek out key information on EU legislation through the EU’s public document databases;

Effectively communicate information and argument in oral and written form.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

One hour lecture and one hour seminar, weekly

Indicative teaching schedule

Week 1: Introduction: A Brief History of European Integration
Week 2: Explaining the EU: Theories of Integration
Week 3: The European Council and the European Commission
Week 4: The Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the Court of Justice
Week 5: The Single Market and Economic and Monetary Union
Week 6: Expenditures policies: The Budget, the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy
Week 7: The Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
Week 8: Trade and development policy
Week 9: Enlargement, CFSP and CSDP
Week 10: Brexit, legitimacy and the future of the EU

Note that this teaching schedule is indicative and subject to change.

Module assessment - more information

One assessed oral presentation (15%) and one 4,000 word essay (85%)

Key information

Module code 7AAOM007

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework presentation/s

Credit value 20

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module Yes