module specification

GI5064 - The Politics of the European Union (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title The Politics of the European Union
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay 1800 worlds
Coursework 50%   Policy Evaluation 1800
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module will examine the historical origins, political dynamics and policy output of the European Union. It focuses on the reasons for the EU’s establishment, the nature of its politics and its principal policy activities.

Module aims

This module has three principal aims:

  1. It will explore the historical origins of Union and its predecessor bodies in the first two decades after WWII. What agents and factors facilitated such a innovative development in European political history?
  2. It will explore the political character of the Union. What sort of organisation is it in political terms? How democratic is it?
  3. It will examine its principal policy outputs, including economic, monetary, social and foreign policies


- The historical evolution of the EU from the foundation of the ECSC
- Explanatory Theories of Integration: neo-functionalism and state-centred
- Conceptualising the EU: What is it? Federation, confederation, consociation, other.
- Democracy and the European Union
The Principal Policies of the EU:
                                 Movement and Migration
                                 Foreign and defence
- Dynamics of change: Brexit and the future of integration

Learning and teaching

This module will be taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. It will also exploit weblearn to deliver materials (reading, seminar materials, video material, feedback) which can support seminar work and the independent learning of students.
To support the employability component of the degree, two seminars will be devoted to a detailed analysis of the policy making process (formulation of proposals; legislative process; implementation). Students will be asked to simulate the formulation and ‘piloting’ of a proposal through the various stages of development.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module students will:

  1. Possess a firm grasp of the political and economic factors that have shaped the historical evolution of the European Union
  2. Gain a capacity to evaluate critically competing formal explanatory theories of European integration
  3. Understand and critique the conceptual debates concerning the political nature of the EU
  4. Gain a knowledge and understanding of the nature and significance of its principal policy responsibilities and the ways in which they have reshaped European politics and economics.

Assessment strategy

There will be one short piece of formative assessment (600 words). This will require students to provide a briefing on the powers, responsibilities, strengths and weaknesses of one of the EU’s key institutions (Commission, Council, Court of Justice, Parliament) to be submitted through turnitin. This provides students with and opportunity to hone their written communication skills and ensure that they have grasped some of the basic characteristics of the EU. Submission will be through turnitin

There will then be two forms of summative assessment on this module:

  1. 1,800 word essay. Titles to be provided by tutor
  2. 1,900 word policy evaluation. Students will have to select an area of EU policy and describe its development and evaluate its nature and significance in relation to the EU as a whole. Policy areas to be specified by tutor


Cini, M and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán, European Union Politics, OUP,  2016
Chang, M. (2009) Monetary Integration in the European Union, Palgrave
Chryssochoou, D.N. (2008) Theorizing European Integration, Routledge
Dinan, D. (2006) Origins and Evolution of the EU, Palgrave
Hix, S. (2010) The Political System of the European Union, Palgrave
McCann, D. (2017) The Political Economy Europe in the 21st Century, Palgrave
Wallace, H., Pollack, M. and Young , A.(2015) Policy-Making in the European Union, OUP