PIR-20081 - The Politics of the European Union
Coordinator: Gemma Loomes Room: CBA1.038 Tel: +44 1782 7 34236
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

This module introduces students to the study of the European Union. We cover the EU's historical evolution, its institutions (such as the European Commission and the European Parliament) and selected policies. Over the course of the module we critically engage with a number of debates, including: Whose interests does the EU represent? How democratic is the EU? What impact does the EU have on domestic politics? How effective is the EU as a global actor? A series of lectures introduce students to key aspects of the EU and tutorials engage with the debates in more detail.

To introduce students to the study of post-WW2 European integration.
To familiarise students with the operation of the European Union through an analysis of its main institutions and selected policies.
To introduce students to the increased political tension within the EU.
To instil in students a critical ability to understand the politics of the European Union within its member states.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

identify and assess the contextual factors motivating European integration from 1945 to present: 1,2
critically examine the relationships between different actors in EU politics (including between institutions, member states and non-governmental actors): 1,2
critically assess how EU policy is made and which interests are involved in the policy-making process: 1,2
critically assess the impact of the EU on both domestic and international politics: 1,2
critically assess the EU's claims to democratic legitimacy and relate this to broader notions of democracy and legitimacy: 1,2
explain the EU's institutional structure and also the make-up, role and competences of the EU's major institutions: 1,2

Study hours

9 hours: 9 1 hour lectures
9 hours: 9 1 hour tutorials
30 hours: tutorial preparation
102 hours: assessment preparation and completion

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 50%
2000-word essay
Students are required to choose an essay question from an approved list.

2: Essay weighted 50%
1500 word, 48 hour essay
Students are to choose two questions from an approved list. The test assesses a student's comprehensive grasp of the core features of EU politics and institutions. Students will have 48 hours to complete the essays upon release of the questions.