Political Change: The European Union as a Global Actor (M1541)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

The emergence, over the last five and a half decades, of the European Union as a global actor of real relevance forms the basis for this module. It will chart and critically analyse this process of change from a community of six member states consumed with internal economic priorities to a union of 27 member states (and growing) whose decisions frequently have a global reach and whose troops  have undertaken missions in south-east Europe, Central Africa and the Far East.

What have been the key actors and factors behind this transformation? And where is this process of political change headed? The tutor will encourage and assist you in tackling these and other related questions in a critical manner.

The module will cover the following distinct but related topics:

  • foreign policy integration at EU level and its limits
  • the impact of new member states
  • the militarisation of the Union
  • the EU and crisis management
  • the EU and conflict prevention
  • the impact of the USA and Russia on this process of change
  • the soft power/hard power debate.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 30 hours of contact time and about 270 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: