Political Systems and Issues: The European Union (L2038)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

The European Union as a project has changed rapidly, sometimes seismically, over its lifetime. Understanding how the EU works is an urgent task for political scientists. But it is also difficult to study the EU effectively and understand it fully as it is, in many ways, unique.

This module begins by examining the EU as a system of governance and, after a historical and theoretical overview, examines it on that basis – looking at the nature of executive, legislative and judicial politics.We also analyse processes of interest representation, economic governance, and debate the nature of democracy and identity within the EU.

The module concludes with an examination of the multiple crises which have faced the European project. We will introduce new and critical perspectives to help re-examine the past, present and possible futures of European integration.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 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 2024/25. 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: