Undergraduate Modules: POL206 - The Politics and Government of the European Union

Module Code:


Module Title:

The Politics and Government of the European Union


Level 2


Semester 1 (Autumn)


20 Credits

Taught by:

Professor Simon Bulmer

Module Description:

This module will provide students with an understanding of:

  • classical and contemporary theories of integration/the European project;
  • the history of integration;
  • the main institutions of the European Union;
  • selected contemporary issues related to the politics and government of the European Union and their broader context.

The module is presented as a series of lectures and seminars.

Module Aims:

This module aims to provide an understanding of the politics and government of the European Union. By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of European integration since 1945, theories of integration, the main institutions of the European Union, and some key issues in European integration.
  • Deploy different theories in order to analyse the historical and contemporary politics and government of the EU and its antecedents
  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, including understanding core concepts and theories, developing the capacity for independent learning through access to general learning resources, making individual seminar presentations.

This module also equips students with a range of important transferrable skills, which are vital in terms of employability, including working independently and as part of a team; managing a varied workload; assimilating and synthesising multiple data sources; constructing coherent arguments; and preparing written reports and verbal presentations.

Module Schedule:

Week Topic
1 What is European integration/the EU and why does it matter?
2 From Post-war reconstruction to the European Coal and Steel Community
3 THEORY I: Classical theories of European integration
4 From Treaty of Rome to “Eurosclerosis”
5 From Single European Act to Maastricht to today
6 European Institutions
7 THEORY II: “New” theories in European studies
8 Europeanisation and Enlargement
9 Democracy and the Politics of Constitutionalising the EU
10 Economic Governance and the Euro
11 The EU in the World: What kind of actor?
12 Globalisation and the EU

Teaching Methods:

  • 12 * 1 hour lectures
  • 12 * 1 hour seminars


  • Essay - 50% of mark
  • Exam - 50% of mark

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with module tutors.
  • Detailed 20-30 page module handbook.
  • Dedicated module intranet site.
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.

Indicative Reading:

Bache, I., George, S. and Bulmer, S. (2011) Politics in the European Union, third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bomberg, E. and Stubb, A. (ed.) (2008) The European Union: How Does it Work? second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cini, M. and Perez-Solorzano Borragan, N. (eds.) (2010) European Union Politics, third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jorgensen, K., Pollack, M. and Rosamond, B. (2007) Handbook of European Union Politics. London: Sage.

McCormick, J. (2011) Understanding the European Union, fifth edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nugent, N. (2010) The Government and Politics of the European Union, seventh edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Peterson, J. and Shackleton, M. (2006) The Institutions of the European Union, second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richardson, J. (ed.) (2005) European Union: Power and Policy-Making, third edition, London: Routledge.

Rumford, C. (ed.) (2009) Handbook of European Studies. London: Sage.

Wallace, H., Pollack, M., Young, A. (eds) (2010) Policy-Making in the European Union, sixth edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Watts, D. (2008) The European Union. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

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