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Unit information: The European Union: Theory and Institutions in 2021/22

Unit name The European Union: Theory and Institutions
Unit code POLIM3027
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Cini
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit examines the most advanced example of international integration, the European Union. It begins by introducing the theoretical and conceptual literatures that can be used as a a tool-box for analysing European-level issues, developments and policies. The unit then uses the theory as a lens through which to the EU’s institutions and policy process The aim of the unit is to introduce students to the different conceptual lenses that can be used to understand European Union politics and policy, ann the European integration process more generally; and to familiarise students with the workings of the EU institutions.


  • To provide an overview of contemporary debates on European integration and EU politics.
  • To introduce students to the different conceptual lenses that can be used to understand European politics and the European integration process.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • The ability to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of arguments about European integration and EU politics
  • The ability critically and comparatively to evaluate the various theories and conceptual approaches which help explain European integration and EU politics.
  • The ability to integrate theoretical and empirical materials.
  • The ability to make articulate, concise, persuasive and well-paced presentations within groups.
  • The ability to write articulately, concisely and persuasively.
  • The ability to engage in constructive discussion.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: formative 800 word essay plan Summative assessment: an essay of 4,000 words.

The oral presentation supported by a handout provides formative assessment of the student's grasp of European Union politics issues. This will be an opportunity for them to articulate in a concise and persuasive way their position both verbally and in written form; and in the ensuing discussion demonstrate the breadth and depth of their understanding of the issues raised in the literature.

The essay provides summative assessment of the student s substantive grasp of the substantive issues associated with this unit (European Union politics); and of how to engage with that substantive material in an articulate and persuasive way in written form which achieves an appropriate degree of depth but which is still concise. They will be expected to demonstrate broad knowledge of EU affairs, to identify key issues, to relate them to relevant academic theories and concepts, and to present the material in a scholarly fashion.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLIM3027).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.