Department of Political Science


The European Union: Institutions and Politics

Course Code


Course Tutor

Dr Christopher Wratil (Department of Political Science)


One 3000 word essay (50%) and one 2 hour exam (50%)

Credit Value


About this course

This module introduces the European Union’s institutions, politics and decision-making, and discusses the key political challenges and questions of governance faced by EU policy-makers today. Students will acquire the empirical knowledge, theoretical understanding and transferable skills necessary to analyse, explain and evaluate the EU’s institutions, politics and legitimacy. 

Teaching on this module mixes lectures and seminars, including small group discussions, simulation games, student presentations and applied research exercises. 

The module starts with the theoretical debate about the nature of European integration, before introducing the EU's institutions and decision-making, and discussing its executive, legislative and judicial politics. The module then analyses current issues and challenges of European governance, including lobbying, public opinion, legitimacy, Brexit and compliance with EU law. In all sessions, students will learn to apply theories of Political Science to current political developments in the EU and its member states, and to empirical examples from the EU’s policy-process.

By the end of the module, students will have

  • learned to apply and critically evaluate competing theories of European integration;
  • gained an in-depth knowledge of the EU’s institutions, decision-making and politics;
  • engaged with the conceptual and normative debate about supranational governance;
  • learned to critically assess empirical evidence and present theoretical arguments;
  • trained transferable skills for the analytical study of politics and policy-making.

This is a core module for students registered on the MSc European Public Policy programme and is not available as an optional module.