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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Social and Political Science

Undergraduate Course: An Introduction to the European Union (LLLJ07010)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is not available to University of Edinburgh matriculated students. This is a for-credit course offered by the Centre for Open Learning (COL); only students registered with COL should be enrolled.
The EU now plays a central role in all our lives but is little understood. This course examines this role, exploring the controversies and myths that surround this important political entity. It introduces the workings of the EU, by analysing its history, institutions and policies. Debate the role of the EU now and in the future. A highly topical course.
Course description 1. History of the EU: Tracing the Treaties
The origins and development of the EU, from the ECSC to EC to EU.
2. Theories of European Integration
An examination of the two major theories of European Integration, Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Neo-functionalism. Which provides the best explanation?
3. Commission and Council
An introduction to the institutions of the EU, including an examination of the debate over which is the more dominant institution and an analysis of the democratic credentials of the two decision making bodies.
4. Parliament and the Policy-making Process
The importance of the European Parliament and its role in the democratic deficit.
5. European Court of Justice and EU Law
Is it only the ECJ that can adequately ensure that member states and EU institutions are held accountable for infringements of EU policies? Has the ECJ overstepped its ¿role¿ in forwarding European integration?
6. 1st Pillar (a): The Single Market and Market-Cushioning Policies
This second part of the course examines the policies of the EU including the importance of the single market and the contradiction of social policy, the Common Agricultural Policy, environmental policy, etc.
7. European Monetary Union
An analysis of the history and significance of EMU.
8. 1st Pillar (b): Common Foreign and Security Policy
Does the EU need a common foreign and defence policy?
9. 2nd Pillar: Justice and Home Affairs
An examination of immigration policy, terrorism and the free movement of people.
10. The Future EU: Enlargement and the EU Reform Treaty
A discussion on further enlargement, and how the EU is likely to develop in the future. This includes a discussion on Turkey alongside the debates on deeper integration and the significance of the recent Reform Treaty.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe the workings, functions and powers of the European Union's institutions and policy making processes
  2. Understand European Union integration and the operations of the EU as a political system
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the standard concepts, theories and methods deployed in understanding and explaining European Union integration
Reading List
Cini, M. and Perez-Solorzano Borragan, N. eds., 2010., European Union Politics. 3rd ed. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Nugent, N., 2010. The Government and Politics of the European Union. 7th ed. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave
Peterson, J. and Shackleton, M. eds., 2006. The Institutions of the European Union. 2nd ed. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Richardson, J., ed., 2005. European Union: Power and Policy-Making. 3rd ed., London; New York: Routledge.
Wallace, H., Pollack, M. and Young, A., 2010. Policy-Making in the European Union. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Web sources
Journals: the most useful journals for this course are Journal of Common Market Studies (JCMS), Journal of European Integration, Journal of European Public Policy (JEPP), West European Politics (WEPS), European Union Politics, European Law Journal, and Common Market Law Review.
Many of the journals to which the library subscribes can also be accessed electronically and their articles downloaded. For an up-to-date alphabetical list of these, consult the library website. The online library catalogue is available at
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr James Mooney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3077
Course secretaryMr Benjamin Mcnab
Tel: (0131 6)51 4832
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