Module code: POLM025

Module provider


Module Leader


Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ARTICLE CRITIQUE (2000 WORDS) 40
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 60

Alternative Assessment

Students will answer a different question from the list provided.

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module provides an introduction to the institutions of the European Union, analysing it as a political system. The European Union presents a novel form of governance, integrating national systems into a structure that transforms them. Working from an introductory framing of the Union in both historical and theoretical terms, the module focuses on exploring and understanding the key institutions of the Union, their structures, operations and interactions. It also asks whether the EU has the institutions that it needs for effective, legitimate governance.


Module aims

Consolidate, contextualise and develop students' knowledge of the institutions of the European Union

Provide students with skills and tools to analyse those institutions

Introduce and discuss the key literature to students

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Identify the main institutions and characteristic institutional features of the European Union KC
2 Understand the evolution of the EU as a political system KC
3 Explain the interaction between institutions at both the EU and national levels KC
4 Critically evaluate the EU as a political system CP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

The module will work from an initial contextualisation, through key institutions and into a consideration of how they interact, both which each other and with other bodies.

The following list gives an indication of topics that are covered in this module:

Introduction: The EU as a political system
The Evolution of the EU Since 1952
Leading the Union: the European Council
Legislating for the Union: Council of Ministers and European Parliament
Administering the Union: the Commission
Interpreting the Union: the Court of Justice and Court of First Instance
Running the Euro-zone: the Central Bank
Representing the Union: the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, the President of the European Council, and the Commission
Making it all work: the interaction of the institutions
Evaluating the system: effectiveness, legitimacy, reform


Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Ensure that students are well prepared for class by providing the key literature, which connects with the core debates.
Give students an opportunity to discuss specific questions pertaining to the issues scheduled for discussion on weekly topics.
Enable all students to participate in the discussion. Hence a range of techniques is used including whole glass and small group discussions.
Develop students’ oral skills through student presentations as well as reporting back from seminar discussions and engaging in debates.
Ensure that all students connect with the topic being discussed and can understand and utilise the key analytical arguments to explain/understand it.


The learning and teaching methods include: Lectures, seminars, discussions, debates, presentations, independent reading.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their theoretical and empirical knowledge of a particular topic by enabling them to apply relevant analytical frameworks, including theory to complex issues in the institutional architecture of the EU. The assessment pattern enables students to analyse and critique the existing literature and evaluate different institutions and institutional settings in more depth and to make evident their ability to conduct research and construct a reasoned argument. Hence the assessment strategy is closely aligned to the module aims and learning outcomes as specified above.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Two essays as described above in the assessment pattern.

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback in tutorials and written feedback from the summative assessment in writing.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.