Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 Hour
Seminars / Tutorials 8 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,000 word essay  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  70%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate, through written work and examination, knowledge of the central aspects of political life in major European states
2. Show, through written work and examination, an awareness of the different political systems operating across major European states
3. Write essays in an academic context
4. Use appropriate referencing techniques
5. Compile a bibliography
6. Identify and implement appropriate reading strategies

Brief description

This course has been designed as an innovative way of introducing students to important countries in Europe, key features of the European Union, and some of the major features of European political life. The module will examine the historical development of each state; the major features of their constitutions and political systems; the social and economic context within which politics occurs; and the main features of political competition. The module will conclude with some discussion of the implications of the EU'r development for these states and for Europe.



1. Introduction to Module
2. State-building (UK)
3. Elections and Electoral Systems (UK)
4. The Role of Political Executives (France)
5. Political Economy (France)
6. Federalism (Germany)
7. Political Culture (Germany)
8. Regionalism and 'Nations' (Spain)
9. Minority Politics (Spain and Europe)
10. Civil Society in Eastern Europe (Central & East Europe)
11. Transitions to Democracy (Russia)
12: The History of European Integration (EU)
13. How the EU Works (or Doesn't)
14. The Member States and the EU
16. The EU and its Citizens
15. EU Enlargement
16. The EU in the World
18. Conclusion - Roundtable and Exam Briefing

1. The UK
2. France
3. Germany
4. Spain & Minority Politics in Europe
5. Russia and Central and East Europe
6. The EU: History, Institutions and Citizens
7. The EU: Key Issues
8. The Future of Politics in Europe


This module will be one of six modules offered by the Department to first year undergraduate students. The module will incorporate substantial conceptual material but will aim to make this material more accessible by grounding the introduction of central concepts within the context of a range of major European countries.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as BIDS and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 4