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Course content

The MA in European Politics examines the political process of European integration, its origins, dynamics, and prospects. It addresses key issues in European governance including EU policy-making, federalism, democratisation/constitutionalism, and European identity.

Taught at the University’s Centre for European Governance (CEG), by renowned academics who have strong links with European political institutions, this programme will provide you with detailed knowledge and advanced critical understanding of the political process of European Union integration, its origins, dynamics and prospects within a rigorous theoretical and empirical framework.

Students have the option to study abroad in Paris, spending one term at the Centre d’études européennes de SciencesPo or Brussels, at the Free University Brussels (VUB).

The Programme Director is Professor Alison Harcourt.

Programme structure

The programme is studied over 12 months (full time) or 24 months (part time) and is University-based throughout the period. The programme comprises 180 credits in total: taught modules worth 120 credits in total, a dissertation skills module worth 15 credits and a supervised dissertation worth 60 credits. Each taught module is normally taught through lectures and seminars, underpinned by reading and essay assignments. The taught element consists of core modules, directed options and free options. Teaching takes place over two terms (October to April), followed by completion of the dissertation over the summer (May to September). 

Students also have the option to study abroad in Paris, spending one term at the Centre d’études européennes de SciencesPo as part of the programme.

Learning and teaching

With the exception of the dissertation, each module on this programme is normally taught through academic lectures expanded through seminar discussion, presentations, group work, reading and essay assignments.

You will have an individual supervisor for your dissertation, which is a 15,000 word extended essay on a topic of your choice (following discussion and approval from your supervisor).

The teaching and assessment on this programme should enable you to develop advanced knowledge of the nature of political and constitutional properties of the European Union, and of developments in European Union governance.

To compliment the programme, you are invited to attend regular seminars and workshops held with high profile external speakers.

As a graduate of the MA in European Politics you should be able to:

  • Apply the concepts and approaches of policy analysis to specific EU policy areas and issues, building on your normative understandings of European policy formation in the 1990s and since.
  • Understand and apply integration theory in conceptualising developing European policy, enabling you to critically analyse emerging patterns of interaction in the EU.
  • Synthesise and comment critically on a body of academic writing relating to EU public policy, and evaluate government and other relevant publications in light of this reading.
  • Construct and defend a rigorous argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.

You will therefore have a valuable portfolio of skills to draw upon in various situations during your future career or further academic study.

Study Abroad

As a student on this programme you may apply to spend one term at the Centre d’études européennes de SciencesPo in Paris, France. We have three places per year to offer on our Sciences Po programme, and these places are allocated on a competitive basis. You do not need French in order to participate, as you will have the option of taking modules in French or English, or a combination of both. The modules on offer at the Centre d’études européennes change year to year, but as a guide you can see the current modules on offer on the SciencesPo English Track.

If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity, and you are successful in your application, your first term will be spent at Exeter where you would normally take 60 credits of modules. Your second term will be spent at the Centre d’études européennes, where you will take an appropriate range of taught modules worth 60 credits in total from those on offer. You will be assessed at Sciences Po at the end of the second term, and the marks obtained will count towards the overall assessment for your MA. You will then return to Exeter and spend the summer months writing your dissertation under the supervision of the academic staff at Exeter.

Students may also have the opportunity to spend one term at the Free University Brussels (VUB), Belgium.

If you study this programme as a 24 month part-time student, then the term abroad may be either in the second term of your first year, or the first or second term of the second year.



Visit the MA European Politics page on the University of Exeter website for more details!

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