MA Political Science - European Politics & Policy Pathway (Standard Route)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
European Union Foreign Policy

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI70851
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


In the first few weeks the module introduces students to the basic institutional and conceptual framework of the EU’s international role, as well as theoretical and critical assessments thereof. Participants then examine the EU’s role in various policy domains, including enlargement, economic diplomacy, foreign and security policy, and the environment.  The module concludes with a reflection on the future of the EU’s relations with the world.


The aims of this module are to provide students with a theoretically informed understanding of the European Union’s international role; to examine the different tools through which the European Union pursues its external relations, particularly in economic and environmental governance; to evaluate the development of a foreign policy and security role on the part of the European Union; to familiarise students with the multiplicity of actors and decision-making processes that shape the European Union’s international presence and to analyse the evolving relations between the European Union and the rest of the world.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course students will develop a broad and specialist knowledge of the EU’s relations with its major international partners; have acquired an appreciation of critical historical junctures and patterns in the development of European Union’s international presence; be able to relate current conceptual debates to the empirical analysis of the EU’s external role and develop presentation and essay-writing skills.

Teaching and learning methods

Student-led seminars. Press reviews and debating exercises will serve as the basis for group discussion.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written assignment (inc essay) 80%

3,200 word essay (80%), presentation (20%) 

Recommended reading

  • Keukeleire, S. and Delreux, T. (2014) The Foreign Policy of the European Union; is the recommended course textbook; Chapter 2 – ‘European Integration and Foreign Policy: Historical Overview’ is the best chapter to read as an introduction to this module.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paul Tobin Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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