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MA in European Union Politics

Pathway diagram for MA European Union Politics  

The Convenor for this degree is Dr John Garry who may be contacted for further information.

Flags of the EU member states
Flags of the EU member states

The MA in European Union Politics offers a carefully balanced, interdisciplinary programme designed to meet the increasing demand for knowledge about how, where and why the European Union (EU) matters as a political system and what it means for national and regional government within the UK and the wider public. Through a combination of established approaches to the study of the EU and particular perspectives on representation and on Ireland and Europe, the programme offers a comprehensive overview of the contemporary workings and impacts of the EU as a political system. The programme, which is being launched in 2010 to replace the existing MA in European Integration and Public Policy, comprises six taught modules plus a dissertation.

In the first semester of the course, students take three core modules. The first, European Union: History, Institutions, and Theory, provides an advanced level introduction to: the history of European integration; the main institutional actors in the EU (Commission, European Council, Council, European Parliament, European Courts); the principal theoretical frameworks which are used to explain both the process of European integration and EU decision-making.  The second, Representative Government and Public Opinion in Europe, explores in detail the relationship between citizens’ beliefs and preferences and political decision-making at the EU. It examines the determinants of citizens’ attitudes to European integration, the nature of elections to the European Parliament, national referenda on European issues as well as the EU’s so-called ‘democratic deficit’. The third module, Approaches to Research Design, provides a wider grounding in the approaches and methods required for advanced-level research, and prepares students for the dissertation element of the programme.

 

Berlaymont building of European Commission
Berlaymont building of European Commission

The second semester comprises two core modules plus an optional module. The first core module is Issues in European Governance which provides for the more detailed exploration of selected EU policies and governance challenges. These include competition policy, environmental policy, and enlargement. The often impenetrable jargon of the ‘Eurocracy’ is broken down, providing insights into not only the ‘what’, but also the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of European governance and policy-making.  The second module, Ireland and Europe, focuses specifically on the impact of Europe and EU membership on Ireland. It explores the implications for politics, culture and identity as well as the impact Ireland has had on Europe (Hibernicisation) in areas such as negotiation and diplomacy, conflict transformation and migration/mobility.

  

Map of EU members
Map of EU members
Throughout the year, students work on their dissertation.  This 15,000 word piece of independent research is prepared under the supervision of a member of academic staff and permits students to examine an area of particular interest in greater depth.  Students may develop research projects on any aspect of EU Politics. In recent years, dissertations supervised by academic staff teaching on the programme have looked at such topics as: the European Neighbourhood Policy; British and Irish press coverage of the EU Constitutional Treaty; EU-China relations; the EU and the Middle East peace process; euroscepticism and the British Conservative Party; and the representation of Northern Ireland in Brussels.



Testimonials for the MA in European Integration and Public Policy

‘The small size of the MA Programme, combined with a very well designed structure provided a solid foundation for personal academic development. The course content was excellent with a strong focus on both Public Policy and European Integration creating a most comprehensive and useful degree. Personnel, from the school manager to senior lecturer, proved consistently very approachable. The course at Queen’s is well designed and taught by leading professional researchers – I have already recommended it to interested colleagues and students’.

Graduate ’06, currently employed on an EU-related research project at another leading UK university


‘Doing the European masters exceeded my expectations. I finished the course with an in depth understanding of the EU institutions, integration theory, and policy processes. During the course of the program I also developed my critical thinking and writing skills. Inside the classroom, the faculty were provoking, engaging and thoroughly knowledgeable in their field. Outside the classroom, they were always helpful, friendly and available’.

Graduate ’07, currently employed at a Washington, DC think tank