About the course
Switch on the news any day of the week, or pick up just about any national newspaper, and you will be sure to come across an item on Europe. It is clear that the future of Europe is a geo-political question of profound importance for the future of the world we live in. Yet, few of us truly understand the complex phenomenon that is modern Europe.
In order to achieve such an understanding, one must examine Europe’s economic, legal, and sociological context, as well as its historical origins. Just as important is an understanding of Europe’s rich cultural traditions. The artists, writers, musicians, composers and film-makers of Europe have exerted a cultural influence that even now is not eclipsed by the dominance of America on the world’s stage.
Based within our Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (CISH), European studies is a subject that approaches the complex idea of Europevia a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. We have expertise in modern languages, literature, film, history of art, history, politics and sociology, with experienced staff in all disciplines. Our four-year course means that you can spend your third year in Europe, learning a second language and immersing yourself in European cultures.
Here at Essex, our teaching and research in European studies offers maximum flexibility for you to study areas that interest you, so you can pursue a wide range of topics including:
- European identity and the development of the EU
- Representations of non-Europeans in art
- Europe’s colonial history
- Religion in Europe
- EU law
The study of Europe is vital for ongoing discussion of what Europe’s future ought to be; a discussion that will profoundly affect every European citizen. Through a course in European studies, you can acquire the knowledge, skills and experience to make an active contribution to one of the most important political and cultural processes of the century.
We are proud that our European Studies students are some of the happiest in the country, gaining 96% student satisfaction (NSS 2014) which puts us second in the UK, and that as a university we are top 5 in the UK for social science research (REF 2014).
“It has been easy to settle in and find new friends because of the variety of societies and clubs to join, and the staff have been very friendly and supportive. My modules have given me a broad understanding of Europe, and enabled me to access a wide range of career opportunities."
Andreas Andreou, BA European Studies
Your education extends beyond our University campus. You can spend your third year at one of the European universities with whom we have an exchange agreement, at no extra cost.
You have the choice of studying European Studies with or without one or more modern European languages. If you choose to study languages then you will spend your year abroad in a country in which that language is spoken. If you choose to study European Studies without a language, your year aboard will be taught in English, and you choose from a range of European countries
Studying abroad allows you to explore and become immersed in European culture, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
Our expert staff
You are taught by a highly qualified, enthusiastic team with wide-ranging research interests and proven academic track record.
Our staff teach in departments across the university, and specialise in a wide range of topics including European politics, economics, law, societies, history, literature, film, philosophy and art.
Current research is exploring EU-China relations and security operations, the analysis of civil security systems in Europe, and EU social policy.
A year abroad can develop your confidence, independence, maturity and other invaluable life skills. These are exactly the combination of skills and experience most in demand from a wide range of employers.
This course provides excellent preparation for areas which include import/export management, banking and financial sectors, academia, airlines, information technology, management, museums, teaching, non-governmental offices, and development agencies in the UK and abroad.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of organisations including:
- The Civil Service (especially the Foreign Office)
- Embassies around the world
- The European Council on Foreign Relations
- The Europe Direct Contact Centre in Brussels
- The Spanish Congress of Deputies
- LEAD Europe
Other recent graduates have also undertaken traineeships with the European Commission, for the Directorate-General for Education and Culture, and various internships in journalism and with NGOs.
We also work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.
Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.
What created a European identity? Was it religion, politics, war, art? And how do Europeans interact with the world? How is Europe viewed from afar? By studying themes like the Reformation, and focusing on individual writers and artists, test the idea and myth of Europe from many perspectives.
Study the factors that divided Europe throughout the 20th century. You will then look at the attempts to overcome these divisions and the obstacles that need to be removed to achieve change. The main focus of this module is on the history of Western Europe. It enables you to understand the political and economic factors that shaped European integration.
What legal issues are involved with widening the EU? How is EU law supreme? What damages are there for non-implementation of a directive? Study EU constitutional and substantive law. Understand the role of EU institutions and build knowledge of EU law for gender equality, free movement of workers and competition.
How do we forge, manage, and maintain better relationships between nations? How do relationships between countries affect the decision-making of governments? You study specific historical events including the two world wars and the cold war, as well as contemporary issues including security issues, nuclear technology, and drone warfare.
Want to build your confidence when both speaking and writing in French? Develop your university-level French language skills, improving your aural comprehension while boosting your grammar knowledge and vocabulary. Learn to appreciate, summarise and evaluate a piece of text. Expand your understanding of French culture and society.
Are you ready for graduate employment? Like to improve your core skills? Wish you had some relevant work or volunteering experience? Attend workshops, events and activities at the University and elsewhere to build your knowledge, abilities and experience. Polish your CV, while developing your employability, citizenship and life skills.
Are you ready to study abroad? How will it improve your French? Prepare for your period abroad by examining how your language skills will develop, alongside topics related to French gastronomy, music, and suburban life. Study literature, with a focus on creative writing and participate in assessed filmed role-plays.
You will study European medicine from the decline of Galenism to the brink of germ theory, and explore the major changes in medical thinking during this period. Gain an understanding of the differences and similarities between Britain and France, especially when considering the "birth of the clinic" around 1800. You also investigate the changing character of doctor-patient relations, the rise of the man-midwife and the politics of medical professionalisation.
How should we approach relationships between different countries? Explore different theoretical lenses through which the world can be viewed, including realist, liberalist, and post-positivist theories of the behaviour of international political actions.
Want to do a dissertation in your final year? Have a great idea for a topic that you wish to study in depth? The short lectures, practical research exercises and discussion opportunities on this module help you develop your own coherent research project.
Got an idea for a project, job or not-for-profit enterprise that will enhance local well-being? We study the concept and practice of social entrepreneurship, using case studies of work that has helped local communities, people or the environment. From this, you develop your project proposal or business plan.
Want Final Honours level competence in French? Wish to deal quickly and precisely with any written or spoken document? Refine your knowledge of French grammar and vocabulary to near-native level comprehension. Undertake collaborative research into topical issues, and consolidate your understanding of French culture.
Understand the events in Soviet history which led to the collapse of Socialism and analyse how the Soviet state moulded the mentality of its people, looking closely at the effects this had on the stability of the USSR. You will understand the reasons that brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the processes that are shaping authoritarian states, past and present. Examine its role in the world and its impact on people's self-identification.
Should criminal justice systems only manage offenders and victims? What wider role could they play in securing social justice? Explore the history of criminal justice and examine key theories within an international dimension. Find out how our current criminal justice policies are framed, funded and fought out.
Is Swift’s A Modest Proposal the best example of early modern western satire? What did Marx and Engel achieve with The Communist Manifesto? Examine subversive essays and manifestos. Study how they challenges and satirise existing ideas and social arrangements. Experiment with writing, thus broadening the approach of your own essays.
Are you doing a dissertation in your final year? Need help and advice on your research findings? Our workshop module lets you present your work to academic staff and your peers, gaining valuable feedback and guidance while you write your dissertation.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Taught through lectures plus classes of about twenty students
- You take a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week
- Other teaching methods will depend on your individual combination of subjects
- Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
- Other assessment methods will depend on your individual combination of subjects
If you already have your results and want to apply for 2016 entry through Clearing, complete our Clearing application form
and we’ll get back in touch with you or give us a ring
to discuss your grades.
IELTS entry requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.