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BA European Studies with Politics

Why we're great

  • Our students are extremely happy - we score consistently high in student satisfaction.
  • You are taught by a team of international experts in a range of subjects at Essex and abroad.
  • Each of our courses enables you to study at an excellent European university of your choice.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: R9L2
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Philosophy and Art History (School of)
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email admit@essex.ac.uk

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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.

On our course you gain a wide-ranging knowledge of all aspects of European life, culture and politics, and you can spend your third year at another university in Europe, immersing yourself in European culture.

Here at Essex, our teaching and research 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.

Based within our Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (CISH), you will have access to expertise in modern languages, literature, film, history of art, history, politics and sociology, with experienced staff in all disciplines.

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began.

Study abroad

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 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 European studies 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.

Some of the biggest names in politics work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

Our politics academic staff work on topics ranging from international conflict and violence to British elections, and from the obligations of the younger generation to why authoritarian leaders welcome natural disasters.

You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; some of these projects have even resulted in joint staff/student publications.

Specialist facilities

  • Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
  • The ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
  • Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
  • Our Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence provides a forum for pan-European research
  • Access a variety of textbooks and journals in our Albert Sloman Library which houses materials on Russia and Eastern Europe that are of national significance

Your future

As a graduate in European Studies, your year abroad will have developed your confidence, independence, maturity and other invaluable life skills. You will have the opportunity to gain the combination of skills and experience most in demand from a wide range of employers.

This provides excellent preparation for areas which includes 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.

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Example structure

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.

Year 1

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.

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.

Certain ideas shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us—ideas like democracy, free speech, individualism, free markets, and humans rights. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a politically and intellectually revolutionary stretch of history known as the Enlightenment (1650-1800). This interdisciplinary module examines this period and thus serves as an essential prerequisite for students who want to understand the intellectual currents that run through the world they live in. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they’ve taken.

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.

Year 2

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.

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.

How are decisions made in the EU? What impact do states and government have on European policy, and vice versa? Gain an understanding of the relationship between the EU and its members through studying the origins of European Integration and the institutional systems of the EU.

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 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.

In this module, we will explore the diverse responses by individual artists working at the end of the nineteenth century to the legacy of Impressionism as the quintessential art of modern life. We will attempt to discover what it really meant to be 'modern' in turn-of-the century Europe and how artists responded to the dramatic political, social and technological changes that we call modernisation.

This module seeks to answer the thorny question ‘What makes art modern?’ by considering different strands of European modern art from the 1900s through 1945, including Futurism, Constructivism, and Surrealism. Some key issues addressed include the birth of abstraction; the relationship between art and politics; and intersections between art, mass media, and consumer culture.

Final year

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.

Want to develop your language skills through French cinema? Study six French films in depth to further improve your language abilities. Gain an insight into key aspects of French cinema and culture, deepening your existing knowledge and understanding.

Question party motivations, electoral strategies, ideologies and leaderships in Britain and Europe as you explore the changing nature and role of political parties in advanced liberal democracies.

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.

Year abroad

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.

Teaching

  • Taught through lectures plus classes of about twenty students
  • You take a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your European Studies modules every week
  • Lab sessions allow you to improve your technical research skills
  • Opportunities to gain work experience on placements and internships

Assessment

    • Assessed through a combination of written coursework, presentations, class participation, and end-of-year examinations
    • Politics modules weighted 50% coursework and 50% examinations
    • If you undertake a placement, you will prepare an assessed report on this experience

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB

A-level (or equivalent) French required, if French is taken as the major language

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email admit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

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.

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your visit day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.