European Union Institutions, Politics, and Policies

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

"European Union Institutions, Politics, and Policies" aims at giving a good understanding of the polity, politics, and policies of the European Union. We will discuss the institutions of the EU and explore how they compare to government institutions of national political systems. Further, we will look at what the EU does. This means we will go through the range policies that the EU is to very different degrees involved in. We then discuss the theories that seek to explain the process of European integration. Was European integration fully under control of national governments or did it develop a dynamic of its own driven by the EU institutions themselves? Another important part of the course focusses on actors and how political parties, interest groups, and public opinion shape the politics of the EU.

Apart from covering the fundamental knowledge of institutions, policies, and actors, the course also takes an applied perspective by discussing issues that are currently salient in EU politics and inviting practitioners for guest lectures to provide an inside view of EU politics and policy-making.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes: 


  • Characterize to what extent the EU corresponds to a fully-fledged political system
  • Summarize the institutional evolution of the EU over time
  • Map out the policy competences of the EU
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the main theories of European integration
  • Describe the role of key political actors, such as interest groups and political parties, in the EU political system


  • Relate the knowledge acquired throughout the course to current events and developments within the EU
  • Discuss the institutional architecture and the workings of the EU on an everyday basis
  • Discuss the EU policies, the institutional arrangements behind them, and their possible implications
  • Produce a "digital deliverable" (for example: a digital poster, or an audio/radio cast, or a video cast).

General competence

  • Think critically and independently but constructively
  • Build an argument based on a variety of sources, and to initiate a dialogue between those sources
  • Synthesize and present knowledge in a simple and efficient way under time constraints (4-day take home exam)
  • Use digital tools to produce "digital deliverables" on key EU issues.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
EUR101 Introduction to European History and Politics
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Full credit reduction with SAMPOL215
Access to the Course
Teaching and learning methods

Form: Lectures and seminars

Hours per week: approximately 3

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Minimum 66% seminar attendance
  • Approved compulsory requirements has no time limit.

    Forms of Assessment

    Portfolio assessment:

    • A six-hour take-home exam (85%).
    • An assignment in the form of a `digital deliverable` (such as a digital poster, a short audio cast, or short video cast) (15%)

    The portfolio will be assessed as a whole, and one final grade will be given.

    The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.

    The exam can be submitted in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish

    Grading Scale
    Grading A-F
    Assessment Semester

    Assessment in teaching semester

    A retake exam for either parts of the exam are arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 of the Study Regulations at UiB. If a retake exam are arranged for students with valid absence, students with the following results can also register:

    • Interruption during the exam
    • Fail/Not passed

     If you qualify for the retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence, you can register yourself in Studentweb after August 1.

    Reading List
    The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester. 
    Course Evaluation
    All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
    Programme Committee
    The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  
    Course Administrator
    Department of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.