European Politics

Introduction

The aim of the track is to provide students with advanced training in EU politics, law and policy-making.  

The European Union (EU) remains one of the most contested forms of regional integration to date and there is no lack of criticism of its democratic legitimacy. The political system of the EU has witnessed continued rounds of institutional reform and, over the years, proponents and critics have engaged in vigorous debates about the shape and consequences of European integration. The Danish "no" on December 3, 2015 to join the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs area is only one of the latest examples of the strong divide in the population on EU-related issues, and the case of Denmark is not an isolated one but paralleled by vigorous debates about European integration in other member states. 

Irrespective of such political contestation, there is widespread agreement that decisions made at the EU level have far reaching consequences for the European citizens and the way policy-making is conducted at the national level. Decision-making in the EU involves a dynamic interaction between legislative politics and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The everyday lives of individual citizens and private companies are heavily regulated by EU policies and national decision-makers at all levels of government spend a considerable share of their time shaping and implementing EU regulation. The incentives for private interests and national public officials to engage in EU policy-making are high both during the early stages of policy-making and when they are faced with having to transpose and comply with EU regulation in their daily business. This process is perhaps best understood as a system of multi-level governance, where competences and responsibilities are shared across actors and levels in varying ways and depend on issue areas, opt-outs and national constitutional concerns.

Structure of the core subject

The core subject in European Politics consists of two compulsory courses which students have to take during the same Autumn semester:

  • Institutions, Policies and Law in the European Union (15 ECTS)
     
  • Important Challenges in European Governance: Lobbying and Interest Groups (7,5 ECTS)

A specific course description and learning outcome for each of the courses will be available after the 1st of May at www.kurser.ku.dk

As a student at the MSc in Political Science you can choose to write your master’s thesis (30 ECTS) within the field of your chosen core subject.

Read more about the entire structure of the MSc in Political Science

Why choose the core subject in European Politics?

The core subject is for:

  • Students with an interest in the EU and the consequences of EU integration for national policy-making, legal and political regulation, implementation and compliance
     
  • Students who can imagine working with aspects of EU law and policy making, either at the national level in e.g. the public sector, a private company, a national interest group or an NGO
     
  • Students who directly seek future employment in Brussels in e.g. the EU institutions, EU-level lobbying groups, think tanks or news agencies
     
  • Students who want to work for national institutions and agencies that regulate EU law and policies
     
  • Students who aim at pursing a PhD in the area of EU studies in Denmark or abroad
     
  • Students who would like to join a strong research community of fellow students and faculty with similar interests to themselves


Competences

The strong impact of the EU in many spheres of the public and private sectors makes it highly relevant for current graduates of political science to possess a comprehensive knowledge of the EU institutional apparatus, its policies and their effect on the member states. In fact, irrespective of whether their aim is to seek employment in the EU institutions themselves, its legal framework, the national administration or the private sector, a deeper understanding of the EU and its policies is valuable from various vantage points.  Since the political and legal framework of the EU affects both public and private stakeholders in complex multi-level structures, it is vital for political scientists leaving university to be equipped with a sophisticated set of analytical skills that allows them to address EU related policy problems. Moreover, the track’s strong emphasis on research-based teaching, attention to mixed-methods and proximity to CEP researchers will also be highly beneficial for students who consider doing a PhD on an EU-related subject.

Students can expect to:

  • Become familiar with the logics of multi-level decision-making in the EU by learning about the political processes at both the national and EU level
     
  • Enhance their understanding of the legal and constitutional context of European policy-making and the role played by  litigants, national courts and the CJEU
     
  • Broaden their knowledge of the consequences of European integration for the member states
     
  • Extend their knowledge of the implementation and enforcement of EU policies
     
  • Strengthen their theoretical skills and learn how to critically assess existing theories in the study of European integration and policy-making
     
  • Improve their ability to identify central problems to the study of EU Politics, law and decision-making more generally
     
  • Learn how to link theory and empirics in real world analyses
     
  • Improve their analytical skills and ability to conduct independent analysis
     
  • Stimulate their ability to critically assess a broad range of different types of analyses       
         

Teaching

European Politics is taught by a team of lecturers: Anne Rasmussen (Track Coordinator), Maja Klueger DionigiWiebke Marie JunkDorte Sindbjerg Martinsen, Reini Schrama, Marlene Wind

All faculty members take an active interest in new teaching methods and share a strong commitment to active learning, which will be implemented in many of the courses that involve strong participatory elements. By having faculty members teach subjects that are closely linked to their research, the track also puts strong emphasis on research-based teaching. Such teaching gives students a unique insight into how research is conducted in practice. Moreover, having faculty members teach courses that are closely linked to their own research agenda also helps ensure that courses can be continually updated in order to take account of latest developments within the different research areas and in the institutional set-up of the EU.

Center for European Politics

The track is anchored in the Center for European Politics which was established in 2007 and is one of the department's most active research communities. The center houses a strong research group of internationally renowned scholars with both practical and research experience in European matters. The research of the center spans across a broad variety of subjects such as the EU’s political system and institutional and legal development, the role of the EU in foreign policy, and how the EU affects national policy and policy-making. The faculty members share a common interest in the EU and represent a broad range of different substantive interests in EU politics and policy-making as well as methodological and theoretical approaches towards the study of the EU. Among the faculty, there is strong dedication to theoretical and methodological pluralism. Students can therefore expect to become acquainted with a broad set of methods and theoretical perspectives in political science and other related disciplines such as law. Indeed, we believe that the challenges of European integration are so complex that such a pluralistic approach is a precondition for effective teaching and research. All faculty members have strong international networks - consisting of academics and practitioners - on which we expect to draw in the teaching of the master track, e.g. by aiming at offering guest lectures in the listed core subjects and electives.

Registration for the core subject

You can only register after you have been admitted to the MSc in Political Science.

You register through Self Service in the course registration periods.

In the ordinary course registration period, students will as far as possible get a seat at their first priority. If, however, it isn’t possible due to insufficient resources students are assigned a seat in the core subject by drawing lots. Students are guaranteed to get a seat at their second priority. Therefore, when signing up make sure to make 2 priorities.

In the post-registration period, students are assigned seats at the core subjects in accordance with first come, first served. 


Contact

If you have any academic questions regarding the core subject, please contact Anne Rasmussen. If you have any practical questions regarding registration for courses, exams or how to plan your study, please contact the Student Advisory Service.


Comments from future employers and practitioners within the field 


"The future development of the EU depends on ambitious talents with a solid understanding and interest in the EU and its dynamics – talents who can help drive the project forward from within. I am pleased that the Department of Political Science is helping to lead the way in prioritizing and stimulating the development of such talents. I am sure that the high level and interdisciplinary structure of the track will provide students with the best possible conditions for pursuing an EU career, for example in Brussels. It is crucial for the successful pursuit of Denmark's interests in the coming years, that we develop strong talents who can compete at the European level and pursue EU career tracks."

Kim Jørgensen, Ambassador, Danish Permanent Representative to the EU, Brussels

“From the perspective of the Confederation of Danish Industry, the new track in EU studies is highly relevant and tailored to the needs of the job market. We need a new generation of political scientists with strong analytical skills and ability to solve complex problems in order to help Denmark promote its interests in European policy-making. The new EU track is an investment in the development of Danish intellectual leadership in EU policy. A new generation of policy-makers with strong competences will be an important asset to help identify common solutions to common challenges in Europe.”
Karsten Dybvad, Director General and CEO, Confederation of Danish Industry

”Konsentio strongly supports the new track in European Union Studies, which innovates by being both multidisciplinary and practice-oriented. Understanding the do’s and don’ts of the EU system requires a solid understanding of its formal and informal decision-making processes where both economic, legal and political factors play a strong role. By putting a high emphasis on case based teaching and active student participation, the track can play a strong role in equipping future decision-makers with knowledge about how to set the agenda, time lobbying efforts and ultimately affect EU decisions.”
Sinne Backs Conan, Director, Konsentio Public Affairs

“I highly recommend the new track in European Union Studies to ambitious students who want to get advanced knowledge of EU affairs in order to prepare themselves for a future career in the EU institutions or in private companies, interest organizations and think tanks dealing with European issues. The track can make a real difference through active learning of sophisticated analytical skills while maintaining a clear European focus”.
Bjarke Møller, Director, Think Tank Europa
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