Europe and the World Double MA

Course overview

Entry requirements

  • Entry requirements:
    2:1 degree in Social Science, Language or a related subject. Other degrees might be suitable depending on personal statement and motivation. Working knowledge of French language (CEFR B2)
More information

Key Dates

Develop skills in critical analysis of contemporary European integration, in both English and French language.

Active membership of the Aston Centre for Europe, a thriving research hub which organises debates, study visits, and conferences and seminars on current international issues.

Further your practical skills in European issues through an EU-focused internship during the second year of study.

Aston is ranked 3rd in the UK for Area Studies research (REF 2014).

Course summary

Multicultural teaching environment: first year at Aston University, second year at Sciences Po Lille, France.

Entry requirements & fees

Duration: 2 years full time (first year at Aston, second year at Lille)

Start date(s): September

Distance learning available: No

Entry requirements:
2:1 degree in Social Science, Language or a related subject. Other degrees might be suitable depending on personal statement and motivation. Working knowledge of French language (CEFR B2).

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

Fees for 2019/20: 
UK/ EU: £6,150 
Non-EU: £14,150 
*Part-time students pay a pro-rata version of full-time fees.  

Application: We recommend that overseas students apply before the end of June due to visa requirements as these can take a few weeks to process.

Download the Application Guidelines document HERE.

Apply for this course online

Course outline

An innovative, 2-year Masters programme taught in Birmingham and in Lille, which offers students an internationally-oriented understanding of European and international affairs. Students spend the second semester of Year 2 of this programme undertaking an EU-focused internship.

Subject guide & modules

The subject guide and modules: The following module descriptions are indications only - the modules on offer and the content of the modules is subject to change.

Core modules:

» The European Union – A Web of Institutions

This module provides students with a broad understanding of the important developments within the European polity. In particular, the module analyses the evolution of the EU, the role of European institutions, recent trends in European politics, economics and society, and the impact of European integration at both national and supranational levels. 

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is on the basis of one 5, 000 word essay

» The EU as a Global Actor

This module focuses on the process of European Political and Economic Cooperation up to the present day and beyond; particularly, Europe’s growing role as an international actor. Within this framework, issues looked at will include the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and its role as mediator in international conflicts such as the Gulf War, Middle East, and the former Yugoslavia, with a particular emphasis on the war on terrorism, Iraq, and intelligence co-operation, as well as the Union’s positioning vis-à-vis the United States, particularly since the latest EU enlargement. Another area to be looked at is Europe as an economic power and her relations with its immediate neighbours, its major partners such as the US, Japan and South-East Asia, particularly in the age of the euro, and its role in Third World development and global environmental issues. While analysing these issues we will evaluate what the trends appear to be, in the context of globalisation and world developments.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is on the basis of one 5,000 word essay

» Dissertation module

Students will demonstrate their ability to design, conduct and report the results of a research project in the subject domain relevant to their Master programme. They will work independently, under the guidance of a supervisor. Preparing a Masters dissertation is a complex exercise which will strengthen and test various subject-specific and transferable research skills, including research methodology and academic writing.

Assessment method: Students prepare a 15,000 word dissertation on a research subject of their choosing, guided by a member of the academic staff.


Elective modules:

» Research Methods

The aim is that the student acquires knowledge and understanding of key methodological processes in social science research, and, by the end of the module, should be able to apply appropriate selected methods to his/her own research (notably the dissertation). The student should also learn to use a multi-media VLE environment effectively and confidently in a self-directed (though supervised) way.

Students learn to apply conceptual and ethical approaches to social science research, develop high-level quantitative and qualitative methods of social science data collection and data analysis.

Assessment method: The assessment is by one essay (3000 words; 40% of grade) and completion of the task-focused continuous assessment (60%).


» Leaders and Leadership in a European and Global Context

This course aims to enable students to acquire familiarity with main areas and problems of leadership studies in political science, and with key concepts used in the analysis of political institutions and leadership. This knowledge forms the conceptual, methodological and analytical basis for many of the political and politics-related issues to be studied by MA students. This course aims to enable students to acquire familiarity with main areas and problems of the study of political leaders and leadership, and with key concepts used in their analysis.

Assessment method: Assessment is by one 5,000 word essay.


» Europe’s Regions and their Governance

The module provides a comprehensive comparative overview of regions, and forms of regionalism / “minority nationalism” in present-day Europe. The course will focus on (i) constitutional, legal and political arrangements for regions within the EU, including in the recently reformed countries of East-Central Europe; (ii) the EU’s own regional policy-making, (iii) a survey of on-going reform processes of territorial governance in a variety of countries (e.g. UK, Spain, Poland), and (iv) the increased levels of paradiplomacy and cross-border engagement of regional governments and authorities across the EU.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by way of one 4, 000 to 5, 000 word essay.


» Asia-Europe Relations: Between Interregionalism and Bilateralism

The module will be an advanced level course comparing the EU with East Asian visions of regionalism and analysing the political, economic and social relations between the EU, its member-states with East Asia (here defined as the ASEAN 10 plus Japan, North and South Korea, China and Taiwan). It is an interdisciplinary module and students will be exposed to the wide and diverse perspectives on international and interregional relations. The module will draw from history, area studies, international relations, sociology, business and economics and comparative regionalism. It will also call upon the participation of a variety of external experts.

Assessment method: Assessment is by means of a portfolio (75%) and an exam (25%)

For the portfolio, students will be required to prepare short class presentations for each session and to complete one written assignment (2,500 words). The presentations ought to be accompanied by a one-page handout containing the main points. The assignment will be in form of a briefing paper/ policy analysis of a topical issue chosen by the student. The portfolio will contain the handouts and the briefing paper.


» Religion and Politics

This module provides a detailed overview of the most important aspects of religious and political development in Europe from 1945 until today. It includes a detailed empirical account of the following main themes of research: theoretical approaches to religion and politics; the historical trajectory of religion and politics after 1945; an overview of Huntington’s theory of the conflict of civilisations; European secularism and fundamentalism; Christianity and politics; models of church-state relations; Islam and politics; religion and politics in the construction of the European Union; and religion and

international relations.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by way of one 5, 000 word essay

» Security and Defence in Europe

This module focuses on the evolution of security and defence policies in the European Union. It will start by considering the origins of security cooperation in Europe before going to consider the evolution of EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).

The module will then examine the broader issues of European security by looking at several case studies starting with European involvement in former Yugoslavia and moving onto more recent ESDP missions, including EUFOR Chad, EUPOL  Afghanistan and EULEX Kosovo.  By focusing on ESDP case studies, the module aims to explore wider issues concerning EU’s security policies such as its unique approaches to crisis management, military capacity and civilian-military dimensions of conflict intervention and state-building. 

Assessment method: Assessment is by means of one 5,000 word essay

» International Political Communication

This module provides students with a thorough knowledge of the theoretical foundations of political communication in contemporary democracies. It examines various aspects of government information policy and the relationship between government, the media and the public, exploring the political content of the mass media. It assesses the relationship between media, political actors and the public, and considers the extent to which mediated activity has influenced politics and the distribution of power. This is a policy-relevant module that distinguishes students as highly informed and strategic thinkers in the political arena.

Assessment method: Assessment is by means of a campaign portfolio – materials and presentation, to include analysis of strategy deployed (20%) and one 3,500 word essay (80%).

» International Ethics and Literature

This module engages with the praxiological element of international politics.  It begins with the theoretical discourses surrounding international politics as a way of exploring the practices that emerge within its structures.  It then examines the interplay of theory and practice by engaging with alternative textual sources namely, works of fiction, memoires, diaries and film to grasp the nature of ethical and moral debates of international politics. 

Assessment method: Assessment for this module 4 bi-weekly submissions each worth 25 % To be submitted in class on the following weeks: 16, 18, 20, 22. 

» Transatlantic Relations in Historical Perspective: The US and Europe

This module provides students with an appreciation of the broad and complex issue of political leadership as an academic discipline in the context of Europe, both within the EU, Europe more generally, and its nation states. There will also be comparative analysis with leadership in the US. Students will be able to understand key political concepts regarding leadership, and to use them in political debates.  They will also develop an understanding of the key contents and problems of the major sub-discipline of leadership studies in political science.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by one 5,000 word essay

» International Security

This module considers key questions in post-Cold War international security. It starts by considering the scope and evolution of Security Studies, and introducing students to key approaches to security, including realism, liberalism and constructivism. Subsequently, students will have the opportunity to examine key concerns of global security by considering issues such as the pattern of global conflict, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, energy security, piracy and the defence trade. We will also consider the changing role of key security actors, such as the UN and NATO.

Guiding questions of this module are: What are the key concerns of international security? What are perceived to be the key threats and how are they managed? Are international security concerns different to national security?

Assessment method: Assessment for this module will be by way of one 5, 000 word essay

» Comparative and International Political Economy

This is a truly unique module combining the subject areas of International and Comparative Political Economy. The module is divided into two parts. Part I is dedicated to an introduction to International Political Economy (IPE), a branch of International Relations, which focuses on the interactions between states and markets, power and wealth in the international system. Why do we live in a world characterised by inequality? What are the reasons for underdevelopment and what are the possible solutions? What is driving the North-South conflict? Why is it so difficult to solve the problem of re-occurring financial crisis despite its devastating social consequences?

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by means of one 3,000 word essay (85%). 15% of the grade for this module comes from presentation, preparation and involvement(15%): this involves  a presentation to the group of around 20 minutes, as well as preparation for and contribution to the weekly seminar sessions.

» EU Law and Policy-Making

This module examines how economic policy-making is conducted at EU level on the basis of the legal instruments adopted since the inception of the integration process through to the most recent treaty developments.

After reviewing the treaty bases for policy and the legal system that has evolved to give effect to them, including the balance of powers between the institutions, the module examines the key policy areas affecting the European economy as set out in the basic instruments and developed at political level.

The module then focuses on two of the most important competences of the EU as regards economic policy, namely EU competition rules and the single market, and compares and contrasts the approaches to law and policy taken at European level in these fields.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by way of one 3, 000 word essay.

Learning, teaching & assessment

You will take part in interactive seminars, discussion and simulation exercises, as well as undertaking group project work. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. MA students are a fundamental part of the intellectual life of the Politics and International Relations study group. All students on MA programmes take part in the regular series of guest lectures and research seminars on issues of contemporary political relevance as well as taking part in the conferences and events organised and hosted by the Aston Centre for Europe and by the study group. All students have the opportunity to take part in a week long study trip to visit the EU institutions and related organisation in Brussels. 

All students are allocated a personal tutor at the start of their studies; this member of academic staff can offer individual study advice and guidance and is there to help support your studies.

Assessments on the MA programme take a wide variety of forms, ranging from essays and examinations through to policy reports, briefings and campaign portfolios.


Career prospects

All of our MA Programmes equip students with the knowledge and analytical and transferable skills to pursue further postgraduate research or a successful career in the public and private sector. The careers pursued by our students vary greatly, but typical careers include:

  • employment in international organisations (EU, WTO, UN etc.),
  • research in policy-oriented domestic or international think tanks,
  • careers in government administration,
  • further postgraduate research at PhD level,
  • journalism,
  • international marketing or business.
Facilities & equipment

You will have access to:

  • Our Virtual Learning Environment – Blackboard – to support your studies, including Blackboard discussion groups
  • The University Library, including over 25,000 books and a wide range of electronic journals.  The library has special provision in place to help part time and distance learning students access their resources:
  • University wide facilities such as the Careers Service, Students’ Advice Centre, Students’ Jobshop, Counselling Service, Sports Facilities, and Chaplaincy.
Teaching staff

A complete list of Politics and International Relations staff can be found HERE.

Register your interest