Faculty of Arts

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Social Sciences
OfferedNot offered in 2015


As a powerful trade negotiator, a leading player in the environmental, development aid, and human rights fields, and a growing political and strategic presence in the world, the European Union is increasingly recognized as a force for global stability and security. Students will explore the EU's relations with non-EU countries, and its roles and legal status in the international system. They will be introduced to the institutional framework and policies of EU external relations. Special emphasis will be placed on the relations of the EU with Asia, the US, Australia, Africa and Russia. The unit will further examine the status of the EU and its member states in international organizations.


Students who successfully complete this unit will be expected to demonstrate:

  1. a developed understanding of the conceptual difficulties associated with the study of the EU's external relations
  2. informed appreciation of the EU's role as an actor and presence in world affairs
  3. understanding of the major theoretical debates about ways of analysing EU external policy and the roles of the EU in world affairs
  4. understanding of the institutions, processes and policies of EU external relations
  5. knowledge of EU relations with Asia, Oceania, the United States, Africa, Russia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Central and South America, and other countries and regions
  6. understanding of the status and role of the EU in key international organizations
  7. strong skills in the critical reading of a variety of texts and the academic scholarship based upon these texts
  8. strong skills in critical oral and written assessment of the academic scholarship, including methods, assumptions and uses of evidence, and in organising and defending a verbal and written argument based upon those assessments
  9. a capacity to devise, plan and successfully complete a research essay
  10. a capacity to reflect upon and make critical use of a range of resources including, where relevant, on-line materials
  11. Students completing this unit at fifth level will be expected to demonstrate, in addition: the acquisition of a higher level of analytical skills and a greater understanding of the key conceptual and methodological issues involved in analysing the role of the EU on the international scene.


Within semester assessment: 60%
Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)