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EU governance: institutions and decision-making in a changing Europe*


Admission requirements

This is a specialization course for students taking the International and European Governance track. The seminar is not an introductory course, but is designed for students who already possess basic knowledge of the European Union. If students needs to update their basic knowledge, they should familiarize themselves with the book by Simon Hix and Bjørn Høyland, ‘The Political System of the European Union’ 3rd edition, 2011, Palgrave.


This is a specialization seminar focusing on the European Union, its relationship with the member states, institutions and decision making. The insights from several major streams of academic studies of EU decision making, with an emphasis on institutional approaches, but also public opinion analyses, will be introduced to enable students to understand key aspects of decision making in the EU and the role and importance of the Union’s major bodies: the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council. The course will also analyze the responses of the EU’s decision making bodies and member states have responded to recent challenges and trends in Europe and beyond.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should have attained:

  • advanced understanding of the European policy process with an emphasis on the role of various political actors at the EU level and their links with national ministries and parliaments;

  • advanced understanding of theories and frameworks explaining the functioning of the European Union, including its multi-level nature;

  • academic skills in identifying and analyzing relevant scholarly work in this field and summarizing its most important findings

  • advanced capacity to use argumentative and communication skills in oral presentations



Mode of instruction

Seminar sessions consisting of class discussions of pre-assigned readings and presentations.
The seminar will be structured around three major themes, namely:

  • institutional and constitutional issues in the EU, covering theoretical and analytical literature and applying it in discussion to questions about the balance of institutions after the Lisbon treaty; recent changes in the composition of the European Commission and its priorities and so on;

  • policy making in the European Union through the interaction of the different decision making bodies;

  • aspects of democratic governance in the EU’s multi level system: the role of national parliaments and public opinion;

Course Load

  • total study load 140 hours

  • contact hours: 7 sessions of 3 hours: 21 hours

  • self-study, preparation of exam and assignments: 119 hours

Method of assessment

Assessment will be made based on three components:

  • participation

  • review of one of the articles on the reading list;

  • oral exam, demonstrating understanding of and critical assessment of key arguments of the readings

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam
Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


Blackboard is used and will be available one week before the start of the course. Please check course outline and assignments for readings for the first session.

Other course materials/literature

Various articles, to be provided in the course outline


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Dr. Antoaneta Dimitrova