The European Union: Culture, History and Institutions

Universidad Antonio de Nebrija

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The European Union: Culture, History and Institutions

  • Host University

    Universidad Antonio de Nebrija

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, History, International Relations, International Studies, Political Science, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course: The European Union
    Course number: HU1172
    ECTS credits: 6
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will cover relevant political, economic, and social aspects of European Union by unfolding the process of gradual economic and political integration in the Union. Special attention will be paid to current affairs of the organization, problems and future. Students acquire basic intellectual skills through critical thinking, considering questions of why and how events occurred. Topics will include European early
    economic integration, treaties, institutions, actors and names, enlargement, the Euro,
    the economic and political crisis and the future, if, of the European Union.

    Learning objectives

    Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

    - Understand the historical development of European politics, economics, society and culture
    - Improve their knowledge of Europe and its diversity
    - Critically follow and interpret the main social, economical and political aspects of
    European integration since 1945 to the present
    - Analyze various issues and trends in modern and contemporary Europe
    - Debate ideas and concepts of Europe and European integration
    - View Europe within a wider international and global perspective
    - Recognize and analyze the contributions of national diversity to the EU past and
    - Synthesize information from a variety of sources, including written sources, documentaries and film.

    Educational activities will be developed by means of different didactic strategies:

    - Theory and Practice
    - Collective and individual tutoring
    - In-class presentations
    - Daily assignments
    - Team work assignments
    - Workshops and additional training
    - Extra-curricular activities

    Contact Hours: 45

    The course syllabus follows the Communicative Approach methods, based on the core principles of procedure conception and constructive acquisition of knowledge. The methodology is based on the teaching-learning procedures, focused on the learner, which encourages active participation and results in the development of general and
    specific competencies that provide knowledge, capacities and attitudes for their future
    professional careers.

    Form of Assessment
    The form of assessment is based on the core principles of the educational assessment, i.e., an active and participative teaching-learning process focused on the learner. The instructor uses numerous and differentiated forms of assessment to
    calculate the final grade received for this course. For the record, these are listed below. The content, criteria and specific requirements for each assessment category will be explained in greater detail in class.

    The final grade consists of three parts: class participation, daily work and exams
    - 33% Active in-class participation
    - 33% daily work
    - 34% exams

    Grading Scale goes from 0 to 10.

    Numerical Grade Range
    Letter grade Percentage
    10 A+ 100%
    9.5 ? 9.9 A 95 -99%
    9 ? 9.4 A- 90-94%
    8.5 ? 8.9 B+ 85-89%
    7.5- 8.4 B 75-84%
    7 ? 7.4 B- 70-74%
    6.5 ? 6.9 C+ 65-69%
    6 ? 6.4 C 60-64%
    5 ? 5.9 C- 5-59%
    0-4.9 F 0-49%

    The final grade will be the average of active in-class participation, daily work and exams.

    Attendance Policy
    Attendance is compulsory. In order to excuse any absence, students have to deliver a doctor?s note or other valid justification.
    An absence is equivalent to a session. Two late arrivals of more than 15 minutes will be considered an absence.
    Any unjustified absence will negatively affect the students? final grade by lowering his/her participation grade.

    The participation grade will be lowered as follows:

    3 unjustified absences - 30%
    4 unjustified absences - 40%
    5 unjustified absences - 50%

    If a student has more than 5 unjustified absences, the PARTICIPATION GRADE will be zero (0).
    Any student with 7 or more absences will NOT pass the course. Those students whose absences have been properly justified will get No presentado (N.P). Absences do NOT excuse the fulfillment of tasks, papers or essays.

    Active Participation
    The methodology used in class demands from the student a daily participation regarding the following:

    - Debates about different topics;
    - Questions posed in class;
    - Opinions and comments;
    - Documents and texts.

    Criteria to evaluate participation Grade
    The student very often contributes with important and original comments that encourage debate, using critical and analytical arguments clearly based on reading, investigation, daily work, and class work.

    8.5 -10
    The student frequently participates voluntarily and makes valuable contributions that are generally based on reflection and daily work.
    7- 8.4
    The student makes eventual comments, practically only when asked, and shows no clear interest in the course. The student does not start a debate nor shows a clear understanding of the importance of class/homework and readings.

    5- 6.9
    The student makes no comments at all, or makes irrelevant or distracting ones during class. This is usually a result from frequent absences or lack of preparation for the class.

    0- 4.9


    D. Leonard Guide to the European Union. The Economist, 2010. Further readings will be provided by the teacher.
    General Reference:

    Press and publications on current European events, especially TIME magazine, The
    Economist, and Le Monde Diplomatique (all available in the library).

    Publications and press releases of the European Commission: +

    Online Reference & Research Tools:

    History Net; The History Guide;Bridging World History, BBC History; History Today The New York Times; National Geographic; The History Channel Annenberg Media: the Western Tradition.

    Virtual Campus

    The university offers a virtual platform (Blackboard Collaborate) where students can revise contents, do their tasks and interact with the other members of the group.


    The Idea of united Europe
    - Introduction to the course.
    - Rules of the game.
    - Placing things in context:
    chronological overview of EU events

    Please, look at a map of the the Europe.

    Week 1
    Early Construction
    - The origins and the construction
    - The European Identity:
    - Meaning and development
    - An European culture?
    Leonard, Chs. 1 y 2

    Week 2
    This is how we do it
    - The European Project
    - Chronological sequence
    - Enlargements
    - Treaties
    Leonard Chs. 3

    Week 3
    How is it Governed I
    - Executive Branches.
    - The EU Comission
    - The European Council
    - The Council of Ministers
    Leonard, Chs. 4, 5, 6

    Week 4
    How is it Governed II
    - Legislative Branch.
    - The EU Parliament
    - EU Elections
    - EU Party System?
    Leonard, Chs. 7

    Week 5
    How is it Governed III
    - The European Central Bank
    - The European Court of Justice
    - The Economic and Social Committee
    - The Committee of the Regions (CoR)
    Leonard, Chs. 8, 9, 13

    Week 6
    The Money
    - Why single currency?
    - The Euro: benefits and problems
    - What is happening today?
    Leonard, Chs. 14, 16, 18

    Week 7
    Enlargement I.
    Is Europe the EU?
    - From 6 to 27
    - Center, West, South, East
    - Next station: The Balkans
    Leonard, 37, 39

    Week 8
    Enlargement II
    Where does Europe end?
    - Turkey: the neverending rejected
    - Ukraine, Belarus and? Russia?
    - Then what ?
    Handout by Professor

    Week 9
    Before and After Lisbon
    - What was before?
    - What changes?
    - Do we need more?
    Reading: Treaty of Lisbon

    Week 10
    The Social Europe:
    - Unemployment in the EU
    - Gender policies
    - Social cohesion at risk
    - European Youth
    Leonard, 23, 24, 32, 34

    Week 11
    The EU and Spain
    - When, how, why
    - Democratic consolidation and the EU
    - Spaniards and the EU: Statistics from the
    - Spain: everything under the sun?
    Handout by Professor

    Week 12
    The EU Crisis I
    - Is economics the base of the EU?
    - When did everything start to go wrong?
    - Why did it go so wrong?
    - First casualties: Ireland and Greece
    Handout by Professor

    Week 13
    The EU Crisis II
    - Germany and France: from Merkozy to
    - Iberian Disaster: Portugal and Spain
    - Conclusion: The EU. Great future if it survives the present
    - Review for the final
    Handout by Professor

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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