EU464      Half Unit
International Migration: EU Policies and Politics

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Eiko Thielemann CON 3.14


This course is available on the MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Political Economy of Europe and MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This is a capped course (30 students). Students are required to obtain permission from the teaching department to take this course.


A good knowledge of EU institutions and EU policy-making is required.

Course content

This course examines the management of ‘unwanted migration’ to Europe.  In particular, it deals with the European Union’s governance of migratory flows of migrants such as asylum seekers and irregular migrants whose immigration states often seek to prevent or discourage.  As the willingness of sovereign states to advance global governance in this area remains very low and unilateral national policy-responses are increasingly seen as limited in their effectiveness, interest in regional governance has grown.  The European Union is without any doubt the front-runner in developing such regional initiatives. 

The course provides an in-depth treatment of the origins, evolution and major policy issues within this policy field which has been the fastest growing EU policy area since the 1990s. The course will normally focus on the following three policy areas: (1) the emerging EU asylum and refugee determination system; (2) external border control (FRONTEX), detention and deportation; and (3) responsibility allocation (the ‘Dublin system’), burden-sharing and solidarity.

Those taking the course will learn how to systematically examine the origins and impact of EU policy instruments and judgments by the European Courts.  After completion, students will be able to answer questions such as: Why have Member States intensified cooperating on asylum and immigration issues? What is the relationship between international human rights law and EU law? Given the influence of the EU’s supranational institutions, do the Member States still effectively control policies on asylum and immigration? Has EU policy-making will lead to a convergence of “lowest common denominator” policies? 

For their assessment, students will have the opportunity to conduct a case-study analysis, allowing them to apply the analytical skills developed in this course by analysing a specific EU policy of their choice.



10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

A prospectus for the assessed research project (case study).

Indicative reading

Bigo D and A Tsoukala (2008) Terror, Insecurity and Liberty: Illiberal Practices of Liberal Regimes After 9/11, Routledge; Freeman G, Givens T, and D. Leal (2009) Immigration Policy and Security: U.S., European, and Commonwealth Perspectives, Routledge; Geddes A and Boswell C (2010) Migration and Mobility in the European Union, Palgrave/Macmillan; Geddes A. (2008) Immigration and European integration: Towards fortress Europe, Manchester University Press; Hailbronner K. (2000) Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy of the European Union, Brill Publishers; Kostakopoulou D (2001) Citizenship, Identity and Immigration in the European Union: Between Past and Future, Manchester University Press; Occhipinti J D (2003) The Politics of EU Police Cooperation, Lynne Rienner; Peers, S (2011) EU Justice and Home Affairs Law, Oxford University Press; Thielemann E R (ed.) (2003) "European Burden-Sharing and Forced Migration", special issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol.16, No.3; Toner H, Guild E and A Baldaccini (2007) Whose Freedom, Security and Justice? EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, Hart Publishing; Wolff S, Wichmann N and G Mounier (2009) The External Dimension of Justice and Home Affairs, Routledge.


Project (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

The Project takes the form of a research project (policy case study).

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16.9
Merit 76.6
Pass 5.2
Fail 1.3

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2015/16: 26

Average class size 2015/16: 14

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication