Contemporary Europe

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Simona Iammarino S410 and Dr Neil Lee


This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Geography with Economics, BSc in Politics and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course aims at: introducing students with little prior knowledge of European issues to some of the most important economic, social, and political challenges the European Union overcame in the past and currently faces; developing an understanding of the determinants and the historical evolution of these challenges, and the related public reactions and policies at different geographical levels; learning about strengths, weaknesses and lessons to be drawn from the most striking example of integration among nation states as a result of historical forces and in the context of a globalised world. The course covers critical issues such as different degrees of economic integration in theory and practice, historical bases for integration, competitiveness, cohesion, innovation and growth, enlargements, Euro crisis, Brexit, Europe in the world, social policy, employment trends, poverty, migration, ageing, and social exclusion and inequality. Particular emphasis is laid upon the geographical foundations of these themes, at various spatial scales in Europe: supranational, national and subnational (e.g. regional, local, urban) levels. The course is traditionally based on close interactions with the lecturers and class teachers, and extra curriculum events will be also organised.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 18 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

The 2 hour-class in the ST is Revision Session for the exam.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce a minimum of two class essays during the year and will also be expected to give class presentations.

Indicative reading

Given the diversity of the subject, there is no one textbook that covers all of the topics. A mix of academic articles and chapters from textbooks is used in the course. Reading lists are provided electronically, and additional web sources will also be indicated during the lectures. Indicative textbooks are the following: R Baldwin and C Wyplosz, The Economics of the European Integration, 4th ed. 2012; S Senior Nello, The European Union. Economics, Policies and History, 3rd ed. 2012; J. McCormick, European Union Politics, Palgrave, 2nd ed. 2015.


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2018/19: 40

Average class size 2018/19: 13

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills