Not available in 2022/23
IR320      Half Unit
Europe's Institutional Order

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Karen Smith CLM 4.09


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available to General Course students.


Students must have completed International Organisations (IR203).

Course content

Europe is the region with the highest density of organisations in the world. This course will analyse the importance of European organisations for both their member states and international relations in general. It will review the development of Europe’s institutional order in the post-war era and its evolution since the end of the Cold War. Much emphasis will be placed on the evolution of West European organisations such as the Council of Europe, the European Union and NATO, but attention will also be given to European organisations in the former communist bloc, trans-European organisations, and sub-regional organisations.

Lecture and class topics:

1. Europe in International Relations

2. Building Europe's Institutional Order I: NATO and the Warsaw Pact

3. Building Europe's Institutional Order II: economic integration in the European Community

4. Building Europe's Institutional Order III: economic cooperation in EFTA and COMECON

5. Europe's Institutional Order and the ending of the Cold War

6. Europe's security and defence institutions after the Cold War I: what is NATO for?

7. Enlarging Europe's institutional order after the Cold War I: NATO

8. Integration in Europe after the Cold War: the European Union since Maastricht

9. Enlarging Europe's institutional order after the Cold War II: the EU

10. Europe's security and defence institutions after the Cold War II: the case of the Ukraine crisis 2014


20 hours of classes in the LT.

20 hours of classes in the LT.

In line with departmental policy, students on the course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Independent study based on the readings is required.  Classes provide an opportunity to discuss issues in depth in a small group setting.  Attendance at classes is mandatory, as is adequate preparation for participation in each class discussion.  Students will be required to give at least one presentation on one of the topics on the class schedule.  Each presenter should provide the class with a one-page outline of the presentation.  Presentations should be a maximum of 15 minutes long.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 other piece of coursework in the LT.

Students will produce one short 1,500 word formative essay due in week 6 of the Lent Term.  The essay question is to be selected from a list provided to students in week 1.  The purpose of the essay is to provide experience of summarising succinctly and engaging with complex empirical and theoretical material, develop research and writing skills necessary for the assessed essay, and to assist in the development of ideas and arguments for the assessed essay.  Independent study, based on the readings indicated on the reading list, is required.

Students will also produce a 1.5-2 page outline of their summative essay in week 9.  The outline will include the essay question/title, an overview of the argument, a draft of the structure, and an indicative reading list. The reading list must include primary sources.  Feedback will be given to students by the end of week 10.

Indicative reading

Brent Nelsen and Alexander Stubb, The European Union: Readings on the Theory and Practice of European Integration 4th ed (Palgrave, 2014)

Stuart Croft et al, The Enlargement of Europe (Manchester University Press, 1999)

Peter Stirk and David Weigall (eds), The Origins and Development of European Integration (Pinter, 1999)

Desmond Dinan, Europe Recast: A History o the European Union, 2nd ed (Palgrave, 2014)

Desmond Dinan, Ever Closer Union? An Introduction to the European Union, 4th ed. (Palgrave, 2010)

Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni (ed), Debates on European Integration: A Reader (Palgrave, 2006)

William Hitchcock, The Struggle for Europe: the Turbulent History of a Divided Continent 1945 to the Present (Anchor Booksm 2004)

Ben Rosamund, Theories of European Integration (Palgrave, 2000)


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication