The EU in the World

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Karen Smith (CBG.10.14)


This course is available on the MSc in European and International Politics and Policy, MSc in European and International Politics and Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Politics and Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in Political Science (Global Politics), MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for most students that apply but that may not continue to be the case.


Some basic knowledge of International Relations as an academic discipline is desirable, together with some acquaintance with the general evolution of world politics over the last one hundred years. 

Course content

The development of the external activities of the European Communities, now the European Union, since 1957, including the development of European Political Cooperation and the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and trade and development policy. The relationship between the member states and these external activities, in particular the impact of the evolution of EU institutions and policies on national foreign policies.  Relations between the EU and non-EU states and regions, including the United States, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.


Watch a short introductory video on this course: 


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Autumn and Winter Term. Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to submit two 2,000-word essays during the course, to be marked by seminar leaders.  Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the AT and 1 essay in the WT.

Indicative reading

  • Sieglinde Gstöhl and Simon Schunz, eds, The External Action of the European Union, Macmillan, 2021
  • Amelia Hadfield, Ian Manners, and Richard Whitman, eds, Foreign Policies of EU Member States, Routledge 2017
  • Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker (eds), International Relations and the European Union, 4th edition, OUP, 2023
  • Stephan Keukeleire and Tom Delreux, The Foreign Policy of the European Union, 3rd edition,Palgrave, 2022
  • Karen E. Smith, European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World, 3rd edition, Polity Press,2014


Exam (90%, duration: 3 hours) in the spring exam period.
Class participation (10%) in the AT and WT.

The exam will be an on campus 'e-Exam'. 

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2023/24: 14

Average class size 2023/24: 14

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.