European Studies

About the major

Do you envisage a career in communications, journalism, business, government, international relations or the non-government sphere? Maybe you have just returned from an exchange year or summer break in Europe, or want to study in Europe later on?

In European Studies, you will learn about the societies, politics and cultures of Europe from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective.

Our units focus on present-day Europe, its problems and successes, its diversity, its conflicts and its relationship to the world, as well as some of the historical background to present day issues. We look both at the European Union - the world's most advanced supernational federation of states and its most progressive superpower - and the wider European continent of which it is a part.

The program draws on the expertise if specialists in French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Spanish, Arabic, and Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies and Political Economy.

You can take European Studies as a major or minor, or you can simply enrol in one of our elective or Open Learning Environment units. You do not need to speak a European language to enrol in European Studies: all classes are conducted in English and use English texts. However, we encourage students majoring or minoring in European Studies to gain competence in a European language through taking a second major or minor in a European language.

Students majoring in European Studies can also complete a period of exchange at one the many University of Sydney partner universities in Europe. In addition, through our senior project-based units, including our Internships for Credit program, you will develop professional and problem solving skills relating to contemporary issues in Europe.

For further specialisation, you can complete a fourth year in European Studies, either as an Honours student, working on an individual research project, ot specialising in project-based 4th year units that will further enhance your work-ready skills.

Requirements for completion

A major in European Studies requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level units
(iii) 18 credit points of 3000-level units,
(iv) 6 credit points from 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units

A minor in European Studies requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level units

First Year

In first year, you will learn about contemporary Europe in an educational context including interactive and online lecture materials as well as dynamic tutorial experience. Using a variety of sources: media, personal narrative, interviews, films, and research articles, we study the main social, political, cultural and economic problems facing contemporary Europe and the European Union.

Priority is placed on the development of writing and analysis skills in relation to social, political and cultural aspects of present-day Europe, such as Brexit, the ongoing fate of the European Union, the rise of the New Right in France, Germany and elsewhere, the asylum and refugee debate, accession debates in the Balkans and Turkey, and much more.

No language skills other than English are needed, but it is strongly recommended that students intending to major in European Studies study a European language as a second major or minor.

Second Year

In second year European Studies you have the opportunity to focus on different aspects of the societies, politics and cultures of Europe and the EU. Units are offered on, for example, the institutions and politics of the European Union, the regions and regionalizations, cultures and societies of the European nations.

These second-year units allow you to follow your interests in different areas of Europe and different approaches to its study: cultural studies, history and/or social sciences.

You will gain breadth and depth of knowledge and improve your academic research, writing and communication skills.

Third Year

In third year, you will dig more deeply into specific cultural, historical or contemporary social and political issues in Europe, and gain experience in applying current theoretical frameworks to the analysis of Europe.

You will work closely on key primary and secondary source materials and conduct in-depth personal research projects; you will also learn techniques for writing reports on contemporary issues and events.

In addition, it is strongly recommended that students spend a semester on an exchange program with one of our many European partner universities, where you can choose from a range of offerings in English and/or the language of the country chosen.


If you commenced your degree prior to 2018: Admission to honours requires a major in European Studies with an average of 70% or above.

If you commenced your degree in 2018: Admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in European Studies with an average of 70% or above. You will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major, prior to commencing honours.

Students intending to do honours are encouraged to make use of their proficiency in relevant European languages and to consider cognate units in relevant language disciplines.

The honours program consists of two seminars and a research thesis. As with the undergraduate European Studies major, all units and the thesis will be in English. However, we encourage students with European or other relevant language proficiency to use sources in that language for their thesis research.

Advanced Coursework

The requirements for advanced coursework in European Studies are described in the degree resolutions for the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies.

24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2019.

Contact/further information

Department website:

General enquiries, first year enquiries, honours enquiries and history/cultural studies units:
Professor Peter Morgan, Program Director:

General enquiries, exchange enquiries and social/political sciences units:
Associate Professor Bronwyn Winter, Deputy Program Director

Example pathways

First year:
EUST1001 and EUST1002 (compulsory first year units)

Second year:
EUST2005:Institutions of the European Union, and
EUST2020: Screening Europe: After 1989 (examples only)

Third year:
First semester: two units: EUST3113 The European Imagination and Modernity and EUST3XXX Muslims in Europe, and
Second semester: exchange program at Sciences Po Paris (examples only)

For more information on units available for study in the current year, see the Units of Study page on the European Studies website:

Learning outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a confident and extensive knowledge of the 'idea of Europe' through an ability to identify and discuss the major cultural, historical, social, political and other trends and issues relating to contemporary Europe, and a broad understanding of the modern history of European ideas, politics, societies and cultures.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to identify and discuss Europe within a global context: Europe's historical, political, economic, social, and cultural relationships within transnational civil society.
  3. Analyse European texts, images and practices in relation to their cultural, political and, often, linguistic context, with the confidence to work both independently and collaboratively on materials from or related to Europe.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the major theoretical approaches in humanities and social sciences in the field of European Studies, including European integration studies, through an ability to appropriately use the vocabulary associated with these approaches and to discuss them critically.
  5. Exhibit the skills, integrity and personal resilience to construct and defend valid arguments employing a range of forms of evidence from European societies and cultures, including critical analysis of the ways that Europe is perceived as both an entity and a set of sub-regions.
  6. Demonstrate analytical and critical competence in dealing with evidence from and arguments about Europe.
  7. Demonstrate a high level of competence in searching and critically assessing a range of online media, social media, institutional, non-governmental and scholarly material, sourced from different European countries - and often, in source European languages - as well as from Europe-wide sites.
  8. Exhibit, as a result of exchanges, project work, interdisciplinary study and/or internships for credit, the capacity to confront new situations demanding adaptability, cultural competence, and personal resourcefulness.