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Courses in the European Union Policy Studies graduate program are divided across fall, spring, and summer semesters. In one year of intensive study, students complete all of the courses needed to attain a master's degree.

Fall Semester

Fall courses provide a foundation in the historical, political, economic, and cultural aspects of the European Union (EU). They acquaint students with key features of EU politics, policies, and societies, and they place contemporary Europe within broader global and transatlantic contexts.  Students complete the following four courses in the fall:

POSC 603 The Political Institutions of the European Union
This course is a comprehensive consideration of the European Union’s institutions and the relationships among them. It analyzes the roles of the European Union’s institutions and advisory bodies and considers the ways that executive, legislative, judicial, and advisory institutions interact. The course also engages debates about the “democratic deficit” in Europe and considers whether changes in the Union’s institutional structure might increase the quality of European democracy.

POSC 604 Policy-Making Processes and Lobbying in the European Union
This course examines the diversity of policy-making processes that characterize EU decision-making and focuses on the ways that groups outside of the EU’s formal decision-making structures influence EU policies.  The course analyzes the ways that the European Union’s different policy regimes affect extra-institutional actors’ strategies. It focuses on interest groups, media outlets, states from outside of the EU, social movements, international organizations, and other extra-institutional actors.

POSC 605 Comparative European Politics
This course examines the functioning of Europe's national political systems. It focuses on state formation, nation building, models of democracy, territorial governance, electoral systems, party systems, legislative-executive relations, state-society dynamics, and other core elements of national governance. The course involves analysis of similarities and differences among national political models and consideration of Europeanization's effects on national governance.

POSC 606 The Transatlantic Relationship and the Challenges of Globalization
This course analyzes the multifacted connections between North America and Europe. It examines the transatlantic trade and investment relationship, the transatlantic security relationship (with special attention to NATO), US/EU approaches to specific global challenges and global governance regimes, and the ways that developments in other world regions affect transatlantic cooperation and competition.

Spring Semester

In the spring, students receive training in the techniques of policy analysis and undertake specialized studies in one of two policy tracks. All students enroll in the 6-credit Seminar in EU Policy Analysis (POSC 640). Depending on their chosen policy track, students also enroll in two 3-credit sections of either POSC 641 or POSC 642.

POSC 640 Seminar in EU Policy Analysis
This course offers an intensive immersion into the methods and concepts of EU policy analysis. It introduces students to policy-analysis techniques, requires students to apply those techniques in case-based projects, and allows students to present and defend policy analyses to public audiences.

POSC 641 (Section 1) Topics in Economic and Social Policy
This course focuses on market-building policies in the EU, for example the common market, competition policy, and the economic and monetary union. Students can analyze the internal market, EU external trade policy, and the European Union’s relations with the WTO. They can delve into the EU’s competition policy and analyze business practices and state activities that require antitrust intervention. The course also involves analysis of the monetary union, the adoption of the single currency, the establishment of the European Central Bank, and the future of the euro in the context of the euro crisis.

POSC 641 (Section 2) Topics in Economic and Social Policy
This course focuses on distribution, social policy, and regulation. Here, students pursue deep understanding of the main economic, social and environmental policies of the European Union. The course’s policy-oriented perspective gives students the opportunity to assess, analyze, and debate policy papers published by leading European think tanks, the European Commission, and other policy experts. Students discuss the rationales for public intervention including correcting market failures, redistributing resources between social groups and regions, and correcting for so-called “government failures”. Specific policies that that will be addressed include the common agricultural policy (CAP), cohesion policy, employment policy, social protection and Research & Technology Development (RTD) policy, environmental policy, energy policy, and transport policy.

POSC 642 (Section 1) Topics in Foreign Policy and Internal Security
This course focuses on the different dimensions of European foreign policy. The course analyzes why and to what extent  European states have pooled their international influence, how they decide to act communally, and what major challenges dominate the European Union's agenda. Focus can include transatlantic relations, the EU defense strategy, the relations of the European Union with the Mediterranean region, the EU enlargement strategy, the European Union's engagement with so-called BRIC countries, and others.

POSC 642 (Section 2) Topics in Foreign Policy and Internal Security
In this course, students analyze different aspects of the EU's Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice (AFSJ). They scrutinize AFSJ policy concepts, actors involved in the AFSJ, policy-making processes, cooperation mechanisms, and theoretical frameworks. The course focuses on issues like immigration and asylum, anti-crime, anti-drug trafficking, anti-human trafficking, police and judicial cooperation, and citizenship.

Summer Semester

Summer coursework includes either an internship or a full-length, articulated research project. Students engage in research in their policy area of specialization and produce an all-encompassing portfolio of their studies. Professional development is emphasized via guest lectures, workshops, and other supplemental activities. All students complete two summer courses:

POSC 690 Tutorial in EU Policy Studies
In this course, students pursue individualized projects in their area of policy specialization to develop further expertise in this area.  To complete this course, students choose one of the following:

1. An individual intensive research project resulting in a fully articulated research product. The research project allows students to investigate relevant EU policies and to contribute to debates on pressing public issues. Students work directly with EU experts at the European University Institute and in Brussels. This option prepares students for post-graduate or doctoral programs and provides students with policy expertise that can be applied in policy think thanks, government, and the private sector.


2. An internship with a government office, NGO, or business. In this option, students gain practical work experience. Students may work in a number of settings but must design the internship in such a way that EU policies, procedures, laws, etc., are explicitly addressed through the applied experience. To meet the requirements of this course, students complete a written research paper and engage in directed readings related to their experience.

POSC 692 EU Seminar
This course is a capstone seminar. It addresses the professional development of students, integrates individual students’ experiences, and gives further consideration to topical issues in the European Union. It seeks to build professional networks and to aid transition into the professional realm. Coursework includes attendance of guest lectures and conferences, a simulation of EU decision-making, roundtable discussions, and a research symposium.

Additionally, a portfolio submitted by students is a required component of the program and the POSC 692. Work on the portfolio begins in the fall and requires the integration and synthesis of what the student has accomplished throughout the year. This portfolio includes analytical essays based on academic experiences, internship and research activities; evidence of foreign language proficiency; and other relevant materials pertaining to their experiences in the program overall.  These materials serve as the equivalent of the comprehensive examination for the student and will be the final assessment of mastery in the program. The portfolio is reviewed and rated by the POSC 692 instructor and the EUPS program director for completeness and quality.

Language Training

While studying in Italy, students are required to develop their language competencies. During the fall term, students are enrolled in Italian language classes. They take an Italian placement test during the orientation process and are placed in a language course appropriate for their level. They receive full immersion training (daily classes for five days, 1.5 hours each day) during orientation. For the remainder of the fall term, students attend class twice a week for 1.5 hours. These classes are scheduled around the course schedule. Students are also required to complete Italian language training in the spring term.

The cost of the Italian language training is included in the program tuition. Training in additional foreign languages can be arranged, at additional cost, at local language institutions in Florence.