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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 semester coursework provides students with a foundation in the historical, political, economic, and social aspects of the European Union (EU). These core courses acquaint students with key features of EU politics, policy, and society. All students will complete the following courses: 

POSC 603 The Political Institutions of the European Union

This course is a comprehensive consideration of the EU’s institutions and the relationships among them. It analyzes the roles of the EU’s institutions and advisory bodies and considers the ways that executive, legislative, judicial, and advisory institutions interact. The course also engages debates about the nature and limits of democracy in Europe and considers whether changes in the Union’s institutional architecture might increase the quality of European democracy.

POSC 604 Policy-Making Processes

This course examines policy cycles and illuminates the range of general and sector-specific policy processes that take place in the EU and other complex decision-making environments. The course analyzes the structures of policy regimes and the ways that those structures affect the behaviors of diverse policy 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 620 The EU: Contemporary Issues and Controversies

This course offers a deep look into contemporary issues and debates in EU politics. The particular subject matter changes from semester to semester; contemporary issues include the future of the common currency, immigration and asylum, relationships between particular member-states and the broader Union, and EU foreign policy challenges. Regardless of its specific focus, this course considers the historical background of the debate, the positions of different member-states and policy players, and the likely future of the issue. The course requires active engagement with contemporary media coverage, think tank analyses, and scholarly literature.

Spring Semester

In the spring semester, students undertake specialized public policy studies, exploring in greater detail issues and policies raised in the core curriculum in the fall. All students declare a policy track of specialization in (a) economic and social policy or (b) foreign policy and internal security. Policy-making and application is integrated into all spring semester courses. All students complete the following coursework (enrolling in POSC 641 or POSC 642, depending on their policy track of specialization): 

POSC 640 Policy Analysis and the European Union

This course offers an intensive immersion into the methods and concepts of policy analysis, with emphasis on applications involving European affairs. It introduces students to various techniques in policy forecasting, monitoring, and evaluation while discussing their potential application to policy decision-making, policy advocacy, and policy implementation. Students apply those techniques in case-based projects.

POSC 641 Topics in Economic and Social Policy 

In-depth exploration of specialized topics in EU economic and social policy. The topics for each semester will vary and may include the single market, economic and monetary union, competition policy, social policy, agricultural policy, regional policy, environmental policy, energy policy, and research and development policy.

POSC 642 Topics in Foreign Policy and Internal Security 

In-depth exploration of specialized topics in EU foreign policy and internal security. The topics for each semester will vary and may include European foreign policy, European security and defense policy, police and judicial cooperation, immigration and asylum, and efforts to combat organized crime.

POSC 643 The Transatlantic Relationship and the Challenges of Globalization

This course analyzes the connections between North America and Europe. It examines the transatlantic trade and investment relationship, the transatlantic security relationship, US/EU approaches to specific global challenges and governance regimes, and the ways that developments in other world regions affect transatlantic dynamics. Students pursue transatlantic topics of interest within the policy track of specialization.

POSC 644 Research in Policy Dynamics

This course involves scrutiny of policy proposals from their conception through their ultimate fate. Students gain familiarity with specialized databases in multiple policy-making systems. The course promotes familiarity with alternative ways of conceptualizing, organizing, publicizing, and tracking the evolution of policy proposals and policy-relevant data.

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.