University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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European Studies

The European Studies Program is part of the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC). It is taught with participation from Languages, History, English, Political Economy, Economics and other departments. The European Studies major can count toward the BA and the BIGS degrees.

About the major

Europe has been in turmoil. As a major trading, political and cultural partner of Europe, Australia is watching developments in the world’s most advanced supranational organisation with interest and concern. European Studies will introduce you to the contemporary societies and cultures of Europe and the European Union. Junior units focus on current events in Europe. We explore European identity in gripping films. We observe how European nations deal with cultural change and diversity. We read about different cultural and ethnic groups. How do they coexist? What happened in the Balkans? What is happening in Ukraine and Russia? What are the human dimensions of the crisis and how are Greece and Spain emerging from it? How do Germany and the Scandinavian democracies function? What are the keys to Italian and French art, film and culture? These are the sorts of things we think about in European Studies.

The European Studies program is interdisciplinary, meaning that we look at aspects of European life from a variety of perspectives. This allows you to tie European Studies in with your interests in history, economics, politics and the social sciences and literary and cultural studies. All material is taught in English and no language other than English is required in order to take European Studies units.

This course will teach you about contemporary Europe. Graduates of European Studies work in the diplomatic service, in federal and state government bodies, in international non-government organisations, in business, education, journalism and the print, digital, radio and television media.

Pathways through the major

A major in European Studies requires at least 36 senior credit points, including at least 6 credit points at 3000 level from core units of study (or approved electives at 3000 level), and up to 12 senior credit points from European and Middle Eastern Languages (French Studies, German Studies, Italian Studies, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Spanish and Latin American Studies, Modern Hebrew, Arabic Language and Cultures) or other approved electives.

The units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for European Studies. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

Students wishing to major in European Studies may take two junior units of study specific to European Studies. Or you may enter the major stream at senior intermediate level if you have the relevant prerequisites (which include all junior European language units). European Studies is a discrete major sequence and is also designed to accompany European language majors. Beginners language students are encouraged to take European Studies units in order to build knowledge and understanding of social, political and cultural issues.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

Senior-intermediate (2000 level) units of study allow you to follow your interests in cultural, historical or social studies, gaining breadth and depth of knowledge and generic skills in research, analysis and writing.

In senior-advanced (3000 level) units you will study a broad defining aspect of Europe in terms of contemporary social theory and develop research, analysis and writing skills at a high level of development and learn to apply current theoretical frameworks to the analysis of Europe in terms of area studies and civilisational theory. A major in European Studies requires at least 6 credit points of core units of study completed at 3000 level.


Intending honours students must have an average of 70 percent or above in 48 senior credit points in European Studies, including the requirements for the major and 12 additional senior credit points (which may include units in relevant languages). 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, and to include European-language honours-level coursework in their coursework component.

Contact/further information

Department website:

Professor Peter Morgan
Phone: +61 2 9351 3146