University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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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 spent 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 Department of European Studies draws on the expertise of specialists in French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Spanish, Arabic, and Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies.

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-language 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 one of the European languages on offer in the School of Languages and Cultures.

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 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, or specialising in project-based fourth year units that will further enhance your work-ready skills.

Requirements for completion

The European Studies major and minor requirements are listed in the European Studies unit of study table.

Learning outcomes
No. Learning outcome
1 Demonstrate broad and in-depth knowledge of major issues of importance to contemporary Europe and the European Union.
2 Synthesise factual knowledge and theoretical frameworks by constructing and testing new arguments and proposing evidence-based assessments of issues relating to Europe and the European Union.
3 Critically analyse and interpret primary and secondary sources in accordance with relevant disciplinary methodologies in the field of European Studies.
4 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of major theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches in the field of European Studies.
5 Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively and openly in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary settings to achieve high quality results.
6 Demonstrate an ability to make informed, articulate, interesting and constructive presentations and to elicit constructive feedback in collaborative work environments.
7 Apply appropriate professional and ethical standards to academic research and inquiry in European Studies.
Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies in School of Languages and Culture (SLC) prepares students to actively engage in the complex and culturally diverse contemporary world. Students will utilise linguistic and methodological skills developed in their previous studies to develop their knowledge of institutions, practices and ideas that permeate different cultures in the local and global context. They will be offered opportunities to participate in projects on translation, acculturation and self-reflexivity and to examine textual and social real-world problems related to topics which include translation, migration studies, cultural diversity and social integration.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the European Studies advanced coursework units of study page.


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.

Honours admission requirements

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.

Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the European Studies honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information

For contact details and more information see the Department of European Studies website.