Universiteit Leiden

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European Union Studies (MA)

About the programme

The European Union Studies programme is a specialisation of the master’s programme in International Relations and examines the processes of European integration from an interdisciplinary angle by a mix of specialist, academic researchers and experts with direct experience in policy-making and policy-implementation.

Programme structure

Semester 1 Semester 2
History of European Integration (5 EC) 3 electives (15 EC total)
Institutions of the EU (5 EC) Thesis (15 EC)
EU Law (5 EC)  
Economics of the EU (5 EC)  
Regionalism in World Politics (5 EC)  
Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research (5 EC)  

EU seminar series

Alongside the regular course offer, students of the MA European Union Studies also benefit from regular EU seminars with practitioners from various backgrounds who come to Leiden to share their perspectives on the challenges the EU is facing and offer hands-on insights into day-to-day work of European institutions. Learn more about the EU seminar series.


You have the opportunity to replace one elective with an internship or to pursue an internship as an extracurricular activity. Both options usually imply a study extension because you would delay graduation by one semester. Yet this possibility is valued and used by many of our students.

Having such experience is also highly valued within international organisations. International Relations students have previously undertaken internships at a variety of prestigious organisations, including:

  • European institutions - examples include Estonian presidency of the European Union, internships for members of the European Parliament;
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Security Policy Department (DVB), as well as a number of local governments;
  • National embassies in The Hague and overseas;
  • NGOs, such as Amnesty International, Gender Concerns International;
  • Think tanks, such as the Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’, the International Centre for Counterterrorism and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies;
  • Consultancies such as Berenschot Groep B.V., International Chamber of Commerce Netherlands;
  • Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

The preparatory course introduces you to core conceptual, methodological and theoretical issues you meet when you initiate, research, and write your MA thesis. In addition, a series of seminars will enable students to discuss specific issues relating to International Relations. Your thesis is supposed to be based on original research that speaks to the core themes of the MA International Relations.

Below you will find some recent examples of thesis subjects:

  • Normative Power Europe? The EU Projection of Normative Power Outside and Inside the UN (2016-17)
  • Investments in Solar Power: a Practical Approach to Transaction Cost Theory: case study of Italy and Germany (2016-17)
  • What are the pull factors of migration? Evidence from the Central Mediterranean Route 2011-2016 (2016-17)
  • The Europeanization of national foreign policy in the Middle-East Peace Process: The cases of France, the United Kingdom and Germany (2016-17)
  • Civil Society Participation in EU Policy-Making: ‘Greening’ in the 2013 CAP Reform (2016-17)
  • The protection of Media Freedom as a Fundamental Right au pays des droits de l'homme - A focus on Institutional Act n°2009-257 (2016-17)
  • How Westbindung prevailed over Ostpolitik (2016-17)
  • The possibility of fighting terrorism through the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) (2016-17)
  • The Enforceability of Labour Rights in Bilateral Trade Agreements of the European Union: The Case of CETA (2016-17)
  • Freedom of Expression: Religiously Offensive Speech in France and the Case of Charlie Hebdo (2016-17)

For a more detailed programme, please check the Prospectus.

Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Maxine David

University Lecturer

Maxine David

"The main strength of our MA International Relations, European Union Studies programme is that we explore the European Union from a number of disciplinary approaches, including History, Economics, Political Science and IR, and Law. But our students move beyond this multi-disciplinarity to think in critical, interdisciplinary ways in order to understand the complexity of the EU and the social realities in which it operates – but also helps create."

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?

Check the entry requirements

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