3260 European Union Studies

Program Offered:

  • European Union Studies Certificate

Department of Political Science
1005 Langdale Hall

Program Coordinator: Jeannie Grussendorf (jgrussendorf@gsu.edu)

The certificate in European Union Studies is operated under the supervision of the European Council of the University System of Georgia. The program is open to all institutions and students of the University System as well as to professionals with an undergraduate degree. The program’s purpose is to promote knowledge of the European Union (EU) and certify individuals as competent in the subject area of EU studies. Since the EU is the most important economic and political partner of the United States, this certification demonstrates valuable professional expertise to potential employers. For students in the academic track, this interdisciplinary certificate can be earned as a supplement to any conventional undergraduate degree.

Admission to the Program

A certificate in European Union Studies can be earned in one of two ways. Under the academic track, a certificate is taken in tandem with an undergraduate degree program. Students from all academic majors are eligible to participate so long as they possess a minimum 2.75 cumulative grade point average (GPA). Under the professional track, non-degree seeking students — such as business executives — are eligible to enroll in the program upon proof of a valid undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. The minimum GPA requirement is waived.

Under either track, an application to the program cannot be made until successful completion of the following: (1) the introductory course on the European Union (POLS 4242) with a grade of “C” or better, (2) 30 semester hours of academic credit, and (3) a course in world or western civilization (HIST 1111 or HIST 1112).

The European Union Studies Certificate

To earn the EU Studies Certificate, students must complete the certificate curriculum (18 hours) and fulfill the practicum experience requirement. Students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in curriculum courses upon completion of the program. An official certificate is awarded upon graduation, and the certificate is noted on a student’s permanent transcripts.

The EU Studies Certificate Curriculum (18):

  1. POLS 4242 The European Union (3)
  2. Multidisciplinary Menu (12)
    A student must complete four courses from an approved menu of courses dealing substantially with the EU. These courses must be distributed among at least three different discipline areas: Social Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts, Business and Economics, and Natural and Health Sciences. The program’s campus representative decides which courses qualify for the certificate and maintains an updated list of approved courses in the different discipline areas. No more than one course in this menu can be taken at the 1000-2000 level, with the exception of EU Studies online courses (see below) and study abroad courses. Students may substitute for up to two menu courses by performing an internship and/or composing a thesis.
  3. Capstone Seminar in EU Studies (3)
    Taken either as a Directed Study (PolS 4920) or online course, this is ideally the last course in the certificate program. It has three learning objectives: (1) to update students on EU developments and reinforce their general knowledge of the EU, (2) to provide in-depth knowledge of important EU issues, and (3) to allow students to conduct intensive research on EU-related topics.
  4. Practicum Experience:
    Since it is deemed crucial that students demonstrate more than an academic knowledge of the European Union to be certified as adequately prepared in the subject, a “real-life” practicum experience pertaining to the EU must be performed either in the form of an overseas visit or an internship. The overseas option is broadly defined and can be accommodated by a wide range of activities, including study or research abroad. The same flexibility applies to the internship, which can be served domestically or internationally. A student’s specific practicum experience must be approved by the program’s campus representative.

Online Courses and Transatlantic Joint Certificate

The EU Studies program has developed a curriculum of online courses in conjunction with European university partners. These are courses in different discipline areas that deal with various aspects of the EU and are taught jointly by University System institutions and European universities at specified times throughout the academic year. The program’s campus representative maintains an updated list of these courses and a teaching schedule, as well as information about course registration.

The EU Studies program offers the option of acquiring a certificate that is jointly conferred with a European institution. This option requires students to complete — with a grade of “B” or better — a minimum of two online courses that are co-taught with European partner universities. Students completing this option have the EU Studies certificate awarded by both their home institution and one in Europe, thus giving them an academic credential from a respected European university.

Areas of Distinction

In addition to acknowledging competence in the EU generally, the certificate also highlights special achievements by providing a notation of “distinction” in two areas: (1) foreign language proficiency (six semester hours at or above the 2000 level and (2) composition of a thesis.

The foreign language distinction must be earned in a European language approved by the program’s campus representative as appropriate to the certificate’s objectives. A student with prior language skills can earn a distinction by successful completion of an examination demonstrating competency equivalent to the 2000 level. The exam is administered at the student’s home institution.

The thesis can be written anytime during the final year of study. It is supervised by a committee composed of three faculty members representing at least two different academic disciplines. The program’s campus representative maintains a more detailed description of thesis requirements.