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European Union law

This module explores European Union law (EU law) by focusing on differing themes. It teaches the differing topics from a European perspective rather than from a UK perspective which makes this module different to other EU law courses. This way, you'll be given a more in depth view of EU law. The organisation around themes and use of topical context aims to allow you to engage in a lively discussion with your fellow students and the module team right from the beginning. You'll be given various opportunities to apply and critical evaluate the law with and without reference to the UK's legal system. It will also help you develop further academic and professional skills. The focus is law at European Union level looking at the workings of the EU Institutions, Court and its jurisprudence.

Please note that some details of the module may require modification in order to accurately reflect the impact of the emergent national and transnational changes affecting governance of the EU.


Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects


Module code




  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.

Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
3 10 6

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

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What you will study

This module is presented in three blocks, each of which has three units.

Block 1: Introduction to the framework 
This block introduces the historic background of the European Union, as well as the institutions, principles and the law-making processes. The first unit introduces the module and the law, supports your learning journey of EU law as a glossary, and will therefore be unique as it's structured according to key terms without necessarily having an overarching topical thread running through it.

Block 2: Free movement rules and principles
This block adds to the aspects of EU law covered in the first block by introducing the internal market and exploring citizenship as well as the EU’s approach towards discrimination. You'll analyse the free movement provisions in detail as well as exploring the EU's approach to policy making. While looking at free movement of workers, the concept of EU citizenship will also be explored.

Block 3: The reach of EU policies and law
This block engages with topical discussions on EU non-discrimination law and competition law. You'll learn more about Brexit and about the EU external relations with the World Trade Organisation.

You will learn

After studying this module you should be able to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the:

  • concepts, rules and principles of European Union law
  • social, political, economic and historic dimensions of European Union law

You should also be able to identify, apply and critically analyse the:

  • principles of European Union law
  • different legal and policy arguments with relation to European Union law as articulated in public discourse, academic debate, case law and legal scholarship

Vocational relevance

As this module is one of the foundations of legal knowledge it forms an integral part of the academic stage of legal training.

If you are intending to study this module as part of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), and hope to enter the legal professions, you should read our Careers in Law information. There are different entry requirements into the legal professions in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

The delivery of content via the module website will be supported by online learning events. You will have the opportunity to attend a 30-minute online session in Week 1 to meet your tutor, and eight sets of online sessions of 90 minutes each.

You will be able to attend tutorials designed to support your studies. You are very strongly encouraged to participate in these because they will enable you to discuss aspects of the module with other students, and give you the opportunity to gain direct and timely study support. They will also give you an opportunity to build a network with students, tutors and other members of the module team, which can improve and enhance your study experience. Tutors will use tutorials to help you prepare for all your assessed work. Your tutor will be also responsible for marking your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

The assessment points are spread through the module to give plenty of opportunity to prepare and reflect on your progress and achievements. The units are designed to support your learning by means of consolidation and reflection. This will enable you to assess your understanding and knowledge in order to improve your overall learning experience.

Future availability

European Union law starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2030.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Entry requirements

In order to study this module, you must have successfully completed 60 credits of study at Stage 2.

This module will be of potential interest to you if you enjoy philosophy, politics, economics or social sciences, as well as traditional law. As this is a Stage 3 Law module, it includes some complex legal ideas. It is therefore highly recommended that you have successfully completed at least 60 credits of law at Stage 2.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Mar 2025 £1818.00

Registration closes 05/09/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2030.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Joint loan applications

If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and, therefore, the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 18/06/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of less than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

You’ll be provided with one text book and have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • a module guide
  • nine online units divided into three blocks
  • audio and video content
  • assessment guide
  • online tutorials and tutor group forums
  • an electronic version of the textbook.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying W330 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.