England.  Change location

European Union law

At the time of producing this module description the UK had recently left the European Union. However, some terms of the Withdrawal Agreement are being renegotiated. Hopefully, by the time this module starts a clearer picture will have emerged. Whilst the focus of the module will remain as set out below, some details may require modification in order to accurately reflect the impact of the emergent changes.

This module will not only offer you intensive knowledge of different areas of European Union law, but 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.

What you will study

This module explores the Law of the European Union (EU law) by focusing on differing themes. What makes this module unique is the perspective and structure. It will be different to other courses teaching EU law as the inspiration and intention is to teach the differing topics from a European perspective rather than from a UK perspective. This way, you will be given a more in depth view of EU law. The organisation around themes will mean that the average approach to the teaching of European Union Law will be avoided. Principles such as direct effect and subsidiarity will be taught in a topical context to engage you in a lively discussion with your fellow students and the module team right from the beginning.

In addition to being taught the different aspects of EU law, you'll also be given various opportunities to apply and critical evaluate the law with and without reference to the UK’s legal system.

This module is presented in four blocks, each of which includes 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 of this module will introduce you to the module and the law, and also support your learning journey of EU law as a glossary. This first unit will therefore be unique as it will be structured according to key terms without necessarily having an overarching topical thread running through it.

Block 2: Principles and people 
This block will add more to the aspects of EU law covered in Block one by introducing the single market and exploring citizenship as well as the EU’s approach towards discrimination.

Block 3: Free movement and politics 
This block goes into even more depth and invites you to analyse the free movement provisions in detail as well as exploring the EU’s approach to policy making.

Block 4: European Union law in close-up,
This block will then add some more flesh to the bones of the EU structure you will have explored so far. Here you'll be engaging with topical discussions in environmental and competition law.

The delivery of content via the module website will be supported by online and face to face learning events. The face to face events are going to be delivered in the form of three day schools, which are spread across the module to prepare you directly for the various assessment points. There will be online equivalents for those events as well as additional online sessions supporting your skill development in certain areas. 

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

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, such as either Contract law and tort law (W202) or Public law and criminal law (W203).

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

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
  • 12 online units divided into four 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 (11 'Big Sur' 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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will be responsible for marking your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

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.

We aim to provide face-to-face tutorials in a range of locations you can travel to, though we cannot guarantee availability close to where you live, in specific locations, or locations that have been used previously. Student numbers on the module, and where tutors are based, will affect the locations of where tutorials are held, and what online alternatives are provided. Recordings will typically be made available.

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 above.

The assessment points are spread over the course of the module so you are given plenty of opportunity to prepare but also reflect on your progress and achievements. The units are designed in a way to support your learning by means of consolidation and reflection. This will enable you to assess your own progression, encourage reflection on progress as well as checking understanding and knowledge in order to improve your overall learning experience.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

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.

Future availability

European Union law starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2025.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school