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European Union law

Qualification dates
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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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2030.

Course work includes:

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