M.A. Degree in European Studies

 Requirements and Curriculum

The curriculum for the M.A. degree in European Studies consists of 12 courses totaling 36 credit hours, inlcuding a required common core, "Core Cluster" courses, and free elective courses as described below. 

As part of this program, students are required to spend one semester at a partner European university, typically during the fall of the second year.  Nine of the total 36 degree credits needed for graduation will be taken abroad and applied to the course distribution requirements described below in close consultation with an individual faculty advisor.

Required Common Core

The required common core consists of four courses totaling 12 credit hours. 


Course Title

Credit Hours

EURS 5000

Perspectives on Europe in the World


EURS 8998

Preparation of Research Proposal for M.A. Thesis


EURS 8999

M.A. Thesis Seminar


EURS 6000

Research Inquiries in European Studies


"Core Cluster" Courses

"Core Cluster" courses consist of three elective courses totaling 9 credit hours. Each student must take one course in each of the three Cluster Areas described below.  The three "Core Cluster" courses, selected in concert with a student’s faculty advisor, are intended to familiarize students with distinctive approaches to the study of Europe.

Students will eventually specialize by choosing a minimum of two additional elective courses within a single cluster. The intent here is to orient students toward an area of specialization that best supports their research interests. These courses may be taken either at UVa or at a European partner university (see "Free Elective Courses" below). 

Course Cluster

Cluster Title

Credit Hours


European Unions: Centers and Peripheries



Europe in the World



Socio-Cultural and Historical Perspectives


European Union: Centers and Peripheries: This cluster reflects the idea that Europe has never been a unified “center” along say, a North-South global divide but rather incorporates vast inequalities within itself in terms of economic prosperity, socio-cultural integration, national influence, demographic trends, etc.  Indeed, the increasingly obvious migration of the global South to Europe requires a rethinking of just what is a center and a periphery respectively.

Europe in the World: This cluster reflects the reality that not only has Europe profoundly shaped the contours of world society (especially after 1492) but that, especially, after 1945, Europe is constrained to deal with the outside world in terms of sovereign interdependence. Europe’s relations with the non-European world have a profound impact on the continent’s prosperity and stability. Europe participates in such a world within a complex web of interdependencies in which Europe’s external and internal futures cannot be simply separated from each other.

Socio-Cultural and Historical Perspectives: This cluster reflects our conviction that the study of contemporary Europe cannot be separated from that of Europe’s deeper past. If the study of contemporary Europe involves the analysis of various structures of economy, politics, society and culture, the study of historical Europe involves the analysis of the evolution of such structures across time. Neither can be complete without the other.

Free Elective Courses

Free elective courses consist of five courses totaling 15 credit hours.  These courses, selected in concert with a student’s faculty advisor, continue a student’s focus in an area of specialization that will support the student’s research.  Students select two groupings of free elective courses:

  1. Three courses totaling 9 credit hours taken at a European partner university during the third semester of study.
  2. Two courses totaling 6 credit hours selected from among one of the three approved course clusters.  Courses outside the approved clusters that contribute to the student’s research may be taken only with the approval of the student’s faculty advisor or the program director.


As with other M.A. programs at the University, the culmination of the curriculum is the submission of a thesis.  The thesis proposal will be developed during the semester spent at a European partner university (typically the third semester) with advice of a University faculty member selected by the student at the end of the first year of study.  The thesis itself will be completed during the fourth semester under the supervision of the faculty thesis advisor.  The thesis proposal must be approved by the student’s faculty thesis advisor and a European Studies faculty member from another discipline.

A student whose thesis is judged to be insufficient may pursue thesis research and writing as independent study courses over the summer and, if necessary, the fall following the fourth semester. They must submit a revised thesis for approval by two faculty advisors by December 1 of the same year or, depending on circumstances, no later than six months after the thesis would normally be due. If the thesis is still judged unsatisfactory, the student will not receive the M.A. in European Studies degree. Beyond this date, students may petition the program director for a six-month extension to complete the thesis, if specific and unusual circumstances—in the judgment of the program director—warrant this.

Language Proficiency

Students in this program must achieve a minimum of 4th-year level proficiency in a European language other than English. This proficiency may be demonstrated through coursework or an oral and written proficiency exam administered by a qualified instructor in the appropriate University language department. (N.B. Successful completion of a 4000-level undergraduate course taught in the target language would demonstrate language mastery but would not count toward the 36 credit hours needed to complete the M.A. degree, whereas the successful completion of a 5000-level  graduate course taught in the target language and listed on the European Studies course list would both demonstrate proficiency and count toward the completion of degree requirements).

A student whose language proficiency is judged to be insufficient may pursue over the summer European language practicums as independent study courses to raise their language level and, if necessary, the fall following the fourth semester. They must successfully complete both an oral exam and written proficiency exam by December 1 of the same year. If the language proficiency is still judged unsatisfactory, the student will not receive the M.A. in European Studies degree

Academic Standing

All academic rules of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences apply to this program. Students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.00 (B) during each academic term and sustain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 cumulatively in order to maintain good academic standing. Unsatisfactory performance during a given semester may be considered sufficient reason for a student to be placed on academic probation or asked to leave the program.