"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).
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.