Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module LAW41230: Advanced Research in EU Law

Department: Law

LAW41230: Advanced Research in EU Law

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • Introduction to EU Law and either Selected Issues in European Law or EC Business Law (can be waived by module convenor).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module is aimed at developing research and presentation skills in European law. To this end, students will be gradually guided through the research process; after having been introduced to research methods specific to European Law, students will be asked to choose an area of research to be approved by the module leader and to write a 500 word research proposal (10%). They will be then asked to make a presentation to the class about their research (5%); and they will need to produce an annotated bibliography of minimum 10 items and maximum 20 (10%). The students will then produce a 6000 word essay (75%). The module is constructed to meet the needs of those students interested in building strong research skills, many of whom might be considering undertaking a PhD with a view to a future academic career, but also those who would value high-level research abilities as a transferable skill in other fields of employment. The knowledge acquired in this module will be immediately transferable in the final dissertation.


  • The first seminar will be on research methods. The second and third seminar will focus on guiding students in the choice of their research area (within EU law). Before the fourth seminar students will have to submit a 500 words research proposal, which will attract 10% of the grade and on which students will receive feedback. Seminar 4 will be devoted to the feedback and to introduce students to funding sources and on writing applications for funding (formative assessment). Seminar 5, 6, and 7 and 8 will consist of student presentations (5% of the marks) on their chosen research topic (students will be required to produce a handout). Before seminar 9 students will be asked to hand in an annotated bibliography (10%) and in seminar 9 students will receive feedback on the annotated bibliography.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will:
  • (a) acquire advanced knowledge of a specific area of constitutional or substantive law of the EU;
  • (b) Demonstrate familiarity with all the main constitutional principles underpinning the EU;
  • (c) develop a bibliography of EU Law sources;
  • (d) become familiar with advanced primary and secondary sources in the study of EU law;
  • (e) Become familiar with the research tools relevant to EU law research.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will:
  • (a) Be able to critically assess the main problems in the areas studied;
  • (b) Be able to discuss in an in-depth and informed way primary and secondary EU sources;
  • (c) Be able to write a small research proposal on an EU law subject;
  • (d) Be able to select the sources (cases and scholarly work) most relevant to their research;
  • (e) Be able to interrogate advanced primary and secondary EU law sources using relevant research tools.
Key Skills:
  • ability to discern and select relevant information
  • understanding of complex materials
  • ability to describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators
  • ability to write in a clear and structured way and to put forward their ideas in a scholarly manner
  • ability to present work orally in a coherent and structured way

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught through seminar classes; students will be required to present their research having first circulated an essential reading list so as to allow their peers to follow their presentation and to engage in discussion. Students will need to engage in a sophisticated analysis of the problems under consideration and to critically assess both primary sources (legislation, case law, Treaties) and secondary sources (scholarship, reports etc). The module will be assessed by means of a 500 word research proposal (10%); a presentation on ongoing research (5%); an annotated bibliography of a selection of maximum 20 items (to include both scholarship and case law) (10%); and a 6000 word essay (75%).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 (flexible) Weekly 2hrs 18
Preparation and reading 282
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Research Proposal Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Proposal 500 words 100% Yes
Component: Oral Presentation Component Weighting: 5%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Oral presentation 20 - 30 mins 100% No
Component: Annotated Bibliography Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Bibliography Min 10 items, max 20 items 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 6000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Table of Contents (Max 1000 words) Funding Proposal (between 500 and 1000 words)

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University