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General information

Here you will find general information regarding the Master of Science in European Integration programme at the VUB.

Programme website

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Learning outcomes

For more information regarding the learning outcomes of the Master of Science in European Integration, click here

Numbers

To proceed to the ‘Opleiding in cijfers' (page only available in Dutch) page of the Flemish government, department of Education & Training, click here

Quality of the programme Master of Science in European Integration (EuroMaster)

The Master of Science in European Integration (EuroMaster) offers an interdisciplinary programme, integrating political science, economics and law. The learning outcomes are based on an overarching objective: to provide a distinctly international group of post-graduate students with advanced interdisciplinary education on European integration so as to prepare them for acknowledged academic, private and public sector employment.

The programme aims to be innovative, implementing blended learning in every course. The course council ensures that the curriculum is taught by a mixture of renowned EU scholars and top-level EU practitioners; the VUB’s location in Brussels allows for attracting such accomplished practitioners. The course council cherishes the richness in different backgrounds; students come from inside and outside of Europe. The teaching style is interactive and the small groups mean that the lecturers can be on a first-name basis with their students.

The EuroMaster offers an interdisciplinary programme, integrating 3 disciplines: political science, economics and law

Learning Outcomes and Profile

After the curriculum and title changes had been implemented, the learning outcomes of the degree programme were updated during the academic year 2016-2017. The learning outcomes are in line with Art. II.141 of the Higher Education Codex.

The learning outcomes are based on an overarching objective: ‘to provide a distinctly international group of post-graduate students with advanced interdisciplinary education on European integration so as to prepare them for acknowledged academic private and public sector employment’. The learning outcomes are further divided into three categories: knowledge and comprehension, application of knowledge and skills, and attitudes.

The EuroMaster offers an interdisciplinary programme, integrating 3 disciplines: political science, economics and law. The programme is designed for students already holding a master’s degree. Classes are organized in English and in the evening to cater to the main audience: officials and students already working in Brussels.

Interdisciplinarity is seen by the course council as a strength. Ideally, the disciplines are truly merged in every course unit, as opposed to simply offering expertise on each of the disciplines separately. The disciplines are to cross-fertilize each other, to create a dialogue in order to reach certain objectives, e.g. writing policy briefs or solving case-specific problems. Combining the disciplines means that problems are looked at from different angles: what does the law allow, what are the economic consequences of a proposal, who are the stakeholders? By merging these angles, it becomes easier to understand the comprehensive and holistic approaches to EU policy-making.

The new curriculum moves from the more traditional silo approach (offering the disciplines side by side) to full integration of the disciplines within each of the course units. The students in the class are with very diverse backgrounds, so that their viewpoints make courses all the more interesting and provide the opportunity for interdisciplinary and inter-cultural thinking.

The course council focuses on new teaching methods

Curriculum

The EuroMaster (60 ECTS) is organized in the evenings and can be pursued full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 years). The curriculum was revisited and the changes have been implemented in 2017-2018. The new programme consists of four compulsory course units for 21 ECTS (Economics of European Integration, Policy-making and Interest Representation in the European Union, History and Law of the European Union and Research Methods Lab). Students combine this core with 2 modules of two courses each (2 x 2 x 6 ECTS = 24 ECTS). They can choose from four modules, which cover topical issues that dominate the policy debates in the EU: European Economy, Migration and Europe, European External Relations and Security Policy, and European Environmental Governance. The modules thus allow more flexibility and choice. Together with the four compulsory course units and the Research Methods Lab, students are given a toolkit to tackle their master’s thesis. The master thesis counts for 15 ECTS.

The course council has harmonized the programme matrix with regards to the teaching methods, assessment types and learning outcomes. With regard to teaching methods, (interactive) lectures are almost always combined with other teaching methods (e.g. blended learning). Various course units require group work, and individual assignments make up a large part of independent learning. The programme is organized in such a way to give working students the opportunity to enroll and finish their studies while working

The course council focuses on new teaching methods, such as blended learning, aims to have each course unit contain 10-25% of innovative blended learning techniques. Interaction and small class sizes are thought of as vital elements of teaching.

The course council is preparing to benchmark the curriculum with comparable programmes in Belgium. An analysis of the other players in the field should be made in order to position oneself more firmly on the market.

Students feel they are graded fairly

Assessment Policy

A vision on assessment and programme-specific guidelines were formulated and included in the Teaching Guidelines in spring 2017. Discussions on and examples of test blueprints and assessment criteria (instruments to guarantee the validity and reliability of assessment) were debated in course council meetings. The course council also updates its thesis guidelines on a regular basis.

On the whole, students feel they are graded fairly and that the exams are not too difficult. Lecturers are said to be transparent about the marks, and graded exam copies can be discussed with the lecturers on request.

The policy on assessment and supporting documents were prepared and the tools will be further implemented. Special attention is paid to the use of both summative and formative assessments. Although the focus remains on summative assessments, formative aspects are integrated in a rising number of course units. Apart from more traditional assessment types such as written exams and reports, more innovative ways to assess (simulation and role playing games, case studies and peer assessment) are also incorporated.

The course council drafted documents to help lecturers grade both the thesis and other course units.  Students also receive these documents.

Student satisfaction

Students can evaluate the courses via the online student feedback forms. Below the results will be provided of the student feedback during the last two semesters for which data was available at the time of writing.

Participation:

  • 2016-2017 semester 2: 14.29% (7/49)
  • 2017-2018 semester 1: 8.33% (3/36)
The course council ensures that the curriculum is taught by a mixture of renowned EU scholars and top-level EU practitioners

Teaching Staff

The lecturers teach either one or two course units in the EuroMaster programme. This makes for a small core team. The lecturers are evaluated positively by the students. This is corroborated by the results of the teaching evaluations and the focus groups.

The course council ensures that the curriculum is taught by a mixture of renowned EU scholars and top-level EU practitioners. The VUB’s location in Brussels allows for attracting such accomplished practitioners. The teaching style is interactive and the small groups mean that the lecturers can be on a first-name basis with their students. The course council aims to attract additional prominent names to make the programme more visible to prospective students.

The experts teaching in the programme are excellent. The course council promotes further guest lectures and larger numbers of prominent experts to raise the programme’s profile and make it stand out.

Facilities and Study Guidance

The study programme matrix was completed and discussion on this topic led to a vision on course materials, which was included in the Teaching Guidelines in spring 2017.

The students appreciate the help they get from the administrative staff. The teaching staff is equally approachable. The quality of course material varies. In general, however, students feel they have no reason to complain about the materials provided.

The programme aims to be innovative, using the online teaching platform Canvas and implementing blended learning in every course, albeit to various degrees. Discerning what is essential to say during the lecture and what can be complemented by blended learning is considered challenging.

Enrolment

71 students enrolled in the academic year 2013-2014 and 69 in 2014-2015.

The course council defined a list of enrolment criteria to be used in the application process. However, the selection committee also takes into account geographical balance, so as to ensure a good mix. The course council admits students on a rolling basis. This means that each application is looked at and dealt with as it arrives and ensures that student enrolment is secured. Students know very quickly that they are accepted.

The course council explains that it caters to a few main audiences. Some students are already policy-oriented, others are international students with very little EU-related background knowledge. Despite the thorough selection process, this diversity is considered to be both challenging and enriching.

Study Success

The study yield (i.e. the number of credits taken up in relation to the number of credits obtained) of the master students in 2014-2015 was approximately 80%. In the previous years (starting from 2009-2010), study yield varied between 76 and 86%.

Diplomas, Alumni and Relations with the job market

In the Strategic Report it is stated that over a third of the students obtained their master’s degree after one year and a quarter of the students obtained it after two years between 2008-2009 and 2014-2015. In 2015-2016, 31 students were awarded a degree. The programme counts over 500 alumni, some of them in very prominent positions.

An alumni network is in place but could be developed further. Events are organized regularly, a budget is set aside for this. The course council explains it has a mailing list with 200-300 addresses (all students from the last seven years). An alumni newsletter is sent every few months. Alumni are also activated in various ways and have been involved in the course council for years. 

The course council cherishes the richness in different backgrounds

Internationalization

In the vision on education, teaching international students and preparing them for international careers is stressed. Brussels is said to be conveniently located in the heart of Europe (and home to most EU institutions), and the international, English-taught programme is attractive.

The course council cherishes the richness in different backgrounds. The challenge is to make sure that everyone stays on board. Students come from inside and outside of Europe. While EU students make up the largest group, there are also a significant number of students from Asia and some students from African countries. The EuroMaster programme would like to do more to attract American students.

Brussels is described as the ideal location for this advanced master’s programme, located in the heart of Europe. It is a very intercultural and the city with the largest student population in Belgium.

Students state that in general the contact between lecturers and students is very good

Communication

Students state that in general the contact between lecturers and students is very good.  The course council aims to further improve communication on changes in the schedule and other administrative provisions. Generally speaking the feedback from students and from the focus groups is taken into account.

The course council wants to invest more in PR. It defines the EU’s current situation and democratic challenges all around the world as a threat. It can prove increasingly difficult to attract students from outside the EU, or to find students who aspire to a career at the European Commission. The fact that the EuroMaster programme employs top-notch professors and leading specialists in several domains could be even more strongly part of the PR strategy.

The course council functions very well

Course Council

The course council meets several times a year and functions very well. Signals from quality control instruments are discussed and followed up. Information from teaching evaluations, external reviews and student focus groups are considered.  Both students and alumni are part of the course council.

This report is based on the results of the latest quality review, which took place on June 23rd, 2017, in the presence of representatives of the course council, including students, internal and external peers and experts and an alumna.

Text approved by the Academic Council 2 July 2018