Contemporary European Politics and Society

Program Offerings

Offering type

The Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society, an affiliate of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, encourages the interdisciplinary study of modern Europe, with a particular focus on politics, economics and society in western and central Europe since World War I. The program sponsors a core course (EPS 301, 302, or HIS 212/EPS 212). In addition, it sponsors lectures, seminars and other programs for the entire University community. The program offers a certificate in Contemporary European Politics and Society.

Goals for Student Learning

The interdisciplinary approach to the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society aims to show how the region’s long history and variety of cultural traditions still shape many European responses to modern predicaments. Europe is unique. Social scientists can observe trends that are relevant to the world at large: how regional integration works or does not work; how societies respond to flows of immigration and to globalization; and the character and limits of monetary cooperation. EPS and its affiliate, the European Union Program, offer students who participate in the undergraduate certificate an opportunity to develop a more comprehensive picture of Europe and to interact with a broad range of European cultural and political figures.

Throughout their coursework, undergraduate students can design their course of study to meet their interests and fulfill the requirements of the program. Language study is an integral part of the curriculum.

Attending the numerous lectures and panel discussions sponsored by the program throughout the academic year is an important aspect of gaining a better understanding of Europe. There is a particular emphasis on covering topics on current events related to politics, economics, and government, among others.

Program of Study

In order to receive a certificate in contemporary European politics and society, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Take one of the following gateway courses: EPS 301, EPS 302, or HIS 212/EPS 212.
  2. Take at least four other courses from the list of core courses that have an emphasis on European politics and society. Other courses may be approved by the director.
  3. Of the four courses, at least one must be chosen from among offerings in history and at least one must be chosen from among offerings in the other social sciences.
  4. Fulfill a language requirement by doing one of the following:
    • Take a 200- or 300-level course in a European language.
    • Demonstrate fluency in a European language by taking a test administered by the program. Any national language spoken in a European country may be used to satisfy the requirement. The expectation is that students will have sufficient linguistic competence to use research materials in the language for their senior thesis research.
  5. Write a senior thesis on a subject related to contemporary European politics and society. Students majoring in departments where a senior thesis on modern Europe is not possible may petition the director to have another piece of independent research meet this requirement.

Certificate of Proficiency

A student who has met the requirements of the program and of the home department and has maintained satisfactory standing will receive a certificate of proficiency in contemporary European politics and society upon graduation.


  • Director

    • Sophie Meunier Aitsahalia
  • Executive Committee

    • Edward G. Baring, History
    • David A. Bell, History
    • Rafaela M. Dancygier, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Michael D. Gordin, History
    • Harold James, History
    • Andrew Moravcsik, Politics
    • Jan-Werner Müller, Politics
    • Kim Lane Scheppele, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Iryna Vushko, History

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.


EPS 212 - Europe in the World: From 1776 to the Present Day (also HIS 212) Spring HA

EPS 227 - Contemporary Issues in Spain (also SPA 227/URB 237) LA

EPS 300 - European Politics and Society in the 20th and 21st Centuries Fall SA

The critical developments of 20th-century Europe and the consolidation of democracy in European countries, including the legacy of the two world wars, Nazism, Stalinism, the Cold War, colonialism and decolonization, the birth and development of the European Community, the development of the welfare state, the problems confronting the European Union (immigration, enlargement, political institutions, military role), and the varieties of democratic institutions in Europe. Two lectures, one preceptorial. E. Suleiman, D. Moak

EPS 342 - Economics of Europe (also ECO 372) Fall SA