Program Overview



Explore important concepts of international relations by examining Britain’s dynamic relationship with the European Union. Start by reviewing the United Kingdom’s role in World War II, which was the backdrop against which the European Union developed. That development illustrates how states seek to promote international cooperation to counter the tendency of the international system to lead to conflict and war. Britain’s initial reluctance to join the EU, its subsequent embrace of the EU (but not the Euro), and the turmoil around its exit from the EU demonstrate the ongoing tension states face between the desire to solve shared problems and resistance to relinquishing their sovereignty. How the states of the EU have (and have not) responded to COVID-19, the lack of a coordinated EU response, and the difference from how the UK has responded can shed light on the influence or non-influence of international institutions.

We will focus on major international issues, including the Coronavirus pandemic as well as trade, human rights/migration, and environmental protection. Understanding how the UK and the EU responded to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as who gains and loses from free trade (as members of the EU) and protectionism (after the UK Brexited) helps explain changes in the UK-EU relationship over time. The “spillover” of the EU’s economic integration into robust cooperation and regulation with respect to human rights and environment, climate change, and COVID-19 nicely illustrate the dynamics many scholars expect of states and the international institutions they create.

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Academic Details

Earn 4 UO credits. The credits are approved as 300-level PS credit and count towards GLOBAL CAREER PATH. CRN 43617. For non-UO students, credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Begin an application to learn more.

The draft syllabus for this experience will be updated soon to reflect remote activities. Experiential activities will/may include:

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Faculty and Staff

Ronald B. Mitchell is a Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon and an expert on international environmental politics and law. He founded and directs the International Environmental Agreements Database Project, which provides students and scholars with a catalog of all environmental treaties. His research seeks to identify and explain patterns in the design and effectiveness of international environmental treaties. He has published four books and over 40 articles and chapters in edited volumes, including in International Organization, Global Environmental Politics, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, and International Environmental Agreements. He has received three US National Science Foundation grants and was the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s 2018 Elinor Ostrom Career Achievement Award. He co-directed the Dissertation Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research (DISCCRS) from 2003-2014. He teaches courses on international relations, international environmental politics, and international organization.

Dates and Deadlines

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Travel Advisories

For current health, safety, and travel advisory information, search the US Department of State country webpage.