Public Affairs MPA – 2018 entry

At Surrey, the social side is as good as the academic side. The Students’ Union is one of the largest in terms of the number of societies that it runs and the active participation of its students. There’s a big sense of community. People like to get involved.

Why Surrey?

The international political landscape has undergone remarkable changes in the past 50 years. Politics continues to affect life in every area of society, and it is only through study that we can begin to make sense of the global political landscape and create real change.

Our Department of Politics is home to a lively community of energetic minds who closely examine how power operates and how it affects people’s lives. This new and innovative course is unique in the UK, and focuses on the active role that citizens can play in shaping politics at local, national, and international levels.

Programme overview

Our unique integrated masters programme will give you in-depth knowledge of political science, public policy and international affairs. A distinctive feature of the course is its applied nature, and its emphasis on political and social change.

Over the four or five years of the course (depending on whether you choose to take a Professional Training placement) you’ll be introduced to a variety of social and political issues, and be able to tailor your degree with specialist modules that match your interests. In your final year, you’ll follow masters level modules and complete a dissertation project.

Your masters-level modules will cover topics such as international politics and public affairs, negotiating and lobbying, political communication, campaigning and global governance, and international public administration.

Programme structure 

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. 

Modules listed below are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

  • Introduction to Politics
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Debates in Politics
  • Contemporary International History
  • Evolution of an Integrated Europe
  • Identity and Politics
  • Social and Political Thinkers: From Machiavelli to Keynes
  • The politics of Crisis

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

  • Approaches to Research
  • Research Methods
  • Making Public Policy: Theory and Practice
  • International Organisations
  • Theorising International Relations
  • Them and US: Comparative Government & Politics
  • European Integration and Disintegration
  • International Political Economy
  • Security Studies
  • Electoral Systems and Voting Behaviour

Professional Training placement (five-year pathway)

Students on the five-year pathway will complete a one year work placement or a 50/50 work and study placement.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

  • Negotiating Politics and Policy
  • Politics in Practice
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Political Communication
  • Persepctives on Parliament
  • Critical Terrorism Studies
  • States and Markets in East Asia
  • Engendering World Politics
  • Populism and Democracy in Comparative Perspective
  • Case Studies in Globalisation

Year 4 (FHEQ Level 7)

  • Dissertation
  • Introduction to Research
  • Key Issues in International Politics
  • Global Governance
  • International Security and Defence
  • International Intervention
  • International Political Economy
  • Conflict and Peacebuilding
  • Critical Studies on Security and Terrorism

Professional training

We’re very proud of our track record for graduate employability. One of the main reasons for our graduate employability success is our Professional Training placement programme which is one of the largest in the World, with over 2,300 partner organisations in the UK and overseas. To find out more visit our Careers and Professional Training pages.

You’ll have the option to take a Professional Training placement on this course after your second year. You can either take a politics and economics-related work placement, or study politics and economics overseas, or do a combination of the two.

Your placement will allow you to apply and develop your understanding, as well as discover new approaches and elements.

Additionally, we also equip you with the skills you need to find a placement. The aim of our Professional Training placement programme is to provide you with a chance to experience first-­hand how politics operates in the real world, at a voluntary sector organisation, a government or local authority department, an MP or MEP’s office, or an international organisation.

Current and previous placement partners for our existing BSc courses include:

  • Save the Children
  • Ipsos MORI
  • Cape Town Refugee Centre
  • Transport for London
  • Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (Berlin)
  • Access Madagascar Initiative (Madagascar)
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • École Bilingue de Haute-Savoie (France)
  • Shadow Defence Secretary's Office
  • A range of political parties, including the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Socialist Workers Party

Careers and graduate prospects

Over the last few years, graduates of our existing BSc Politics and BSc International Politics courses have secured roles in:

  • The Houses of Parliament
  • Deloitte
  • Snapdragon Consulting
  • City Year
  • YMCA
  • The International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Surrey County Council.

After you graduate from this course, you can expect to enter inter-governmental roles across the globe, due to the international appeal of the MPA.

This course is also designed to stimulate your interest in research, so you might find yourself considering taking on a PhD after your MPA in your areas of interest to become an academic scholar in your own right.

Politics research seminars

The Department of Politics sponsors a regular research seminar series, which meets every two weeks during term­-time and brings together academic staff and postgraduate and undergraduate students from the University.

The purpose of the research seminars is to provide a forum for the presentation of cutting-­edge research papers and to increase awareness among our students about developments in diverse themes of research in the field today.

We regularly invite high­-profile UK and international scholars to present their work, and we encourage discussions with the audience. All members of the University and wider public community are welcome to participate.


Our commitment to research-led teaching has encouraged our staff to innovate and become leaders in developing new teaching methods. This approach has been recognised by a number of awards and fellowships.

We actively use social media as a tool for teaching and learning, and strive to apply effective teaching methods through interactive learning, direct observation and simulation games.

Your modules will be taught by academics who have conducted research in the area. They will share their expertise and integrate their research into their teaching, and you will benefit from inclusion in and engagement with research projects that our academic staff are currently undertaking.

Our research-led teaching is further supported by the expertise of our two centres of research excellence in politics, the Centre for International Intervention (cii) and the Centre for Research on the European Matrix (CRonEM). The Centre for International Intervention critically analyses and scrutinises the range of interventions used in international relations today, whilst CRonEM researches how governance, institutions and processes shape the European politics scape.

All of this will provide you will ample opportunity to engage in the research process, through completing your own research-driven assignments and by taking the opportunity to be involved in the Department of Politics’ own research. This will not only ignite your passion for research, but will also enhance your understanding of issues of validity, rigour and systematic analysis. You will also receive in-depth training in research methods.

You’ll be assessed through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.

2018 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?


Overall: ABB.

Applicants taking an A-level science subject with the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass the practical element.

GCSE or Equivalent: GCSE English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C (4) (or equivalent).

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: 45 Level 3 credits overall including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit.

Required Subjects: Please contact us to discuss suitability. 

GCSE or Equivalent: GCSE English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent).

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: DDD.

GCSE or Equivalent: GCSE English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C (4) (or equivalent).

European Baccalaureate

Overall: 78%.

GCSE or Equivalent: Maths 6 and either English Language (1/2) 6 or English Language (3) 7.

International Baccalaureate

Overall: 32.

GCSE or Equivalent: English HL4/SL4 and either Maths HL4/SL4 or Maths Studies HL4/SL4.

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Scottish Highers

Overall: AABBB. 

GCSE or Equivalent: English Language - Scottish National 5 - C Maths - Scottish National 5 - C.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Overall: Pass overall with ABB from a combination of the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels.

Applicants taking an A-level science subject with the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass the practical element. 

GCSE or Equivalent: GCSE English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent).

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Select your country:
English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent).

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
MPA 4 years L430 View KIS data set
MPA 5 years L431 View KIS data set

* Subject to validation

Subject to validation

This programme is subject to approval. This means that it has received initial agreement from the University and is currently undergoing a detailed final approval exercise, through the University’s quality assurance processes. These processes are a requirement for all Higher Education Institutions within the UK, to ensure that programmes are of the highest standard. Occasionally there may be instances where the University may delay or not approve the introduction of the programme. In these instances applicants will be informed by no later than 5 August.

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

Scholarship for Pioneers of Tomorrow

Do you want to make a real difference or have you already accomplished something special? Then the "Pioneer" student scholarship program is right for you!

Surrey Prestige Scholarship

This prestigious Surrey award for Undergraduates is aimed at high achievers and recognises academic excellence in your high school or equivalent leaving exams. 

The Full Surrey Award 2018 entry

The University will identify eligible students, so there is no application form for this scheme.

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Our graduates