Public Affairs MPA – 2024 entry

Key information

Start date: September 2024

AwardUCAS codeCourse duration
MPA UCAS: L4304 years View KIS data set
MPA UCAS: L4315 years with professional training View KIS data set

Apply for your chosen course online through UCAS, with the following course and institution codes.

CourseUCAS codeInstitution code
MPAL430S85
MPA with professional trainingL431S85

Visit UCAS.com

Why choose this course

9th

For politics in the UK by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

11th

In the Complete University Guide 2023

Public affairs is about how organisations engage with politics to manage risk and influence public policy.

Our unique integrated masters course will give you in-depth knowledge of political science, public policy and international affairs. By combining undergraduate and postgraduate study into a single tailored package, this course fuses disciplinary fundamentals with a focus on application and generating change.

Along the way you’ll develop an understanding of the key actors and methods of influence in public affairs, and be able to address the biggest debates in contemporary public policy.

Our award-winning Professional Training placements prepare students for roles in industry.

We were shortlisted for University of the Year in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Introducing the Department of Politics | University of Surrey

Five reasons to study a course in politics, public affairs or international relations at Surrey

What you will study

On our Public Affairs MPA course, you’ll get a full disciplinary grounding in politics and public policy. You’ll also develop advanced applied knowledge of practical techniques of public affairs, including political leadership and communication, negotiation and lobbying, campaigning, and public administration.

In your final year, you will have the opportunity to develop and apply advanced primary research skills to a masters dissertation project on a topic of your choice.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

Recent graduates from the Department of Politics have secured roles such as:

  • Outreach Manager, House of Commons
  • Funding Manager, Latsis Organisation
  • Researcher, Department for Exiting the European Union
  • Press Officer, People’s Vote UK
  • Graduate Intern, Deutsche Bank
  • Commercial Real Estate Manager, Wells Fargo
  • Market Research Manager, GfK
  • Business Development Executive, Screenpages Ltd
  • Researcher, Westminster Forum Projects
  • Graduate Intern, Ipsos MORI
  • Corporate Finance Advisor, Department for Transport
  • Bid Analyst, Serco Ltd.

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.

Academic year structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.

Modules

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

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules usually can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

The structure of our programmes follow clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.

Please note: The full module listing for the optional Professional Training placement part of your course can be viewed on the relevant programme specification.

Timetables

Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday – Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. View our Code of practice for the scheduling of teaching and assessment (PDF).

Teaching

The Department of Politics ranks 1st in the UK for academic support, 2nd for learning opportunities and organisation, 3rd for learning resources and 4th for learning community National Student Survey 2022.

We’re proud of our students, and committed to their success. Our teaching is innovative, interactive, and practical, with a focus on building critical faculties and transferrable skills. We get to know our students on an individual level, providing ongoing feedback inside and outside of the classroom to enable them to achieve their potential.

There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by graduate teaching assistants. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.

Assessment

We use a wide range of authentic assessments, in addition to more traditional academic essays and exams. Students learn to write for decision-makers through strategy reviews and policy papers, provide precise and concise analysis in the form of diplomatic notes, and communicate ideas effectively in documentary film scripts.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Entry requirements

A-level

Overall: ABB.

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

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSE or equivalent: English language at grade C(4) and mathematics at grade C (4) (or equivalent).

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: DDD.

GCSE or equivalent: English language at grade C(4) and mathematics at grade C(4) (or equivalent).

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 level 3 credits overall including 30 credits at distinction and 15 at merit.

Required subjects: Please contact us to discuss suitability.

GCSE or equivalent: 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: 33.

GCSE or equivalent: English HL4/SL4 and either maths HL4/SL4 or maths studies HL4/SL4.

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: English language and mathematics ­– numeracy as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate. Please check the A-level drop down for the required GCSE levels.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will receive our standard A-level offer for this programme, plus an alternate offer of one A-level grade lower, subject to achieving an A grade in the EPQ. The one grade reduction will not apply to any required subjects.

Applicants can only receive one grade reduction from the published grades, an EPQ grade reduction can’t be applied in addition to other grade reductions made through other schemes such as Contextual Admissions or In2Surrey.

Do I meet the requirements for this course?

We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).

International entry requirements by country

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 at the Surrey International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree course.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in each other element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

We normally make offers in terms of grades.

If you are a suitable candidate you will be invited to an offer holder event. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.

Recognition of prior learning

We recognise that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. 

If this applies to you, the recognition of prior learning (RPL) process may allow you to join a course without the formal entry requirements or enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience. 

There are restrictions on RPL a for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. 

Please contact Admissions on +44 (0)1483 682222 with any queries. 

Fees

The annual tuition fees for courses starting in September 2024

MPA

UK
To be confirmed
Overseas
To be confirmed

MPA (with professional training year)

UK
To be confirmed
Overseas
To be confirmed
Professional training
To be confirmed

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

  • Fees for UK students: The University will apply annual regulated increases in the fee rates as set by Government each year, in order to maintain the same value in real terms. 
  • Fees for EU students: The UK is now no longer part of the EU, we are awaiting further instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. Find out more information about Studying in the UK and the Scholarships for EU students.
  • Fees for international students: Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements. 
  • Fees for international students with an integrated foundation year: The programme fee for Year 0 will match the lowest Year 1 overseas fee rate from across the substantive programmes for that year of entry. Students subsequently progressing into Year 1 will be liable for the same fee as overseas students joining at Year 1 for the same programme in that year. Annual fees after Year 1 will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements. 

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.

Payment schedule

  • Students in receipt of a Tuition Fee Loan: will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule.
  • International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a Tuition Fee Loan: are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
    • 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
    • 50% in January of the same academic year.

The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.

If you are sponsored: you will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.

Professional Training placement fees

If you are studying on a programme which contains a Professional Training placement year there will be a reduced fee for the academic year in which you undertake your placement. This is normally confirmed 12 to 18 months in advance, or once Government policy is determined.

See the information about 2023/24 academic year Professional Training placement fees.

Placements

Our award-winning Professional Training programme offers you the option to spend a career-enhancing year in industry, either in the UK or abroad. We have thousands of placement providers to choose from or you can source your own placement. 

Most placements are paid, and we will support you every step of the way. 

Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices. 

Public affairs placements

The distinguishing feature of our degree course is its focus on application. You’ll be taught how to apply theoretical understandings of politics and international relations to world events and issues.

Additionally, we’ll equip you with the skills necessary to find a placement. The aim of our Professional Training placement is to provide you with first-hand experience of how public affairs operates in practice. Our students have completed placements in the voluntary sector, government departments, MPs’ offices, international organisations and the private sector.

Recent placement providers for the Department of Politics include:

  • ALDI
  • Amazon
  • Bank of England
  • Department for Environment and Rural Affairs
  • GSK (Glaxo Smith Klein)
  • House of Commons
  • House of Lords
  • Panasonic
  • Unilever
  • YouLend.

Applying for placements

Students are generally not placed by the University, however we offer support and guidance throughout the process alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. We also provide support if you wish to source your own placement. 

Find out more about the application process.

Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.

Find out how students at Surrey developed their skills in industry by undertaking a placement year.

Study and work abroad

Studying at Surry opens up a world of opportunity. We want you to take advantage of our international partnerships, explore the world and expand your skills for the graduate job market.  

Perhaps you would like to volunteer in India or learn about Brazilian business and culture in São Paulo during your summer holidays? With more than 200 partnerships, from 50 different countries worldwide, there is something for everyone. 

View our study and work abroad information to find out more and see where you can go. 

Partner institutions

It is possible to spend half or all of your third year on study exchange with one of our partner universities. These include:

  • La Trobe University, Australia
  • Monash University, Australia
  • University of Queensland, Australia
  • University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Brock University, Canada
  • Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Copenhagen University. Denmark Sciences Po Aix, France
  • University of Mannheim, Germany
  • Maastricht University, Netherlands
  • Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Singapore Management University
  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain
  • California State University, US
  • George Mason University, US
  • North Carolina State University, US
  • Texas Tech University, US
  • University of Maryland, US
  • University of North Carolina, US
  • University of North Texas, US
  • University of Virginia, US
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, US
  • University of Bologna, Italy.

There are lots of advantages to taking part in an exchange scheme. You could discover a new culture and live in a new country while experiencing new teaching practices and approaches to politics and international relations.

You’ll also acquire a fresh perspective on your subject matter that can significantly improve your performance in your final year.

Students share their experiences of going on an international exchange to Hong Kong.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and procedures, the student regulations , and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions for the 2023/24 academic year and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/23 academic year as a guide as to what to expect. 

Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.  

Disclaimer

This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us and before you accept an offer. Read our full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Placement location

As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.

University of Surrey Admissions

Contact Admissions Team

Address

University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey GU2 7XH