Public Affairs MPA – 2020 entry
Why choose this course
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.
What you will study
Our unique integrated masters course will give you in-depth knowledge of political science, public policy and international affairs. A distinctive feature of the course is its focus on application, 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 explore 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 study 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.
|Qualification||Course length||Professional Training||Start date||UCAS||KIS code|
|MPA||48 months||Oct 2020||L430||View KIS data set|
|MPA||60 months||Oct 2020||L431||View KIS data set|
Professional Training placements
A Professional Training placement provides you with the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and many of our students are offered employment on graduation by their placement provider.
The Professional Training placement year gives our students an insight into their subject and career potential, and early access to professional experience. It can be invaluable in developing work-based skills and helping them secure a graduate career.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
Public Affairs placements
Following your second year of study, you’ll have the option to complete a Professional Training placement. You can either take a work placement related to public affairs, study public affairs 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 to your subject.
Additionally, we also equip you with the skills you need to find a placement. The aim of our Professional Training placement is to provide you with first-hand experience of how politics operates in practice. Our students have completed placements in the voluntary sector, government departments, MPs offices, international organisations and the private sector.
Current placement providers for the Department of Politics include:
- Surrey County Council
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
- House of Commons
- European Chamber of Commerce
- British Embassy
- Metropolitan Police
- British Airways
- The Walt Disney Company
- BMW Group
- Virgin Media
- Eli Lilly UK.
Applying for placements
Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via our online placement opportunities platform called Surrey Pathfinder, within which students can select and apply for placement vacancies. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to the vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
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, Houses of Commons
- Funding Manager, Latsis Organisation
- Researcher, Department for exiting the European Union
- Press Officer, Peoples Vote UK
- Graduate Intern, Deutche 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.
Study and work abroad
We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.
Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
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.
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 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 and our generic registration terms and conditions as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will 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.
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. Read more.
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.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows 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.
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.
Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course, you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.
Optional modules for Year 1 - FHEQ Level 4
Optional modules for Year 2 - FHEQ Level 5
Choose 2 modules from the 6 listed optional modules.
Optional modules for Year 3 - FHEQ Level 6
Students must choose six options of the eight optional modules available.
Optional modules for Year 4 - FHEQ Level 7
Students must choose four options out of the seven available.
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. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Our commitment to research-led teaching encourages 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.
Our research-led teaching is 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 CII critically analyses and scrutinises the interventions used in international relations today, while CRonEM researches how governance, institutions and processes shape the European politics scape.
You’ll have ample opportunity to engage in the research process, completing your own assignments and getting involved in the Department of Politics’ research. This will not only ignite your passion for research, but also enhance your understanding of issues surrounding validity, rigour and systematic analysis.
Research students will sometimes help to deliver your modules. These students will be researching in a similar subject to the module, and will have undertaken training prior to being invited to teach. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
This course is taught by academic staff from the Department of Politics.
THOMPSON L Dr (Politics)
All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:
- Academic progress
- Pastoral/welfare issues
- Personal/professional development and employability.
Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.
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.
Learning and disability support
We have two services, the Academic Skills and Development and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.
Academic Skills and Development
Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.
Find out more about the study support available.
Additional Learning Support
Additional Learning Support (ALS) is the University of Surrey’s disability and neurodiversity service. The ALS team supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.
We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.
See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.
English language support
Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.
What qualifications do you need?
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. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.
We normally make offers in terms of grades.
If you are a suitable candidate you will be invited to an Applicant Day. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.
If you can demonstrate exceptional academic performance in your schooling to date, you could be awarded an unconditional offer as part of the University’s Unconditional Offer Scheme.
Recognition of prior learning
The University of Surrey recognises 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, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL 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 email Admissions with any queries.
|Qualification||Start date||Course length||Professional Training||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees||Professional Training fees|
|MPA||Oct 2020||48 months||To be confirmed||To be confirmed||Not applicable|
|MPA||Oct 2020||60 months||To be confirmed||To be confirmed||To be confirmed|
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.
There are no associated costs with with course.
Occasional optional trips to London or within Surrey will be organised by the School which may incur travel costs - £60 approximately.
These additional costs are accurate as of September 2018 and apply to the 2019 year of entry. Costs for 2020 entry will be published in September 2019.
How to apply
Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.
Our undergraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.
Join a webinar and speak to our current students
"Surrey can open doors for you because it is a great course at a fantastic university."
"I relished the challenges and adventures my placement brought. This job and time in Cape Town taught me so much about the practical realities of politics and how the international theory we learn about in lectures plays out in reality."