Public Affairs MPA – 2019 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 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.
|Qualification||Course length||Professional Training||UCAS||KIS code|
|MPA||48 months||L430||View KIS data set|
|MPA||60 months||L431||View KIS data set|
Professional Training placements
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement. These will give you 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 a significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
Public Affairs placements
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)
- 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
Applying for placements
Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via an open and free-to-all process, within which students can select and apply for numerous opportunities. 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 a 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.
Over the last few years, graduates of our existing BSc Politics and BSc International Politics courses have secured roles in:
- The Houses of Parliament
- Snapdragon Consulting
- City Year
- 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.
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. Visit our global exchanges pages to check where you can go.
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. All taught modules are 15 credits. Project modules and dissertation 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 and/or student demand.
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 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.
There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by postgraduate research students. 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 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
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 Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.
Student Personal Learning and Study Hub
SPLASH 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
ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose your condition and register with the service so you can be appropriately supported during your studies.
The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also available.
See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.
What qualifications do you need?
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent).
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.
Offers are normally made in terms of grades. Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day.
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||Course length||Professional Training||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees||Professional Training fees|
|MPA||48 months||To be confirmed||To be confirmed||Not applicable|
|MPA||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.
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.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
"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."