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Politics & Government×

Full Time Masters Degrees in Politics & Government, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

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If you are interested in contemporary European affairs such as nationalism, security, governance and policymaking, democratisation in Eastern Europe and the external relations of the EU, you will enjoy this course's attention to themes such as nationalism and citizenship, integration, transition and security. Read more

Why take this course?

If you are interested in contemporary European affairs such as nationalism, security, governance and policymaking, democratisation in Eastern Europe and the external relations of the EU, you will enjoy this course's attention to themes such as nationalism and citizenship, integration, transition and security. The course is very much informed by research undertaken in the highly regarded Centre for European and International Studies Research, which was rated in the top 4 universities in the UK for research power in Area Studies in REF2014.

We are the only university in the UK that offers an internship with the BBC Afrique World Service in Senegal. This opportunity is available to students with French language skills on MA International Relations or MA European Politics.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Enhance your employability by extending your area of expertise beyond that of your first degree
Deepen your existing knowledge of European Studies and specialise in particular areas such as security or policymaking
Make yourself stand out in an increasingly competitive job market by acquiring skills which show an ability to research independently and study a contemporary topic at an advanced level
Go on to more advanced research and doctoral study

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course provides an excellent basis for careers where a knowledge of European affairs is required, and provides advanced training in a range of transferable skills.

Former students have gone on to work in various areas including:

Local government
The UK civil service
Foreign government and European institutions
Teaching and further research

Module Details

The units on the course are designed to provide a wide range of approaches to the study of Europe. The interdisciplinary nature of the degree means that students can combine political and contemporary history perspectives with those from international relations and area studies. While students can choose to specialise in the study of the EU the course also encourages the study of Europe in its wider sense including the former Soviet Union and Europe’s relations with the wider world.


The structure of core units and options on the degree is designed to maximise the ability of students to fashion a course which best suits their needs and interests. For example, if you wish you can choose to specialise in the area of European politics and governance or you can concentrate on Europe’s external relations and foreign and security perspectives. However, you can also design a more mixed selection.

All students take the following core units:-

Challenges to EU Politics and Governance
Dissertation/Major Project

You will also choose 3 out of the following:-

Europe: Integration and Democratisation
Global Governance
Nation and Identity in Europe
Europe and the World
Negotiation and Lobbying in the EU: A simulation game
Contemporary Security in International Relations: Providers and Challenges
Independent Project
Work-based Learning

Programme Assessment

Teaching is conducted through a combination of lectures and seminars. In addition, you will have access to staff on an individual tutorial basis. You will also be assigned a dissertation supervisor to support you in the research and writing of your dissertation.

Classes are timetabled in the afternoons and evenings. Depending on their option choices part-time students are usually able to structure their course so as to concentrate their studies on one and no more than two afternoons/evenings.

Assessment is normally in the form of an extended essay on a specific topic within a unit, allowing you to specialise on a subject that particularly interests you within the broad topic area of the unit.

Student Destinations

The current processes of enlargement of the EU to the East and the further integration of the EU have meant that more than ever there is a demand for people with an advanced knowledge of European affairs and the workings of the EU. This applies to a whole range of areas such as business, local and central government and international institutions.

This course therefore provides an excellent basis for those seeking careers in such areas where a knowledge of European affairs is required. It can be used by students coming from a different background to gain the necessary expertise in European Studies or it can be used by those with an existing background to deepen their area of expertise with a particular career focus on European affairs in mind.

In addition the course provides advanced training in a range of transferable skills which can be applied in different areas of employment.

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We live in an increasingly turbulent world, wracked by conflict, instability and insecurity. The roots of these problems are highly complex; the challenges involved in delivering greater peace and prosperity cannot be under-estimated. Read more

Why take this course?

We live in an increasingly turbulent world, wracked by conflict, instability and insecurity. The roots of these problems are highly complex; the challenges involved in delivering greater peace and prosperity cannot be under-estimated. This course is designed for those who recognise the importance of acquiring advanced intellectual skills to be able to understand and analyse current trends in global politics. It studies a broad sweep of issues in international relations, including the rise of fundamentalist terrorism, the resurgence of Russia, the spread of globalisation and the emergence of new regional powers on the world stage.

We are the only university in the UK that offers an internship with the BBC Afrique World Service in Senegal. This opportunity is available to students with French language skills on MA International Relations or MA European Politics.

What will I experience?

On this course, you will:

Deepen your knowledge of some of the most urgent political and security issues facing the world today, informed by cutting-edge research.
Make yourself stand out in an increasingly competitive job market by acquiring subject expertise and advanced research skills.
Have the opportunity to develop expertise in issues relating to Europe, ideal for students who intend to pursue careers in European institutions or with political lobbyists and thinktanks.
Benefit from expert advice from our Employability team on placements, internships, and careers. You can also choose to gain academic credit for experience in the workplace with the Work-Based Learning unit, which can be a useful way to combine postgraduate study with practical experience to create an impressive CV.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is particularly suited for students who intend to work for:

National, European or international governance institutions
Civil service
Political parties
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
Security and risk analyst
Foreign affairs analyst
Political lobbyists
Thinktanks and research bodies

It also provides excellent preparation for PhD study.

Module Details

All students take the following core units:

Contemporary Security in International Relations: Providers and Challenges: The analysis of security is a fascinating field of study that tackles issues of enormous significance. This unit evaluates a number of the most pressing security issues in International Relations, focusing on challenges such as cyber war, the security implications of the ‘Arab Spring’, jihadism, insurgency, information war, humanitarian intervention, piracy and the Ukraine Crisis.

Global Governance: Today’s policy-makers struggle to grapple with challenges of unprecedented scale and complexity. The ramifications of such issues as climate change and the global financial crisis underline the need for collective action across state borders. However, policy responses at the international level are often criticised for being ineffectual and undemocratic.

Research Management: A postgraduate degree signals to an employer that you are equipped with superior analytical and communication skills and are trained in a variety of research methods.

Dissertation in International Relations: This is an extended research project on a topic of your own choice, which you produce under the guidance of a specialist supervisor.

Students also take TWO of the following options:

Protest, Dissent and Solidarity across State Borders

Nation and Identity

Europe and the World

Challenges to EU Politics and Governance

Negotiation and Lobbying in the EU

Europe: Integration and Democratisation

Independent Project

Work-Based Learning

Units (30 credits per unit, 60 credits for the dissertation) are offered individually as credit-bearing short courses, or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or MSc International Development Studies (180 credits).

Programme Assessment

The course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the afternoons and evenings. Part-time students who may be in employment are usually able to structure their course over two years such that tuition is concentrated on no more than two afternoons and evenings per week.

Assessment for most units on the course is in the form of an extended essay or project plus a 15,000-word dissertation at the end.

Student Destinations

Changes such as the enlargement of the EU to the East, the further integration of the EU and the emergence of the EU as an international actor have meant that more than ever there is a demand for people with an advanced knowledge of European affairs and the workings of the EU. This course therefore provides an excellent basis for those seeking careers in such areas where interdisciplinary knowledge is required.

In addition, the course provides advanced training in a range of transferable skills which can be applied in different areas of employment. Students could go on to work in various areas including local government, the UK civil service, foreign government and European and international institutions, NGOs, teaching and further research as well as applying their expertise in the commercial sector.

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If you want to enter or enhance a career in central, regional or local government, or in organisations in partnerships with governments, this course has been designed to meet your needs. Read more

Why take this course?

If you want to enter or enhance a career in central, regional or local government, or in organisations in partnerships with governments, this course has been designed to meet your needs. It brings together people from a wide range of organisations to create an inter-cultural, inter-professional and inter-organisational educational environment.

While we prefer applicants to have experience of a public sector managerial role, exceptions may be made for a good relevant degree.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Examine the ways in which public policies are made and implemented and acquire specialist subject knowledge in fields relevant to your career choices
Compare policy processes and outputs within specific policy fields including health, education, welfare, economic development, defence, policing and European integration
Obtain a wider international perspective of public policies, management systems and administrative systems

What opportunities might ti lead to?

The course delivers transferable lifelong skills that you will be able to apply to complex issues, both systematically and creatively. This will improve your capabilities and enable you to work with self-direction and originality, as well as help you contribute to public administration and society at large.

Module Details

We will introduce you to different ways of delivering public services and how to access their efficiency and effectiveness. As a result, you will gain knowledge and develop an understanding of the following areas:

The impact of contextual forces on public organisations including:

The legal system
Ethical, economic, environmental, social and technological change issues
International developments
Corporate governance
The role of public sector organisations in economic development and regeneration
The marketisation of service delivery
Citizenship issues in public organisations
The concepts, processes and institutions in the management of resources and operations
Financing the public sector (sources, financial management, accountability and financial reporting)
Management and development of people within organisations, human resource management, human resource development and change management
The uses and limitations of quantitative and qualitative research methods for providing information and evaluating options in an uncertain organisational environment
The development, management and exploitation of information systems and their impact on organisations
The use of relevant communication and information technologies and applications in public sector management within a global knowledge-based economy

You will study:

Dissertation/Major Project
Comparative Public Policy and Administration
Public Management
Public Sector Strategic Management and Leading Effective Change

One option from:

Practice Based Knowledge in British Public Administration
Work Related Learning/Independent Learning
Europe and the World
Contemporary Security In International Relations: Providers and Challenges
Policies and Networks; the Governance Of The EU
Nation and Identity in Europe
Management of Resources, Finance And Information Systems

Please note that units may be subject to change.

For part-time students a number of distance learning management units are available in addition to a work-based learning unit, which allows you to achieve credit for study or a project undertaken in the workplace.

Credit for prior learning may be awarded, provided that the course studied relates to the Portsmouth MPA curriculum.

Programme Assessment

You will be taught using a variety of lectures, seminars, tutorials, student presentations, visiting speakers and structured visits to public sector organisations. International students will have a full portfolio of activities that will include English language classes, visits to public organisations and structured advice on how to develop their academic performance.

All students receive an induction to our library and how to use our electronic sources of information. Each student will have a personal tutor, as well as the support of an extensive system of student services.

These include work-related assignments, extended essays, examinations, assessed presentations, reports, completion of logs and a dissertation or extended piece of work-related research culminating in a management report.

Student Destinations

The course delivers transferable lifelong skills that you will be able to apply to complex issues, both systematically and creatively. This will improve your capabilities and enable you to work with self-direction and originality, as well as help you contribute to public administration and society at large.

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