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European Politics and Policy MSc

Course Description

This programme gives you the ability to understand and evaluate key conceptual debates in European politics and the role of cross-national and comparative perspectives.


You will engage with key contemporary debates in European politics and political science, concerning the relationship between the European and national levels, institutional studies, politics and policies, and the ongoing search for a stable equilibrium in all these areas.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/european-politics-and-policy


The programme is composed of two pathways. The European Politics and Policy pathway provides you with a deep understanding of the EU’s main policy areas. The second pathway, European External Relations, offers the opportunity to focus on the EU’s role in the international system.

Students across the two pathways take a common set of compulsory modules (including modules on research methods and Politics of the European Union). Two further compulsory modules are taken for each pathway, allowing you to select three optional modules from a range of European and/or international politics topics.

Whichever pathway you choose, this master's degree will help you develop the skills necessary to design and complete a dissertation or placement project on a specialist topic, including formulating research questions, conducting a literature review, selecting appropriate methods of data collection, engaging with data analysis to provide answers to the research questions, and presenting research according to scholarly conventions.

Module overview

Compulsory modules

- Introduction to Research

This module provides an introduction to the design and conduct of social science research. Throughout, examples are drawn from recent research in the areas of politics and policy. However, emphasis is also placed on the applicability of these methods to other subject areas across the social sciences.

This module develops students’ understanding of the ways in which social research is designed and conducted. It provides a broad overview of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research in the social sciences. In addition, it develops students’ capacities to design research questions and select appropriate methods of data collection and analysis to enable them to answer their research questions.

- Research in Practice

The module has a strong practical focus and students gain experience of using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and apply their knowledge on a research area of their choice. Students also gain experience in using SPSS for statistical analysis. As part of the course, students conduct an individual research project, explore the methodological issues which emerge through their work, and engage in group-work to discuss the similarities and differences in their individual approaches and choices.

- Politics of the European Union

This module considers how the European Union functions and the range of what it does. By looking at the key institutions of the Union and building an understanding of the ways in which citizens, interest groups and states use their voice in the system, students develop an appreciation of the world’s foremost example of regional integration. Coupled to a review of the EU’s policies and policy-making, the module offers an essential introduction to a key site of contemporary political action.

- European External Relations

This module examines the political dynamics of the European Union as an actor in global politics from the perspective of the member states, the EU itself as a unique political entity and the rest of the world. To that extent, the module explores the nature of the EU’s leverage in world affairs and how it can exercise its pressures, as well as its impact on the foreign policies of the member states.

By using theories of European integration, as well as more traditional foreign policy analysis and theories, the module examines the development of a common foreign, security and defence policy framework for the EU and its wider external relations, such as the relations with NATO and other global powers, and issues of the immediate neighbourhood (ENP), trade and development, security and terrorism, as well as specific regional contexts.

Our School

The School of Politics was created in 2004, bringing together and reinforcing the various elements of politics teaching and research which have existed at Surrey since the 1970s. Our academics are all research-active, and the teaching that our MSc students receive reflects those interests.

This makes our students strongly engaged with cutting edge issues and academic debates. The School has a very active student body which organises many academic and social events outside the formal programme. With students coming from all over the world, this is an excellent opportunity to meet and challenge each other’s ideas and perceptions.

Dual Masters with North Carolina State University

This programme offers a unique opportunity for high-achieving students to study for a first year on one of our MSc programmes at Surrey, then for a further year to obtain the Master of International Studies (MIS) at North Carolina State University (NCSU).

This programme allows students to specialise in two distinct subfields of politics and international relations whilst gaining experience of different cultural and educational environments. It provides, therefore, an opportunity for students to maximise their potential and exposure to American academic life and scholarship. It also builds on the extensive expertise in politics available at our institution.

Students are able to apply for the dual Masters programme once they have successfully completed one semester at the University of Surrey. Once the student has been deemed to have satisfied all the requirements, the application is forwarded to NCSU for consideration.

The MSc at Surrey is considered the equivalent of the first year of the two-year MIS graduate program at NCSU. Therefore it is possible to complete the two Masters degrees in two years. In addition to the formal academic programme, NCSU offers acculturation workshops for incoming students from overseas.

Students enrolled in the dual Masters programme are responsible for two-year fees at the set Surrey postgraduate fee rate according to their status (Home/EU or Oversees).

Your Future Career

Our MSc programme in European Politics and Policy is a great stepping stone in your career development, whatever your plans.

Students from the School have gone on to a wide range of employment choices. These include working for international organisations, national and local government, lobby groups and non-governmental organisations, as well as private businesses and media organisations. We also offer doctoral supervision in a wide range of political subjects for talented students who wish to continue their studies.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the European Politics and Policy MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

Student Profiles

Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant social science or humanities discipline (or an equivalent qualification). ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS: IELTS minimum overall: 6.5; IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

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