MA European Politics - University of Portsmouth

European Politics

Part Time2yrs

Full Time 1yr

We are top rated for European Studies research

Course Overview

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


Franzi Feja, MA European Studies student 2016

This course gives fascinating insights into the internal and external dimensions of European politics and their interrelations. Small seminar groups, in particular, give a great opportunity for everyone to take part in thought-provoking discussions.

Franzi Feja, MA European Studies student 2016

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Structure & Teaching

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
  • From Security to Risk: European International Relations in the 21st Century
  • Negotiation and Lobbying in the EU: A simulation game
  • Contemporary Security in International Relations: Providers and Challenges
  • Independent Project
  • Work-based Learning

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Teaching and 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.

How are you assessed?

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.

Tutor's view


Dr Anna Syngellakis
Languages and Area Studies

European Studies - the history, institutions, policy and law of the European Union and key member states - has been important at Portsmouth since the 1990s. Our students come from all over Europe to join a truly European learning environment where languages and cultures interact and inform each other.

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Facilities & Features


On your Master's, you will be studying with members of CEISR, the UK's largest centre for European Studies. Rated top for research in European Studies (Research Power Index), the Centre can offer a varied programme drawing on the wide range of research expertise within the Centre.

Links to Europe

Students benefit from the MA course's links with postgraduate European studies courses in other European universities - Maastricht, Aachen, Krakow, Trondheim and The Hague. This adds to the international atmosphere on the degree.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online e-journals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider

There may be travel costs for placements. These can be in the region of £50 - £1000.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

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.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now or visit us

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Information Days

Visit us on one of our Postgraduate Information Days on Wednesday 14 March or Wednesday 25 April 2018 from 4-7pm to meet subject specialists and admissions teams, who'll provide information and guidance on our taught Master's courses and research degrees.

Book your place

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours.

Can't get to Portsmouth?

If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and see us at one of the events we attend around the UK.

If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email and we will arrange this for you.

Staff from our International Office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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