1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

European Governance and Policy

Brexit will transform the UK’s relationship with the European Union. It will also provide a challenge for EU governance and policy-making.

For Britain, Europe and the rest of the world, an understanding of the EU post-Brexit is essential. Our MA gives you an in-depth insight into the ways in which national and EU politics and policy will be affected by the dramatic developments of the last year.

This course is associated with the Sussex European Institute. You’ll gain a solid grounding in policy and academic debates as well as a methodological tool-kit, allowing you to specialise in areas such as:

  • economic and political integration in the EU after Brexit
  • foreign policy
  • political parties.

Key facts

  • We were ranked in the top 5 UK institutions for research output in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • Our research expertise covers the spectrum of UK, European and international issues, encompassing political theory as well as comparative and party politics and corruption.
  • Sussex was rated one of the top UK universities for its political scene (Which? University Student Survey 2016).

How will I study?

You’ll study core modules and options across the spring and autumn terms. In the summer, you work on your dissertation.

Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, term papers and unseen examinations. You also write a 15,000-word dissertation.

Recent Disseration Titles

EU Development Policy and the ACP Partnership

EU Policy towards Russia in the Context of the Ukraine Crisis

Party Based Euroscepticism in the UK France and Germany

Specialist facilities

To complement the international orientation of our degrees, the Sussex Centre for Language Studies provides taught modules and self-study facilities for a wide range of languages including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

The University Library is a European Documentation Centre, and Library holdings in the fields of European institutions, economics and politics are particularly strong.

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. 

For details about the part-time course, contact Francis Mcgowan

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • European Governance

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module you analyse the substance and process of policy-making in the European Union as well as the political context in which it is made.

      The module draws upon a mix of mainstream political science techniques and the more specialised approaches of policy analysis, with particular emphasis on the emerging ‘governance’ literature as it has been applied to the EU.

      An important objective of the module is to use the insights from the academic literature to understand how policy is made in the ‘real world’ of the EU.

      Therefore, in addition to using academic texts and analysis, the module also draws upon a range of primary and other research resources.

      In particular it makes use of documentation produced by the European Institutions, member state authorities and bodies seeking to influence or understand the EU as well as specialised data and media sources. It will also draw upon the expertise and insight of ‘practicioner experts’ with a background in EU policy making.

    • Politics and Public Policy

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This is an introductory module in comparative public policy.

      The focus is on three general tasks:

      • exploring cross-national variation in specific policy choices
      • evaluating analytic models that seek to explain these differences
      • assessing socio-economic outcomes associated with specific policy choices.

      We will therefore address the following general questions:

      • Why do policies on issues such as pensions, family benefits, or education differ from country to country?
      • Are these differences a consequence of different cultures, economic conditions, political institutions or interest group pressures?
      • Why are some countries and governments more successful than others in tackling certain policy problems, such as unemployment, poverty and female labour force participation?

      The focus is on domestic - primarily economic and social policies. While our primary interest is public policies of EU countries, we will frequently draw parallels with other systems of policy making, such as the United States and Japan.

    • Research Methods and Approaches

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will cover the range of qualitative and quantitative methods in social science and will provide the skills to develop a research outline. It will equip you with the ability to come up with an interesting and workable research question and testable empirical hypotheses, an ability to select cases/sample and appropriate methods for analysis, a focus on how to find appropriate data sources and conduct data analysis (either quantitative or qualitative), and how to interpret the results in relation to the available literature.

    • European Governance and Policy Dissertation

      60 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      There is no formal teaching for the dissertation, but a series of workshops is organised to provide you with the necessary skills for researching and writing a long dissertation. Individual sessions with a supervisor are arranged throughout the summer term.


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Migrants, Ethnicity, and Super-diversity

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Ethnicity has been a long-standing concern in the domain of migration. Many scholars of migration study migrants along the lines of ethnic groups and look at their experience through an `ethnic lens' being interested in the emergence and role of ethnic networks, identities, and communities. Yet to what extent does ethnicity matter? Migrants often move to 'super-diverse' global cities and build complex relationships that seem to be insufficiently or inadequately captured by the language of ethnicity. Non-ethnic processes, identities and attachments have gained increasing attention in today's globalised societies. This module will critically examine the close link between migration and ethnicity tosee how ethnicity achieves prominence in key areas of migrants' lives, and to identify alternative approaches to ethnicity and ethnic-group centred perspectives on migration. We will discuss these aspects with specific reference to the European context, which offers a fruitful site for comparing 'new' and old migrants and minorities (from European and non-European countries), and invites reflection on migration theories developed in the American context. 

      The overall aim of the module will be to encourage a nuanced understanding of the variable role of ethnicity in migrants' experience. We will first look at theoretical perspectives on ethnicity and the critique of the 'ethnic bias' in migration research. We will then examine different domains where ethnicity becomes prominent (migrant networks, economies, politics and identities). In the third part, we will evaluate alternative (non-ethnic) approaches to studying migrants, in the context of increasingly 'super-diverse' European cities and societies, to see how they fulfil their promise. We will look at the case of intra-EU migration (from old and new member states) as well as mixed neighbourhoods where old and new migrants and minorities cross paths to assess the extent and limits of 'everyday' forms of cosmopolitanism.

      Our weekly topics are:

      1. Ethnicity: theoretical perspectives
        Ethnicity: culture and boundaries
      2. 'Methodological ethnicity' and migration studies
        Ethnicity in migration studies
      3. The migration process and migrant networks 
      4. Ethnic communities in global cities 
      5. Ethnicity and economic incorporation: migrant economies 
      6. Ethnicity and political incorporation: migrant politics
      7. Ethnic identities
        Beyond ethnicity? Alternative approaches to migration
      8. Diasporas and transnational communities
      9. 'Everyday' cosmopolitanism: Europeanisation and 'Eurostars'
      10. Essay discussion 
      11. 'Everyday' cosmopolitanism: Post-Accession Eastern European migrants 
      12. 'Super-diversity' and mixed neighbourhoods
    • Political Economy of EU Integration

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will examine the process and economic consequences of economic integration in the EU. You use some economic theory to analyse the positive and normative aspects of integration but the module requires an interest in economic issues rather than any formal training. It will place emphasis on the external as well as the internal dimensions of EU integration in order to show both the development of EU relations with trading partners and also the way in which the need for a common response to external challenges has influenced the strategy of EU development. Particular emphasis will be given to the political economy on EU enlargement and deeper integration with the EU's neighbourhood. 

    • The International Politics of Public Policy

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module aims to understand how public policy-making at the national level is influenced by the international context. The relationship between the state, the private sector and civil society is in flux, in both developed and developing countries. At the same time, national policies are increasingly shaped by international norms and actors, whether international organisations, international donors and lenders, transnational NGO networks, or multinational businesses. The module will explore these emerging new horizontal and vertical forms of governance in international politics, focusing on three overall themes:

      • interactions between the domestic and international levels of politics
      • the relationship between politics and business
      • comparisons of governance models among developed and developing countries.

      The module will have three parts:

      1. Theoretical debates – here we will analyse relevant theoretical debates relating to conditionality, norm diffusion, voluntary private regulation and new public management.
      2. Actors – here we will focus on different institutional actors, including international organisations, transnational civil society networks, international donors and lenders, and multinational businesses.
      3. Policy – here we will focus on how these new forms of governance are applied in different areas of public policy, including environmental standards, labour markets, human rights and anti-corruption. Students will be encouraged to evaluate these emerging forms of governance in terms of effectiveness, representation, social impact and accountability.
    • The International Relations of the European Union

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module gives a broad introduction to the ideas and issues related to the EU's role in global affairs. It commences with an analysis of the Union's emergence as an international actor, and a brief survey of the role played by the various EU institutions. You then analyse the political context of five different, but nevertheless inter-related, aspects of the EU's engagement in foreign policy: CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy), ESDP (European Security and Defence Policy), conflict prevention and non-military instruments of foreign policy, the external dimension of the EU's internal security policy and international development. Over three weeks, you then assess the Union's relations with its peripheries to the east and south and to the west.

    • The Politics of Brexit

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • The Politics of Governance in Central and Eastern Europe

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module surveys the politics of Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 to the present by exploring the process of democratic transition and consolidation. It aims to identify the specific characteristics and features of post-communist politics in the newly democratic states of Central and Eastern Europe by studying examples within the analytical frameworks normally employed for the study of more established Western democracies. It also examines the particular challenges posed by the process of integrating post-communist states into Western political, economic and security structures.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in politics or a related discipline such as economics, philosophy, history, European studies or international relations.

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Lady Monica Cockfield Scholarship (2017)

Two full UK/EU fee waivers for students who hold an offer of a place on the MA in European Governance and Policy.

Application deadline:

31 July 2017

Find out more about the Lady Monica Cockfield Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Sabina Avdagic
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: comparative politics, Labour economics, Labour relations, Political economy, public policy, Research design and methodology, social welfare reform

    View profile

    Dr Susan Collard
    Senior Lecturer in French Politics & Contemporary European Studies

    Research interests: History

    View profile

    Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Anti-corruption, Balkans, british politics, Corruption, International aid, International business, International Development, lobbying, Parliament, public policy, Public Procurement

    View profile

    Dr James Hampshire
    Reader in Politics

    Research interests: british politics, citizenship, comparative politics, european union, governance, Immigration, immigration policy, liberalism, Migration, political theory, Politics of asylum and migration, race and racism

    View profile

    Mr Francis Mcgowan
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Energy, EU Policy, Regulatory Politics

    View profile

    Prof Jim Rollo
    Emeritus Professor

    View profile

    Prof Paul Taggart
    Professor of Politics

    Research interests: Domestic Politics of European Integration, Euroscepticism, Political Parties, Populism

    View profile

    Dr Adrian Treacher
    Lecturer in European Studies

    Research interests: International security

    View profile


Our MA is for you if you:

  • plan to go on to do further research
  • seek employment in government
  • wish to start a career in journalism or teaching
  • are employed in the private sector and have to deal with the European context.

Our graduates have gone on to careers in a wide variety of fields, which in recent years have included:

  • think-tanks and foundations government
  • journalism
  • NGOs and voluntary associations
  • international organisations.

Graduate destinations

89% of students from the Department of Politics were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • coordinator, Fundacion Poder Ciudadano, Argentina
  • officer at the Committee of European Affairs, The Office of Government of the Czech Republic
  • research intern, British Beekeepers Association.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Contact us