The Master’s degree in European Public Affairs (MA EPA) established in 1999 is a one-year academic programme that is oriented towards the professional practice of public affairs in the European Union (EU). The MA EPA defines public affairs as the process of developing and influencing public – European Union – policy. Public affairs is a field closely related to public policy and public administration, and the programme aims to prepare students for a career in European or EU-related public affairs and public service.

The advanced level of knowledge and skills that a European public affairs professional requires is highly dependent on a solid level of understanding of the relevant academic concepts, theories and research methods. The public affairs profession requires academics who know how to analyse, critically evaluate and research EU policy problems. The policy context in the European Union is complex, and contemporary policy problems transcend national and disciplinary borders. In the public domain of Europe a great variety of institutions and solutions has been established to address these problems. They often reflect country-specific preferences for particular approaches and legal instruments or differences in political or administrative culture or socio-economic conditions. MA EPA graduates have developed the capacity to apply theoretical ideas and transfer academic evaluation into specific policy solutions. MA EPA graduates can contextualise and analyse problems in their context, as well as design, assess and communicate proposed solutions.

In order to become professionals who can undertake academic research, analyse and critically evaluate policy issues, MA EPA graduates need to be able to understand and use a variety of relevant disciplinary approaches. From the perspectives of political science, law, economics, cultural science and public administration, the programme delves into contemporary policy problems. Students are encouraged to become familiar with national and regional differences within the European territory, and to search out commonalities and paths for integration.

The MA EPA is unique in its practice-oriented approach. Firstly, the MA EPA is offered in cooperation with the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht. EIPA is an organisation that carries out European affairs research and training, mainly for EU Member States, neighbourhood and applicant state civil servants. EIPA staff are directly involved in teaching and programme planning, which ensures that there is a direct link between the ‘classroom’ and the ‘professional world’. Secondly, MA EPA students are exposed to a teaching format using practical assignments derived from the practice of European public affairs, whereby in small international teams, under strict and tight deadlines, students simulate the professional world as much as possible. Such assignments always require students to conduct high-level academic research; MA EPA students require a strong theoretical understanding of the working and functioning of the system of European governance before being able to critically evaluate potential policy solutions. Thirdly, the MA EPA concludes with a 12-week internship, ensuring that all students are provided with the opportunity to gain relevant work experience and the stimulus to critically reflect upon and evaluate their own learning process.

The programme

  • focuses on Europe, taking cross-national diversity into account, as well as the European Union and its institutions,
  • is multi-disciplinary, focusing on contemporary issues in the public domain
  • is research-based and practice-oriented
  • is a one-year Master's Programme, offered in English
  • is selective, with a maximum of 30 students

 MA EPA graduates are academic professionals who:

  • can understand and critically evaluate the complex system of European governance;
  • are capable of understanding and analyzing contemporary EU policy problems;
  • are capable of researching and reporting / communicating solutions for such policy problems, and;
  • have well developed know-how in order that they can strategically influence the EU policy process to address such policy problems.

 EPA graduates may develop their careers in public organizations with European or transnational missions. They may also work as managers and staff analysts in non-profit organisations, in public affairs divisions of private corporations, in private firms or in consulting firms.

Programme Components 

The programme consists of four modules which explore various aspects of European Union politics, economics, governance and policy-making, and an internship:

  1. Perspectives on Europe
  2. Governance in the EU
  3. Lobbying in the EU
  4. Implementation and Evaluation of EU Policy
  5. Internship including thesis (with Internship Report)

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