Your career options
A degree in the area of politics is highly advantageous and relevant to a
wide range of professions.
Employers are looking for knowledgeable and highly-skilled graduates who
can adapt rapidly to the changing environment.
Your course will help you to:
- understand and process new information
- provide solutions to everyday problems
- work effectively both independently and with others
- present yourself to employers in both public and private
We actively assist our students with their professional development and
search for employment or further study. We encourage you to speak to any
member of staff about your plans for the future.
Our graduates' career destinations
Our graduates go on to
have careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Government and civil service
- European Union
- Local government
- Armed forces and police
- Banking and finance
Teaching and education
- Secondary and sixth-form teaching
- University lecturing and researching
- Research and think tanks
- Political parties
- Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
In addition to the various career paths, our graduates also
continue in higher education by undertaking
postgraduate studies, whether here at Essex or other
institutions, to continue to deepen their understanding of their
Stephen Pattison got involved in a staggering range of
activities while studying politics and history at Essex
including Frontrunners and is now working for a major political
party preparing for the next General Election, listen to his
Politics, history and the frontrunners scheme - Stephen Pattison
talks about his experiences by
University of Essex
Skills training and research opportunities
Throughout your course there are many opportunities to
develop your skills, whether this is attending workshops run by
our Department or Careers Centre, taking
up an internship offered through one of the staff members'
contacts or attending the
Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
as a postgraduate student. 63% of politics or international
relations graduates are employed within six months of leaving
university, and a further 21% are in further training or study.
We also offer all doctoral students comprehensive
training and support.
Research-based skills training modules
We have developed a series of modules that provide you with
the skills necessary for professional jobs and research. Our
research-based modules are integrated with our current research
projects, taking you to the cutting edge of political research.
Often you will have the opportunity to work as a research
assistant and get the opportunity to co-author publications with
members of staff. For example,
Kristian Skrede Gleditsch (staff); Julian Wucherpfennig,
Simon Hug, and Karina Garnes Reigstad (former undergraduate
students) Polygyny or Misogyny? Reexamining the 'First Law
of Intergroup Conflict', Journal of Politics 73(1): 1-6,
We also organise postgraduate modules where members of staff help
students develop research projects. In these modules, students turn
their research interests into viable research projects, collect and
analyse information and learn how to write research papers.
Frequently, these modules lead to single authored publications by
students. See for example Johannes Kleibl, Tertiarization,
Industrial Adjustment, and the Domestic Politics of Foreign Aid,
International Studies Quarterly 57: 356-369, 2013.
In 2015, we are launching a new module titled Replication
in which students replicate research recently published by leading
scholars in the field. Students learn how to replicate published
analysis which may provide an easy way to a first publication.
Our research-led modules include:
We also organise an annual student conference. Uniquely it is
the only student political science conference where
undergraduate students are given the chance to present their
original research on various themes and topics including British
and American politics, international security and foreign
policy, economic development, methods and comparative politics.
Students are also encouraged to run workshops (such as Model UN
and Amnesty International) and hold poster sessions.
Work experience opportunities
The frontrunners scheme is a
hugely popular way to get real-life work experience in the
University (either in one of the academic or professional
service departments). There are also lots of opportunities to
volunteer through one of the initiatives set up by the Students'
Union, for example
Honorary Graduate James Murphy at the University of
University of Essex on Vimeo.
Employers today are saying that graduates who have had no previous work
experience at all are 'unlikely to be successful' during the selection process
and have 'little or no chance' of receiving a job offer for their organisations’
graduate programmes. (High
Many of our Departments give you the chance to take up a work placement as
part of your course and there are a number of placement vacancies you can apply
for. This year,
three of our students have seen off fierce competition to secure placements
with organisations YouGov and Fleishman Hillard. Find out more about our
Working in the House of Commons
This year, BSc Politics and International Relations student Lukas Audickas
took up a placement as a Social Statistics Research Assistant in the Department
of Information Services at the House of Commons.
"One main part of my role is to respond to MPs’ enquiries and to
take part in preparing the House of Commons Library
publications. The time I have spent in this role has been a
continuous learning process that has allowed me to develop my
quantitative analysis skills, using a wide range of national and
international data sources. Almost every day I have the chance
to learn or discover something new. I am sure that this
experience will greatly benefit my future career."
In 2016, six top students learned first-hand how local government
works, as part of a new joint module between the University and Essex County
The module is based around a
Challenge Project, called Reinvigorating Essex which tasked our
students with researching questions and producing proposals on how to
unlock economic growth, revitalise civic participation and improve
community resilience across the county.
Hear the students talk about the project
Employability and Careers Centre
Our Employability and Careers
Centre has a wealth of experience and tools to help you prepare
for life after graduation. Throughout your time at Essex, our
advisors will be available to help you formulate your career plan.
We have lots of careers events and workshops running this term, all designed to
help you develop skills, research future career options and meet employers. Some are one-off annual events, so don't miss out.
frontrunners is our original placement scheme that offers students paid work opportunities on campus. You'll get on-placement training and great experience to add to your CV.
Internships are an excellent way to earn money and develop a stand-out CV. Register with us for
information on paid internship opportunities with local, national and even international employers.
Big Essex Award
Join the 2,000+ students who have completed The Big Essex Award so far and get University recognition for all of your extra-curricular
activities. We’ll help you identify your skills and sell your experience to employers.