Postgraduate research courses

Our PhD programme provides you with advanced research training and supervision by leading global scholars. Our students have published in acclaimed political science journals such as Electoral Studies, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Education Policy and Journal of Peace Research. See our research divisions.

Former PhD students are currently working at universities such as Bremen University, Jacobs University, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, University of Amsterdam, University of Glasgow, Oxford University, University of Nottingham, University of Leeds, University of Leicester , University of Thessaloniki and Waseda University.

PhD courses

Our Department offers two routes to a research degree:

Both are three-year programmes. A PhP is normally for students without a prior Masters degree and you normally take a number of taught modules in your first year.

Support for PhD students

There are a number of scholarships, events, training and support opportunities to help you in your studies, gain valuable skills during your research and also to help you prepare for employment.

  • Scholarships

    We have a number of scholarships available to help fund your studies at Essex. You can also search our scholarship finder to see what's available.

  • Events

    Events and seminars run by our Department and by other departments are a great way to meet people and to share your research. We encourage all research students to attend our departmental seminars and to present their research in various contexts.

    PhD development seminar

    The PhD development seminar is specifically for first-year PhD students and provides training and support for your research capacity and professional development. The seminar focuses on writing and presenting a research proposal for the thesis, developing confidence in the presentation of academic papers, learning how to write and submit journal articles, and developing skills in time-management and the use of technology.

  • Skills training

    As part of the Essex ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, we offer all doctoral students a training programme that includes advanced subject-specific training and a transferable skills programme:

    All social science doctoral students will acquire core skills in research design, data collection and management, and statistical analysis.

    Graduate teaching assistants

    Our Department employs Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) to support the delivery of a wide range of undergraduate modules. We also employ GTAs on a part-time basis to teach undergraduate modules. There are also opportunities to work as a research assistant to support an academic's research. These are a great way to build up your skills and also help fund your studies through paid employment.

  • PhD support networks

    Our Department maintains a lively, friendly and informal atmosphere for research, into which you'll be fully integrated. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with members of staff, not just your own supervisor, and of course with other research students.

    We know how important it is for research students to have access to computers and quiet space to work, which is why we developed the PhD Research Centre shared with the Department of Economics. We also provide desk space for all PhD students, either in a shared office or 'hot-desk' spaces. Additional office space is provided if you have a teaching contract.

    HEROES (Helping Each other with Research On Empirical Subjects)

    The HEROES group is run by PhD students who use empirical methods in their research. They meet every week and try to help each other by discussing ideas and getting feedback from their more senior peers, and are always welcoming new students to the group.

    Eco-philosophy reading group

    The reading group meets every Monday for one hour in the common room and is a space for free-thinking and sharing opinions on the topic of eco-philosophy in an informal atmosphere. Discussions are mainly based on Warwick Fox's book Toward a Transpersonal Ecology but the group has also discussed work by other authors with alternative views.

  • Prize for best PhD paper

    In recognition of the hard work and dedication our students put into their studies, each year we offer a prize of £100 (normally book tokens) for the best PhD publication. If you have published a paper during the academic year, no matter what year of study you are in, you may be eligible to win this prize.

    Got a question?

    If you'd like to know more about our postgraduate research courses, contact our Director of Recruitment, Dr Rob Johns at rajohn@essex.ac.uk.

Fees and scholarships

Find out details about our fees and scholarships. If you would like any further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How to apply

How to apply

Find out more about how to apply for a course in our Department of Government. We can provide help and advice, and guide you through the application process.

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.

Read our blog

Two students

Want to find out about student life at Essex and in our Department? Read our blog to hear our students talk about their experiences, tips and views on the political issues of today.