International conflict resolution is an ever evolving field. Explore methods such as mediation, negotiation,
arbitration, collaborative problem solving and peacekeeping operations
in our MA/MSc Conflict Resolution.
Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with
an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in
the UK for research (REF 2014), and are ranked among the top 50 departments
on the planet according to the
QS World University Rankings (2017).
We have consistently been the highest rated politics department in the country
since national assessments began. Some of the biggest names in the field work at
Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics.
Your postgraduate study at Essex gives you an opportunity to develop your own
ideas and interests, and to engage with thinking at the leading edge of your
subject as part of the research community in our Department of Government, and
our wider academic and professional community.
As a student of politics your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and
classes. Some statistical modules will include computer-lab classes. Assessment
for modules taught by the Department of Government includes written coursework,
assignments, end of term tests and an exam at the end of the year. Your grade
for each module is calculated with a 50 per cent weighting for both coursework
and exam. During the summer, you will work on a dissertation that’s included in
your final grade. Our postgraduate teaching is organised into the following
We also offer generalist postgraduate programmes in politics. You are free to
combine all our courses with a specialisation in quantitative research methods.
MA, MSc or MRes course?
Our MSc courses are ideal if you have a solid background in the statistical
methods, whereas MA variants do not assume any prior training in statistics.
Both courses train you to understand current political science reach and to
undertake independent theoretical and empirical research projects.
The MRes is a two-year programme and offers additional training in research
design and methods, with special emphasis on developing theories and conduct
research using appropriate methods. The MRes is recommended if you already know
that you will pursue a PhD.
One Masters not enough for you?
We offer a number of postgraduate taught double degrees with our
international partners. These degrees are 1+1 progression arrangements where you
work for two Master’s degrees, one at Essex and another at a prestigious
university across the globe.
Normally, a single Masters degree in Europe would take you two years to
complete. Our double degrees allow you to gain two Masters in two years, a year
less than studying them separately.
This unique opportunity gives you experience of different cultures, preparing
you for an international career, or for a PhD. You also gain a competitive edge
when applying for jobs once you leave Essex.
Our double degrees in the Department of Government are joint with a number of
universities, including Kobe University in Japan and University of Konstanz in
Germany. To find out more, contact Sally Day at
Graduate Diploma Politics
The Graduate Diploma Politics is a nine-month course primarily designed to
provide a foundation for Masters-level study in politics. It aims to develop
knowledge and understanding of the major conceptual and theoretical foundations
of the discipline of political science.
MA and MSc courses
MA/MSc Political Science
Our MA or MSc Political Science gives a comprehensive overview of how
political scientists explain political outcomes, how normative theory informs
empirical research and how political science can be used to explain the real
world. The MSc is designed for those who already have a solid background in
approaches and methods. ESRC funding is available for these
This course is academically rigorous but uniquely offers a flexible choice of
modules. There are no compulsory modules so you can structure your Masters to
the areas that interest you. For example, you can choose modules that are more
practical, such as data management, conflict resolution or political behaviour,
but you still have the option to take more theoretical modules if you wish.
MA/MSc Conflict Resolution
We’re world leaders in political science, asking difficult questions to find important
answers. How do you put an end to armed conflict? What are the benefits and consequences of
intervention? What role do non-governmental organisations play in the prevention and resolution
of conflict? Is immigration linked to terrorism? Does climate change affect transnational migration
Our course helps you understand the evolving field of conflict resolution, exploring the causes and
effects of destructive conflict across the world, and scrutinising the theory and practice of how it
can be managed peacefully. We encourage you to experience the practical and theoretical application of
these topics, and you’ll be given the opportunity to engage with both real cases
of international conflict, and to make use of web-assisted learning,
simulations, and challenging role-playing exercises.
MA or MSc?
You don’t need a statistical background to study our MA – we’ll introduce you to research methods and teach you
how use them throughout your studies.
Our MSc is ideal if you have a statistical background and want to learn advanced quantitative skills.
MA/MSc Global and Comparative Politics
This course is designed to provide you with a general overview of classic
topics as well as contemporary debates in the field of global and comparative
MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis
How do ideologies form and sustain political identities? What are the main
ideologies and political discourses that frame and organise our lives today?
This course attempts to answer some of these key questions. ESRC
funding is available for these courses.
MA/MSc International Relations
MA/MSc International Relations focuses on general theoretical perspectives of
the disciplines and provides you with the tools to understand historical and
contemporary events by placing these within an analytical framework.
ESRC funding is available for these courses.
MA/MSc Political Economy
The scheme covers all aspects of modern political economy including market
failure, the political logic of policy choices, and the trade-off between
different political goals. ESRC funding is available for
MA Political Theory
How are we to understand political life as the expression of violence,
tradition, domination, the search for freedom, the struggle for equality? How
should we think about democracy as the participation of citizens, the contest of
representatives or the search for a common good through deliberation? What is
justice equality for all human beings, solidarity among some human beings or the
free play of personal choice?
MA/MSc Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
Politicians care about public opinion. Surveys provide political headlines
and are increasingly used in political strategising and campaigning; but how do
they work and what are their limitations? How do citizens acquire information
and convert it into opinions? Can Politicians and the media influence public
opinion and if so, how?
MRes International Relations
This course offers excellent PhD preparation and gives you additional
training in research design and research methods compared to an MSc or MA, and
familiarises you with theories and conceptual tools used to analyse world
politics and explore how different theories and conceptual tools speak to
contemporary debates and events.
MRes Political Economy
If you're interested in how institutions shape the behaviour of political
actors and how political decisions influence markets and vice versa, then you
will profit from our course. Moreover, our MRes Political Economy offers
excellent preparation for PhD study by combining substantive political economy
modules with additional training in research design and research methods.
MRes Political Science
How do political scientists explain political outcomes? How can political
science be used to analyse the real world? Our MRes gives you additional
rigorous training in research design and methods compared to an MSc or MA,
preparing you for PhD research in any sub-field of political science.
Support if English is not your first language
If you don't meet the postgraduate entry requirements to study a Masters with
us, our Essex Pathways Department offers a
pre-Masters course with extra
language and subject support that can assist your entry to a research course.
Prize for Best Postgraduate Student
In recognition of the hard work and dedication our students put into their
studies, we offer a prize (the Eric Tanenbaum Prize) of £100 for the best
postgraduate student. It is awarded for excellent coursework, exam and
Read our blog
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.
Stand out from the crowd in the job market with a Masters. It could be more affordable than you think thanks to our range of
Masters scholarships and funding, including our discount for Essex alumni.
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.
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.