Department and centres
The University of Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions and
renowned for it's strength in the social sciences. Our Faculty comprises eight
departments and centres that offer a vibrant and stimulating place to work and
Department of Economics: Deduction with a purpose
Our Department of Economics is
a world leader in developing the interplay between economic theory, data
collection, economic measurement, identification and inference. Grounded in
micro-foundations of human behaviour, the department produces research that has
yielded consistently high performance in past Research Excellence Frameworks,
ranking 5th in the UK for
research excellence in 2014, along with strong international rankings.
Its work is clustered into four broad areas of expertise:
- Equilibrium Search and Macroeconomics
- Decisions, Games and Networks
- Labour, Household Behaviour and Applied Micro Data Analysis
- Development, Migration and Trade
Beyond these specific concentrations of work, the department has additional
strengths in theoretical econometrics and experimental economics. These evolving
clusters involve staff in sharing ideas and strategic approaches; generating
innovative and creative thinking; and facilitating networks and collaboration
with both academics and users, locally, nationally and internationally.
The department’s research centres, the Essex Centre for Financial
Econometrics (with the Business School), the UK Longitudinal Studies Centre
(UKLSC) and the Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC), as well as the
EssexLab experimental facility give Essex Economics a distinctive
multidisciplinary aspect, involving active collaborations in epidemiology,
sociology, demography and political science.
Since the last Research Excellence Framework in 2008, the Department has
published over 180 papers in most of the top journals in economics, raised over
£20 million in research funding, and has had significant influence and impact on
policy debates and practice.
Alongside its excellent reputation in research, the Department provides a
challenging and continuously updated educational offer across all levels of
teaching. In the latest employability figures, 65.9% of UK undergraduates are in
employment or further study. Two-thirds of the department’s PhD graduates since
2008 have obtained academic posts, with the remainder getting jobs in central
banking and the private sector. The Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) at Essex,
which is one of only 12 single institution DTCs and currently with 14
ESRC-funded students in Economics and 65 PhD students in total, indicates the
depth and quality of its research training. At its very best the Department has
provided a healthy scholarly environment that produced Nobel Prize winner Sir
Christopher Pissarides, who received his BA (1970) and MA Degrees (1971) in
Economics from Essex.
Department of Government: Compelling accounts of all things
Our Department of Government
is one of the founding social science departments at Essex and the political
science department in the UK for its research excellence (REF
The Department is home to one of only two Regius Professorships in the
social sciences, home of the British Journal of Political Science and the
internationally renowned Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis.
Rated top for its research in all Research Excellence Frameworks, the
Department engages in cutting-edge approaches to political analysis,
normative and critical political theory, political economy, international
relations, conflict and cooperation, comparative politics, and voting
behaviour and public opinion, as well as experimental and prediction-based
It has been home to the prestigious British Election Study and has a long
tradition in behavioural and quantitative approaches to the study of politics; a
key feature that is fully integrated into the curriculum at all levels of
Like the Department of Economics, it has also provided the kind of
intellectual environment that produced Nobel Peace Prize Winner Oscar Arias from
The Department has long been committed to work that is both theoretically
informed and methodologically rigorous. Known for its work in formal and
quantitative political science, the Department also highly values qualitative
and theoretical work faithful to the canons of logic and argumentation. Its 30
full-time continuing academic staff work across four divisions:
- Political Behaviour
- Comparative Political Economy
- International Relations and Conflict Resolution
- Political Theory
Much of the work straddles those divisions, where there is a high level of
intellectual exchange across the Department, even among members working in
different substantive areas and in different intellectual traditions. There is a
shared belief across the Department that good general theories should explain
outcomes across different sub-fields and benefit from exposure to developments
in and criticism from other traditions.
Its degree programmes across undergraduate, masters and postgraduate research
have an embedded commitment to the importance of research design, the use of
evidence, and the application of appropriate methods and standards of
The Department has been a leader in the UK and Europe for making methods and
quantitative analysis a central pillar to the way in which the field of politics
is taught and studied.
Department of Language and Linguistics: Science and
Our Department of Language and
Linguistics has an international reputation for linguistic research
reflecting both the variety of perspectives it adopts for the study of language
(description of languages; first language acquisition; second language
acquisition; language processing; language use; and language teaching) and the
multiplicity of theoretical positions it takes (minimalist; constraint-based;
cognitive; variationist). In the most recent
Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) the Department was ranked top 10
in the UK for
The Department’s strategy is to foster a multi-faceted approach to linguistic
enquiry by appointing excellent researchers with different theoretical
orientations to work together in three research clusters:
- Applied linguistics (covering second language acquisition/language teaching
- Theoretical and descriptive linguistics
- Psycholinguistics (covering first and second language acquisition and
Each cluster is responsible not only for undertaking innovative research,
but also for training new researchers through its doctoral programmes, with
impressive results: 111 PhD students were supervised to successful
completion during the assessment period.
The Department is committed to exploiting synergies between different
theoretical orientations to gain a better understanding of core linguistic
phenomena; to engage non-academic populations in the development of its research
(parents/carers in the investigation of child language acquisition, language
teachers in the investigation of second language acquisition); and to undertake
cross-institutional, multi-disciplinary projects on language description,
language development, language processing and language variation.
The Department’s strong research tradition is joined by a large and active
Modern Languages section that teaches French, Italian, German, Portuguese and
Spanish, as well as a suite of degrees around English language teaching and a
burgeoning programme in translation, interpreting and subtitling, which is
supported by the construction of a new state of the art training lab. The
Department’s educational philosophy is one which undergraduate courses in modern
languages have a triple focus on developing language proficiency, cultural
awareness and professional skills. Students can study up to four languages and
courses are taught by native or bilingual speakers, where students are immersed
in an authentic language-learning environment from the outset.
The Department recently launched a new interpreting lab, with state-of-the-art equipment
also found in the European Commission, the United Nations and the Houses of Parliament.
Department of Sociology: Studying the contours of justice
From its inception, our
Department of Sociology has enjoyed a strong international and national
reputation, ranking top 10 in the UK for
research quality in the most recent
Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
Its research encompasses many aspects of social life, many different
theoretical and empirical approaches, and many different societies around the
world. The Department has taken the view that Sociology is strengthened by close
relations with cognate disciplines including anthropology, philosophy, social
history, criminology and social psychology, and has welcomed staff with academic
backgrounds in these disciplines. The Department was also a key actor in the
establishment of the interdisciplinary Institute of Social and Economic Research
(ISER), the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies (CPS), and the School of Health
and Human Sciences, which focuses on training health professionals –places where
some of those contributing to the Sociology research assessments are now
Together the department has generated a strong, productive and creative
environment for sociological research that both maintains the core of the
discipline and pushes at its boundaries.
Research in the department and its cognate partners is characterised by
diversity, interdisciplinary and an emphasis on theoretically informed
empirical research all of which provide the foundation for the strength of
Sociology at Essex. Sociology has five broad research clusters:
- Social Divisions and Economic Life (Social Divisions)
- Public Policy, Welfare and Regulation (Public Policy) focusing
particularly on welfare benefits and public policy, health and health
policy, and crime and its regulation.
- Identity, Subjectivity, and Culture (Identity and Culture)
- Transnationalism, Nation and Rights (Transnationalism)
- Sociological Foundations – Theory, Concepts and Methods (Theory and
Beyond these research clusters, the Department is home to a number of
inter-disciplinary research centres:
Drawing on these wide ranging research traditions, the Department offers
educational programmes at all levels that span the traditional core of sociology
teaching as well as specialisms that include social anthropology, criminology,
psycho-social studies, environmental governance, human rights, socio-legal
research, and survey methods. Study in the department features student-led
academic journals and a dedicated resource centre to support and enhance student
Essex Business School: International culture and
Essex Business School(EBS) was formed in
2008 by a merger between the Department of Accounting, Finance and Management in
Colchester and the School of Entrepreneurship and Business in Southend. In the
most recent Research Excellence
Framework (REF 2014) more than two-thirds of the Schools' research was rated
‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. It teaches approximately 20% of
all students at the University and comprises four groups:
- Marketing, Management and Organisation
- Management Sciences
From 2014 the first three groups in EBS will be housed in a new £21 million
state-of-the-art building on the Colchester Campus. This will be the first
carbon neutral building of its kind in Europe, and will provide the necessary
space and facilities for the continued growth of EBS over the course of the next
decade. The Management Sciences group will be moving into newly reconfigured
space in the Gateway Building and will continue to take advantage of the £30
million Forum in Southend.
Since the last Research Excellence Framework in 2008, EBS has published over
350 refereed articles with 160 in journals ranked 3 or 4 in the latest ABS guide
to journal quality. The doctoral programme has grown to 116; with 48 students
funded by academic or industry scholarships and the School has an excellent
track record of co-authoring with, and finding employment for, PhD students. In
late 2013, the school was part a successful bid to the ESRC for a new £6 million
Data Research Centre for Smart Analytics, along with a newly established Essex
Centre for Financial Econometrics (with the Department of Economics) and the
Centre for Enterprise and Growth, which engages with business and is linked to
the University’s Knowledge Gateway research park.
An Advisory Group comprising senior industry figures supports the research,
education and business engagement activities of the School. Research conducted
in EBS embraces a plurality of social scientific approaches ranging from
critical theory to financial econometrics. Its current research is currently
arranged into three clusters.
- The Accounting cluster makes important theoretical contributions in the
subfields of management accounting, economic development and regulation,
particularly within emerging economies. This cluster is also at the
forefront of advancing global critical accounting and governance research
with a particular emphasis on the role of auditors and tax avoidance.
- The Finance cluster acts as a hub for empirical and theoretical research
into behavioural finance, asset pricing, financial modelling and banking.
- The Management cluster specialises in research on organisational
aesthetics, sustainability, new venture creation, social enterprise, and
critical social and feminist inquiry. It also includes research activity
with an explicitly applied focus, generating external income through
The vision for the school over the next three to five years is ambitious:
- A research-led top 25 business school in the UK by 2019
- The business school of choice for excellent students from the UK and around
the world, bringing together aspirational students, inspirational teachers and
researchers and an international culture of intelligent inquiry
- A business school which fully develops academic potential, employability
skills and global and cultural insights for all students, ensuring they are
equipped for successful careers
- A magnet for business, public and third sector organisations, engaging with
and inspiring Directors, Managers and Policy Makers
- An international centre of excellence for SME growth
- A leading partner with six renowned international business schools
Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies: The unconscious mind
Our Centre for
Psychoanalytic Studies is recognised internationally as one of the leading
centres for work that focuses on the role of the unconscious mind in mental
health, as well as in culture and society generally. In the most recent
Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the Centre was ranked top 10 in
the UK for
Students in the Centre come from a wide variety of professional and
educational backgrounds. Many are working professionals who develop their
careers or gain a better understanding of the subject in order to become
better practitioners in areas such as refugee care, organisational dynamics,
community, educational and social care, as well as psychotherapy.
The Centre’s graduates take their expertise into practically every area of
life, not just the psychotherapy professions and continued academic work,
but also the worlds of the arts, business, education, journalism,
philosophy, politics, religion, and social work - wherever there is need for
deeper awareness about the experiencing person and the unconscious mind.
The distinctive courses in the Centre provide a pluralistic and
non-sectarian environment, in which various depth psychological models of
the unconscious are critically examined (especially Freudian, Jungian, and
British Object Relations). The Centre has a thriving international community
of about 80 students researching for a PhD or Professional Doctorate and a
large number of taught postgraduate students. The centre has long offered a
foundational degree (with BA top up) in Therapeutic Care and Therapeutic
Organisations (TCTO) will offer a BA in Therapeutic Care (from 2015) and
will be the first in the world to offer psychoanalytic studies at the
undergraduate level of study (from 2016). In addition the Centre offers
experiential days and residential short courses on working with groups. The
Centre has strong links with the local National Health Service, care
services and professional institutions that allows students to keep up to
date with current trends.
Institute for Social and Economic Research: Survey-driven
knowledge of society
The Institute for Social and Economic
Research's world-class team of survey and research experts specialises in
the production and analysis of longitudinal data – evidence which tracks changes
in the lives of the same people over time.
ISER enjoys an international profile for its cutting-edge socio-economic
research. Its prestigious team of researchers has a wide range of expertise in
social science disciplines, including economics, sociology, demography,
geography and statistics. Using longitudinal studies such as the ISER-led
British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society, our researchers also
produce substantive research as the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-social Change
focussing primarily on the life-course of the individual and the changing nature
ISER is also home to UK Longitudinal Studies Centre established by the
Economic and Social Research Council in 1999 and is the national resource
centre for promoting longitudinal research and for the design, management
and support of longitudinal surveys. Its goal is to ensure the collection of
longitudinal data of the highest quality to meet UK social research needs
and to promote its widest and most effective use. The centre makes a major
contribution to the UK’s unique portfolio of longitudinal studies and to the
advances they help us make in advancing the social sciences and in
ISER also leads the prestigious EUROMOD project, the tax benefit micro
simulation model for the European Union, providing resources for economists
within ISER and across the world to study the impact of tax and benefit
policy changes or proposals on household economic situations within
individual European countries and in comparison with others.
At any one time, the acclaimed international academic team is involved in a
wide range of projects and its research makes a crucial contribution not
just to the academic literature on these subjects, but to the decisions that
are made by practitioners and policy makers around the world. ISER research
really matters. Its work is used by academics and researchers, policy
makers, other influential bodies, charitable organisations and journalists
involved in ongoing debates about society.
UK Data Archive: Setting the global standard for data
The UK Data Archive is an internationally acknowledged centre of expertise in acquiring, curating and providing access to social science and humanities data.
The data in our collections reflect the issues that affect all our lives and experiences, both close to home and internationally, covering every continent, from birth through education,
employment, our social interaction and on to old age. Our data is used by researchers, students and teachers from all sectors, including academia, local and central government, charities,
think tanks, business consultants and the commercial sector.
We were founded in 1967, at the University of Essex, with the support of the then Social Science Research Council with the aim of curating high-quality research data for analysis and re-use.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has continued to provide long-term commitment to the Data Archive and we are now a significant part of their UK data infrastructure.
Since 2005, we have been designated a Place of Deposit by the National Archives, allowing us to curate public records.
The UK Data Archive is the lead organisation of the UK Data Service, which provides unified access to the UK’s largest collection of social, economic and population data. Funded by the ESRC,
the UK Data Service provides access to regional, national and international social and economic data, support for policy-relevant research and guidance and training for the development of skills in data.
The UK Data Service also supports the development of best practice in data preservation and sharing standards and works with international data providers to remove barriers to accessing data.
Here in the UK Data Archive we work with colleagues across the UK to deliver the UK Data Service, including research data experts at Jisc, CMIST, University of Leeds, University of Southampton, University of Edinburgh and at University College London.
At the UK Data Archive, you can explore the data we hold and see how research using data in our collection are being used to improve lives and build a better future.
Further information about other departments and faculties
within our University are also available.