The United States is the most politically and economically influential country in the world and understanding its politics is more important than ever. This course allows you to study United States politics at an advanced level in a department ranked top in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014) and with an extraordinary number of staff trained in the US. One of the few United States-focused courses in the UK, the course allows you gain in-depth knowledge of the workings of the US political system—what makes it unique, how it has evolved, and how it is changing. You receive a thorough training in the theories and methods needed to conduct your own research into United States politics – culminating in your dissertation on a topic that fascinates you and enhances your career. Your research skills will be in demand by a wide range of employers, including government, international organisations, policy analysis and market research. The course also prepares students for doctoral study.
In this course, you will study a wide range of topics. The core module covers topics relating to the political institutions and policy-making in the United States including:
In addition, the course includes modules covering theory and explanation in political science and advanced research methods. Optional modules include such topics as international relations, foreign policy and the politics of Western democracies.
With this course you also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner institutions and achieve a dual award, which means you’ll receive two Masters degrees in two years. Find out more on our dual award webpage.
Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious research and graduate training departments in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and 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 and our academic staff work on topics ranging from political institutions, elections and international conflict and violence, to British and European elections. Our staff routinely advise governments, assist in training politicians and civil servants, and provide commentary on political events in national and international media.
Key academic staff for this course include:
Over half of our academic staff completed doctoral training in the United States and many of these staff have published, taught and/or provided expert commentary on topics relating to US politics, including Natasha Ezrow (PhD University of California Santa Barbara) and Gina Yannitell Reinhardt (PhD Washington University in St. Louis).
All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.
This course can lead you to a career in a number of areas such as public policy and international affairs -- including government agencies and international NGOs -- journalism and the media, and many private sector areas such as market research, consulting and international business. You’ll develop key employability skills including analytical reasoning, quantitative data analysis methods, research design and professional writing.
Recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:
Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at: Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
You will need a degree with a 2.2 in Political Science, International Relations, American Studies, United States Politics, Business - ( finance related), Economics or Statistics.
Applications from students with a degree below a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.
We will accept applicants with a degree in an unrelated field but you must have studied at least two relevant modules with marks at 2:2 level in the final two years of study. Relevant modules include, but are not limited to:
Comparative Political Systems, Constitutional Democracy, Contemporary World Affairs, Democratic Theory, Econometrics, European Integration, Foreign Policy, Game Theory, Governmental processes, Human Rights, Ideology & Political Analysis, International Economic Law, International Economic Relations, International Trade/Business Law, International Law, International Public Relations, International Security, Law of Armed Conflict, Micro/Macro Economics, Peace Studies, Political Conflict, Political Decision Making, Political Economy, Political Sociology, Public Administration, Public International Law, Public Policy Analysis, Quantitative reasoning, Strategic Studies, Theories of Development, Current Affairs, Political Economy, Terrorism, Security Studies.
We will also consider applicants with a non relevant degree but at least six months relevant work experience such as working with a NGO.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
The example structure below is representative of this course if taken full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the modules will be split across 2 years.
£8,340EU students commencing their course in the 2020-21 academic year will be liable for the Home/UK fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
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