Postgraduate Research Course

PhD Government

PhD Government

Overview

The details
Government
January 2020
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Government

A PhD at Essex makes you a member of the best political science department in the UK. We are renowned especially for our expertise in the areas of political behaviour, comparative politics, ideology and discourse analysis, international relations, and conflict resolution. Whatever the field, politics at Essex is all about moving from opinions to evidence. Always seeking out cause and effect, in our research we cast light on important questions across the political range, and also some that you might never ordinarily connect to politics or government.

Our PhD programme provides you with advanced research training and supervision by globally leading scholars. We work with you to analyse and explain significant political outcomes such as war and peace, transitions to democracy, the way governments shape the economy, and the results of the elections.

Our dedicated staff don’t just teach you politics; they teach you how to think and write about politics, and our PhD students are successful as a result. They present findings at international conferences, they have published in acclaimed political journals such as the Journal of Politics, International Organization, Electoral Studies, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Peace Research, and the Journal of Education. They’ve also won a number of prestigious prizes for their work, including the Peace Science Society’s Stuart Bremer Award and the Cedric Smith Prize for Conflict Research).

Why we're great.
  • Our department at Essex was one of the first of its kind in the UK, and has throughout its fifty years been recognised as setting the highest standard for both the scientific and critical study of politics.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, we were once again ranked highest in the UK for research in Politics & International Relations – indeed, we have been the highest-rated politics department in the country ever since national assessments began.
  • As one of our PhD students, you’re part of an active and prolific research team. Our students attend seminars, present at conferences, question speakers, and debates often continue in the common room, the café, or the bar.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your experience as a research student. Your supervisor – or, in some cases, co-supervisors – guides you through the different stages of your research degree. Initially they help you to develop your research topic and plan, and then you participate in regular one-to-one meetings to comment on drafts, resolve problems and to maintain progress on your research.

Twice a year you have a supervisory board meeting which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.

Specialist facilities

We have desk space available for all our PhD students through shared offices and hot desks, with additional office space provided for all those involved in teaching undergraduate classes.

You also get exclusive use of a shared computer laboratory of fourteen networked computers feature extensive software for political analysis. Our university library provides access to a variety of political journals and multiple copies of textbooks, e-books, and other materials to support your learning.

Your future

Many of our graduates secure post-doctoral research or teaching positions within universities. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at Oxford, University College London, Mannheim, ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Amsterdam, and Duke University in the US.

Other graduates go on to enjoy influential careers in British, European and international politics. This includes working as political lobbyists or researchers for MPs and MEPs. Our graduates also work in the Civil Service and in local government, for the World Bank, the United Nations, NATO, YouGov, or work in the armed forces, finance, or business.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

You will need a good honours degree and a Masters degree in a relevant social science. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.

You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.

International & EU entry requirements

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.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component

Structure

Example structure

A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.

Assessment

Our department maintains a lively, friendly, and supportive atmosphere for research. We also provide a number of training opportunities and support services to aid your studies and to help prepare you for employment:

  • Professional Development Seminars: First-year PhD students are invited to a seminar focusing on writing and presenting a research proposal for your 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: The Essex ESRC Doctoral Training Centre offers training courses for doctoral students, including both advanced subject-specific training and a transferable skills programme.
  • Teaching Opportunities: Our department offers paid opportunities for both Graduate Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants.

Dissertation

In your completion year you should be revising and rewriting chapters. You submit your approved thesis to an internal reader for comments, and then submit your final thesis before the end of the academic year.

We expect our PhD students to complete their PhD within four years of entering, so you are monitored regularly to ensure you are progressing.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£4,630

International fee

£14,720

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

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:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, graduate employability, student support and more
  • talk to our Fees and Funding team about scholarship opportunities
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2020 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline and we aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 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.

 

Virtual tours

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.

Exhibitions

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.


Find out more

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