Department of Government

Career prospects

Global Politics has never been a more interesting field to build a career in

With the world’s media focusing in on how each country’s Governments handle the global pandemic we find ourselves in, studying Politics and International Relations will equip you for a career of difficult questions and preparing vitally important answers. At Essex we teach you to be fearless and independent. You’ll question both sides of the argument and address all views to ensure a full debate has been discussed. Studying in the Department of Government at Essex will provide the all important final stepping stone to starting your career in an subject you love.
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Which jobs will suit me?
  • A political assistant, public relations officer, social researcher, humanitarian aid worker, stockbroker, journalist, business development manager or a political risk analyst; these are just a few of the exciting careers a degree from the Department of Government could lead to.
  • You will be able to tailor your study to match your specific interests in readiness for a specific career. Whether you are interested in human rights, economics, public policy or international relations, you determine your own path from a wide range of courses and modules.
  • Past students of the Department have graduated into a range of successful careers in fields such as; government, charity and third sector roles, business and entrepreneurship.

How will a degree from the Department of Government benefit my career?

Which employers will value my degree?

A degree in government or politics is useful for any number of different career paths, some more obvious than others. Virtually every aspect of life is related to how governments behave, so the opportunities a degree in politics offers are practically limitless. 

A degree from the Department of Government will prepare you for careers in fields such as:

  • The Civil Service
  • Policy analysis
  • Campaign management
  • Legislative assistant
  • Market research
  • Political journalism
  • Public affairs consultancy
  • Public relations
  • Law
  • Human rights
  • Data science/analysis

The sectors listed above are just a few examples of the pathways that a degree from the Department can lead to. Employers are often looking for a degree level qualification rather than anything subject-specific, so there is no need to limit yourself to the roles listed above. The skills you will develop during your time at Essex will enable you to pursue a wide range of potential career paths.

Which skills will I develop in readiness for the workplace?

At Essex you will be immersed in a broad programme of study, uniquely designed to equip you with a diverse skill set. Graduates of the Department will find their skill set highly sought after by employers looking to withstand the many political challenges that lie ahead.

A degree from the Department of Government will help you to develop: 

  • Data proficiency; handling complex data and applying statistical analysis methods.
  • Critical thinking skills; analysing and criticising arguments/discussions.
  • Creative problem solving; extracting information, drawing conclusions and making recommendations
  • Communication skills; enabling you to convey complex ideas, theories and models
  • Analytical skills; analysing research methods, data, conclusions and recommendations
  • Computing skills; utilising specialised software
  • Time management; completing specific tasks within designated time frames

How will my degree help me to succeed in a challenging jobs market?

Brexit, Covid-19, the rise of nationalism and populism, growing tensions between US and China; these are just a few of the pressing issues which have necessitated an increased demand for highly skilled political scientists in many employment sectors. From election integrity to trade policy, political representation, conflict resolution and human rights protection, education and industrial policy, today's students of government will play an integral role in overcoming the challenges we will face in all areas of public life.

During your time at Essex, you will be trained in the areas traditionally associated with government and politics, such as elections, conflict, and international trade and development. You will also have the chance to develop a unique strength data analysis and qualitative research methods. This distinctive focus will ensure you stand out from the crowd and will equip you with the necessary skills required to tackle the most difficult political obstacles. 

How will the Department support my career development?

Which career development opportunities are unique to the Department of Government?

An advanced skill set in government and politics is becoming increasingly attractive to employers looking to overcome the challenges we face in a post-pandemic era. Continuing your study with us will ensure you have the opportunity to graduate with finely honed skills, ready to propel you into the job market.

What about opportunities for further study?

Graduates of government are able to choose from a wide range of Masters level courses. Don't have an undergraduate degree in government/politics? Don't worry - students with a degree in unrelated disciplines will also be considered for further study with us, subject to meeting entry requirements. Browse our full list of Masters level courses to find your advanced area of study.

Students of the Department can benefit from a number of scholarships and funding opportunities. To view the very latest opportunities, please visit our scholarships and funding page. If you are a graduate of the University of Essex, studied abroad here or have a spouse or partner studying here as a full-time international student paying overseas fees, we'll give you a loyalty discount of up to 33% on the tuition fee for your first year of postgraduate study at Essex. 

What support can I expect to receive after I graduate?

Once you leave Essex, all graduates are able to access a lifetime of career support. From help with hunting for your perfect job, to support transitioning from one career to another, the Career Services team are always on hand to help you at any point in your life after Essex. Visit the Career Services page to learn more about how we support graduates throughout their lifetime.


The University also hosts an incredibly vibrant alumni network. This community is open to all graduates of Essex and will provide you with exclusive membership for a lifetime, discounts, networking events and much more.

A portrait of Essex alumni Juliana Torres.
"It is not always easy to work for a government, but it is truly important to change the general perception that citizens have of public servants and it is rewarding to be a part of that."
Juliana Torres, Chief of International Affairs, Colombian Government MSc Political Economy

Learn more about Juliana's career as Chief of International Affairs for the Columbian Government 

Juliana Torres, MSc Political Economy, University of Essex

Why did you decide to study your course at Essex?

I was a Chevening Scholar-the CheveningSecretariat recommended me to the University of Essex for its expertise in quantitative methods. So I checked the Essex website and I really likedthe MSc in Political Economy programme.My mind was made up.

What did you enjoy most about your studies? Which modules or areas of research did you particularly enjoy?

The general research approach using mainly quantitative methods was great. In relation to specific modules I think my favourites were macroeconomics and advanced research methods.I also took macroeconomics and development economics and I really liked those two modules. My BA is in Government and International Relations which is also interdisciplinary, so for me it is very important to have that approach.

Can you tell us about your current job, and how you got there?

I have been working for the Colombian government for almost four years. My current job title is Chief of International Affairs and I’m also Adviser of the Director General for Public Innovation. Before obtaining my MSc degree I worked for 5 years in the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so after I got my degree I returned to Colombia and began working in the Administrative Department of the Public Function as Chief of International Affairs. My knowledge of the field, due to my degree and my previous position, got me the job.

Could you describe a typical day?

I arrived at the office at 7 am and review the emails that I did not manage to review the day before. I then have a small meeting with my work team to identify the issues that are pending and make a distribution of tasks and deadlines.A typical day then includes a lot of meetings; both internal and external.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a similar role?

It is not always easy to work for a government, but it is truly important to change the general perception that citizens have of public servants and it is rewarding to be a part of that.

Image of a female student holding a laptop
Gain quantitative skills and enhance your degree with Q-Step

Did you know you could be graduating with enhanced quantitative skills simply by enrolling on specific Q-Step modules? If you follow the Q-Step pathway you will receive a qualifier award at the end of your degree which will signal to employers your capability in quantitative research. Whilst taking part in Q-Step you will also get the chance to undertake paid work placements of up to £300 per week.

Learn how to enhance your degree with Q-Step
Contact us
Director of Employability Dr Ryan Bakker
Department of Government, University of Essex