Department of Government

Research degrees

Male student in library

Learn how to think critically

A PhD at Essex makes you a member of the highest-rated politics department in the UK (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).

Consistently ranked top in the country for the quality of our political science research, we're renowned for our expertise in 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 systematic arguments and evidence. Always seeking out cause and effect, our research casts light on important questions across the political range, including some questions that you might never ordinarily connect to politics or government. For example, did you know that people who are more scared of spiders are more conservative?

We work with you to analyse and explain significant political outcomes such as war and peace, transitions to democracy, the way governments shape economy, and the results of the elections. We'll support you throughout your thesis, helping you answer your research question and achieve your potential.

Explore our research degrees
Why choose us?
  • Be part of an active research team and work with some of the biggest names in the field.
  • Ranked among the top 40 departments in the QS World University Rankings (2018).
  • Top in the UK for research (REF 2014).
Apply for a CHASE studentship

The Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE), is one of 11 Doctoral Training Partnerships funded by the AHRC in the UK and offers a world-leading environment for doctoral research and education.

Find out more
"If you are committed to excellent research and want to open academic doors, Essex is a great place!"
Nils Metternich phd government

The best minds in politics

Our dedicated staff don't just teach you politics, they teach you how to think and write about politics. As one of our PhD students, you're part of an active research team who work with people all over the world.

You'll be taught by some of the best minds in political science with our staff publishing in leading journals and advising global governments and non-governmental organisations.