Postgraduate research

Postgraduate research degrees

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World-class support, training and supervision

A research degree at Essex gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth to reach a profound understanding.

In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate new knowledge. Your research degree allows you to develop high-level skills, enhances your professional development and builds new networks. It can open doors to many careers.

Find a PhD

We have an international reputation for the quality of our research, meaning we provide you with an outstanding and supportive environment to undertake research study.

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About our research courses

As well as our Masters by Dissertation and MPhil degrees, we have three different PhD routes. Each route requires you to conduct and present your results of original research. Details of our course types and entry requirements are in our course listings.


You are allocated a supervisor who guides you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff. Receiving support is a key feature of your experience at Essex and you have regular meetings to discuss your progress. 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.

Part-time study

Most of our research degrees are available as part-time study to Home and EU students and those international students with the necessary immigration status to do so. Part-time study is normally undertaken on a half-time basis, with your minimum period completed in twice the duration of the full- time equivalent. Study and attendance requirements may vary in volume and timing, from year to year and from programme to programme.

Distance learning

If you are resident overseas, and hold very high qualifications and/or have considerable relevant expertise, you may register for either a part-time or a full-time research degree without residence at our University.

You must demonstrate that you have the necessary research skills (or that arrangements have been made to acquire such skills) and evidence of a high level of ability in the English language, if your first language is not English. Supervisory arrangements will be specified individually and will include, for example, the frequency and mode of contact with your supervisor and the periods of time to be spent at Essex.

Code of practice

Yes, we have a formal code of practice for our research students, outlining the responsibilities of both you and us. This covers admission and selection procedures, through to supervision and progress monitoring, to final examination.

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Apply online

Applying to Essex is simple and straightforward. We'll give you all the important information you need to make your application. Our online application takes about 20 minutes to complete.

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Research training

Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme that you can use to book courses and to check your funding. You'll have the opportunity to develop skills and articulate them confidently and professionally. Proficio also enables you to network with other postgraduate research students, it's designed to provide you with the resources to maintain the highest levels of research skills.