Join our research community

Be part of leading-edge thinking

Tray of test tubes
Our research students work at the heart of our internationally-recognised and well-connected research community.

Essex is top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, intensity weighted GPA, mainstream universities, THE 2014). This means you learn from academics that are recognised internationally for the quality of their research and our University is at the forefront of researching the important issues facing our world.

Research excellence

Research assessments have consistently shown us to be among the leading universities for research. In 2014 we were ranked 4th in the UK for research excellence in social science (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014)*, but the success doesn't end there. We were also ranked:

  • Top in the UK for research excellence in politics. We have always been the highest-rated politics department in the UK+
  • Top 5 in the UK for research excellence in economics+
  • 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence+
  • Top 20 in the UK for research excellence in philosophy+
  • Top 20 in the UK for research excellence in sociology+
  • Top 20 in the UK for research excellence in law and human rights+
  • Top 20 in the UK for research excellence in sport and exercise science+

* THE Intensity-weighted GPA ranking – based on Politics, Economics and Sociology and/or Social Policy Units of Assessment.
+ REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014.

Skills training and professional development

Research skills training is provided by your department and developed through one-to-one guidance by your supervisor and more formal workshops, seminars and specific research methods modules.

Our students engage with our wider research environment and communicate their work. Many of our departments run their own postgraduate journals and working papers. All offer doctoral research seminars and conferences and encourage you to present at such events, as well as manage, facilitate, promote and chair them. You can apply for University funds to help you present papers at national and international conferences.

Our Institute for Social and Economic Research collects and analyse longitudinal data and are recognised for the supervision of doctoral students by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). We provide excellent opportunities for training in research methods and for substantive research.

Student studying with laptop
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.

Apply now

Outstanding facilities and resources

Our facilities and services support research excellence and our Student Centre and library at our Colchester Campus are state-of the-art learning facilities which include a dedicated 24-hour study area for postgraduate research students. The Forum at Southend provides research students with 24-hour study areas and additional resources. Well-resourced labs with hundreds of PCs, plus access to scanners and printers, are available 24-hours.

UK Data Archive and UK Data Service have been based on our Colchester Campus since 1967. The UK Data Archive is the curator of the nation's largest collection of digital social and economic data. The UK Data Service is an ESRC-funded service that offers access to a vast range of data.

Funding for our research

Our research is supported by a wide spectrum of UK research councils, EU framework programmes, public-sector organisations and departments, charities, and private-sector industry and businesses. Engagement with these external funders and stakeholders enriches the quality and relevance of your experience and training.

Our state-of-the-art facilities enable our students and staff to produce world-class research
Our state-of-the-art facilities enable our students and staff to produce world-class research
Make use of the 24-hour facilities at The Forum, Southend
Make use of the 24-hour facilities at The Forum, Southend