Our research degrees
PG Research Finder
Use our Research Finder to find the right PhD or supervisor for you. PhD study at Essex lets you investigate
your topic in depth, develop new skills, enhance your professional development and build networks.
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.
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. 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.
Master of Arts (MA) by Dissertation, Master of Science
(MSc) by Dissertation
You present a dissertation at the end of the period of study, which sets out
the results of investigative work carried out during the period.
- Full-time: minimum one year, maximum two years
- Part-time: minimum two years, maximum three years
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
You present a dissertation at the end of the period of study, which sets out
the results of investigative work carried out during the period. An MPhil
programme normally contains a larger research component. MPhil programmes in our
Department of Language and
Linguistics combine two terms of specialist academic training followed by
the submission of a thesis.
- Full-time: minimum two years, maximum three years
- Part-time: minimum four years, maximum five years
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
A significant amount of training in
professional and research skills is available to all our PhD students. You
can start your PhD in October, January or April.
- Full-time: minimum three years, maximum four years
- Part-time: minimum six years, maximum seven years
Integrated PhD (New Route PhD)
In addition to our standard PhD, we offer a four-year, full-time route to PhD
combining an intensive year of taught study with preparation and submission of a
Your first year includes research methods training, taught subject-specific
modules and a dissertation. At the end of the first year you are formally
assessed and an intermediate award, usually a Masters, may be made.
On successful completion of your first year, you follow three years of
supervised research, during which you continue to receive training in
professional and research skills. See our
Postgraduate Research Finder for details of
subjects offering the Integrated PhD.
Integrated PhDs start in October each year.
- Full-time: minimum four years, maximum five years
- Part-time: minimum eight years, maximum nine years
Our three-year, full-time programme combines specialist training with
preparation and submission of a thesis, where your first year requires you to
take a number of taught modules, which may correspond to the taught elements of
After your first year, you continue with supervised research and receive
training in professional and research skills, and attend graduate research
workshops. Our doctoral programmes are available in accounting, economics,
political science, refugee care, sociology and statistics.
The Doctoral Programmes start in October each year.
Our School of Health and Human Sciences
and Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies
offer professional doctorates, combining professional training, teaching and
research in a way that is relevant to current practice. We offer them for
initial training (full-time) or for experienced professionals (part-time).
Louise Watson completed a the DClinPsych doctorate in Clinical Psychology trainee course at Essex. She is now working in a
low-security forensic unit.
Taught Masters courses
Find out more
As a general guide to entry requirements you will need:
- a good first degree, normally at least Upper Second Class Honours or
- a good performance in a Masters
- a well-developed research proposal in an area where we can offer supervision
- evidence of the ability to conduct independent research
Most international applicants must also hold an IELTS qualification of at
least 6.5. Some departments require higher scores. For more information, please
contact the Graduate Admissions Team at
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
Part-time study and distance learning
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. More information is available on our Research Finder.
Our part-time tuition fees are
proportionate to the full-time rate. 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 (three years/six years minimum period,
plus one year for completion). Study and attendance requirements may vary in volume and timing, from year to year and from programme to programme.
If you wish to study part time, you will be asked to select this on your application.
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.
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
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.
Skills training and facilities
Research skills training is provided by your department, school or centre and
developed through one-to-one guidance by your supervisor and more formal
workshops, seminars and specific research methods modules. Most of our
departments, schools and centres have an annual research student conference,
where you can present your work.
Our skills programme for research
students provides you with an opportunity to acquire generic skills to help you
through your PhD, and prepares you for when you graduate.
Our excellent facilities and services support
research excellence in social science, science and health, and the humanities.
Our new Student Centre and library extension on our Colchester
Campus are state-of the-art learning facilities which include nearly 400
additional study spaces and a dedicated 24-hour study area for postgraduate
The Forum at Southend provides
research students with 24-hour study areas and additional resources.
Well-resourced labs with over 650 PCs at our Colchester Campus and 130 at our
Southend Campus, plus access to scanners and printers, are available 24-hours.
Resources and research departments
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.
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.