Study with us


Study with us

Our research degrees

PG Research Finder

Students at computers

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.

Our prospectus

Our courses

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.

    Course duration

    • 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.

    Course duration

    • 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.

    Course duration

    • 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 thesis.

    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.

    Course duration

    • Full-time: minimum four years, maximum five years
    • Part-time: minimum eight years, maximum nine years

  • Doctoral Programme

    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 a Masters.

    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.

  • Professional doctorates

    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

    Discover a range of taught Masters courses delivered by top academics.

Find out more

  • Entry requirements

    As a general guide to entry requirements you will need:

    • a good first degree, normally at least Upper Second Class Honours or equivalent
    • 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

  • Supervision

    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 and distance learning

    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. 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.

    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

    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

    Skills training

    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.

    Outstanding facilities

    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 research students.

    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.

Research community

An internationally-recognised and well-connected research community is at the heart of our postgraduate research. You'll investigate your research topic in real depth to reach a profound understanding.

Funding and training


Our Doctoral Training Centres offer PhD funding and skills training in a wide range of subject areas. You'll gain the skills and knowledge to tackle important issues facing the world today.

Research excellence

Research excellence

Essex ranks in the top 20 UK universities for research excellence and the top five for social science research (REF 2014). Our politics research has been first in the UK since rankings began in 1986.

Doctoral training


Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme. Our University gives you funding to spend on a variety of courses, from research skills to personal development and career management.