Research course


University of Essex · Department of Government
PhDMPhilMA by research

Entry requirements

Good first degree or equivalent in relevant subject area.

PhD, MPhil, MA by dissertation.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

We offer supervision for PhD Government in areas including political behaviour, comparative politics, ideology and discourse analysis, and international relations, among others. We offer a stimulating research environment and our supervisors are internationally recognised specialists.

In recent years, many of our students have won Political Association prizes for best PhD thesis in political science in the UK. In 2010-11, our recently finished PhD student, Dr Nils Metternich, was awarded the 2010 Stuart A Bremer Award for the best graduate student paper, while Dr Akin Unver was awarded the prestigious Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 2010 Malcolm H Kerr Dissertation Award in social sciences for his thesis.

Please note, part-time research study is also available.

Our Department of Government is one of the largest and most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are the only political science department to have achieved the highest rating in all five UK Research Assessment Exercises (RAE), with 45 per cent of our research was ranked as 'world-leading' in the most recent RAE (December 2008).

Our staff distinguish themselves in various ways; by acting as media commentators, by writing textbooks used by students across the world and with involvement in practical training. In addition, our students have access to academic staff and a constant flow of distinguished visiting scholars from abroad. Our research interests are wide ranging but we host the British Election Study, a major Economic and Social Research Council-sponsored survey of attitudes and opinions of the British electorate, with other significant research projects studying foreign policy attitudes, corruption, and civil wars and peacekeeping.

Department specialisms

Political behaviour; political theory; ideology and discourse analysis; political economy; feminism and politics; methodology (computing and statistics); international relations and comparative politics.

Information for international students

IELTS 6.5.

Fees and funding

We offer many funding opportunities to support talented postgraduates, ranging from research council studentships and University scholarships to awards funded by charities and other external organisations. For more information, see:

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months


full time
24 months
part time
48 months

MA by research

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Graduate Adminsitrator
+44 (0)1206 872 757