Taught course

Ideology and Discourse Analysis

University of Essex · Department of Government

Entry requirements

A high 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in relevant subject area.

Months of entry


Course content

How do ideologies form and sustain political identities. What are the main ideologies and political discourses that frame and organise social lives today. What are the main theories of ideology and discourse in contemporary political analysis. How can these theories help us to explain and evaluate key political processes.

Here, questions concerning the impact of ideological and symbolic processes on the formation of political discourses, identities and communities are of crucial importance. MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis introduces and evaluates a range of poststructuralist, post-Marxist, and psychoanalytical theories of ideology and discourse. Through a close reading of selected texts and a discussion of concrete political examples, we clarify the key concepts of this approach, and show how they can be used for political analysis.

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.

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, visit our website at: www.essex.ac.uk.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations37
Written coursework / continuous assessment37
Dissertation26 (10000 words)

Course contact details

Graduate Administrator
+44 (0)1206 872719