The University of Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions, ranked ninth natinonally for research excellence following the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008).
Supervision is offered to allow you to undertake broad, innovative interdisciplinary research across two or more of our University departments with particular emphasis placed on global challenges such as growing populations, changing consumption patterns, depleted natural resources and climate change.
This is one of the pathways which have ESRC Doctoral Training Centre accreditation.
We also offer an MPhil and a Masters by dissertation in this subject.
Your research degree gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. You develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. A PhD can open doors to many careers. Your supervisor
Within our School of Biological Sciences, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months. How you will study
The aim of undertaking your PhD within our School of Biological Sciences is to train independent researchers who can critically assess other research work, and have a comprehensive knowledge of at least one area of biology.
Our PhD programme is usually three to four years duration and all our students are initially registered as Mphil/PhD students, then transferred to the PhD in the first half of their second year of study if they have made satisfactory progress. In your second and third years, you work towards your PhD. Finalising your PhD
Within our School of Biological Sciences, you must attend two formal supervisory board meetings each year where you submit literature reviews and research reports to the Board members prior to the meeting. At these meetings, such documents are discussed with you and your progress is assessed.
Your PhD thesis is generally completed within three to four years and has a maximum length of 80,000 words. Great importance is given to the completion of PhDs within a four-year period from the time of initial registration. Your Mphil is usually completed in two years, with a maximum thesis length of 50,000 words. Your MSc by Dissertation is usually completed in one year, with a maximum thesis length of 30,000 words. Seminars and conferences
Within our School of Biological Sciences, you are expected to attend departmental and research group seminars, and give research seminars about your studies in research group meetings. A Graduate Forum, organised by our graduate students, is held each September and you present your research, either as a poster or an oral presentation, with prizes awarded for the best.
You are encouraged, and funded, to attend national and international conferences on your research areas and, during the later stages of your PhD, expected to present your work at such conferences.
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
For research study within our School of Biological Sciences, we normally require a good honours or Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline.A well developed research proposal is also essential.
If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.
The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.
For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit: