Research in our School of Life Sciences covers a wide spectrum of biology from genes to ecosystems, and this broad-based structure provides opportunities for developing novel ideas and inter-disciplinary projects. We offer supervision in all areas of staff expertise in marine biology including community ecology of coral reef systems, tropical seagrass beds, mangroves and fisheries, deep sea/marine connectivity, ocean acidification and macronutrient cycling.
As a research student at Essex, you’ll work at the heart of our internationally acknowledged and well-connected research community. We offer world-class supervision and training opportunities, and encourage you to engage with other researchers, professionals, practitioners and research users, where possible for example using the generous funding from Proficio to attend conferences and training courses.
Part-time research study is also available. You can start this degree in October, January or April. An MPhil and MSD are also available.
Our expert staff
Within our School of Life 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 be jointly supervised.
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.
Your technical and intellectual development will be enhanced by becoming part of a Research Group, and participating in School Seminars.
We have excellent facilities for marine and freshwater studies both in the laboratory and in the field. In house facilities include:
- a range of aquatic and terrestrial mesocosms, including large temperature-controlled aquaria for simulating tropical or temperate and fresh or marine systems
- replicated environmental outdoor mesocosms simulating tidal and terrestrial systems
- a state-of-the-art tropical coral-reef research facility devoted to fully climate-controllable experiments
- multiple pH-stating systems to control CO2 concentration for ocean acidification experiments
- a suite of field equipment and boats
- microbial culturing facilities
- advanced bioimaging suite to visualise and analyse images of biological processes in real time
You have access to a wealth of local and overseas field sites through ongoing funded projects and collaborations. Extensive marine and estuarine habitats of national and international ecological importance are located within a short distance of our Colchester Campus.
A dedicated study room allows all our postgraduate research students to have access to a desk and a computer outside of the research laboratories. This provides a focal point for our postgraduates, facilitating reading and writing as well as good communication and a sense of community.
Our graduates go on to a range of careers. Some choose to continue into a research career by taking up doctoral positions in the UK or overseas. Others work with governmental and non-governmental organisations and environmental agencies, consultancies and voluntary organisations. We support your career development by a mentoring scheme and employability events.
UK entry requirements
You will need a good honours degree or a Masters degree, or equivalent, in a related subject. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
International & EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.