Student profiles

Some of our current and past students tell you about their experiences of postgraduate study in history at Essex.

Case study - Louise Rodwell, MA History

Louise undertook a Postgraduate Placement at Essex Record Office from May to August 2016. Here she talks about how the placement helped with her studies and her personal development.

  • Read the interview with Louise

    What kind of work did you undertake during your placement with Essex Record Office, and what did you enjoy the most?

    "During my time at the Essex Record Office, I was mainly focusing on researching the history of Colchester High Street for a project the ERO will be calling 'Colchester then and now', which will be a series of blog posts published on the ERO website. The research will also be included in an event called 'Colchester on the Map' which will be held in Colchester Town Hall on 15 November 2016, where the Record Office will be taking original maps and sources along to display them to the public. Although I really enjoyed getting stuck in to the research, I particularly enjoyed working with the public in the search room, as it allowed me to work in a more practical environment whilst still being relevant to my work. I worked with a variety of sources including original maps, wills, property leases and birth marriage and death certificates, some of which were digitised. My favourite sources to work with were the old photographs of the high street which I then merged with present day photos on Photoshop. These will also be presented at the event in November."

    How did that tie in with you research project/dissertation?

    "The work tied in very well with my dissertation, as I will be focusing on post war town planning and the access to heritage in Colchester town centre. As the placement allowed me to work directly with sources relating to the High Street, it gave me a broad range of material to include in my dissertation."

    What skills have you developed during the placement?

    "In regard to skills developed, the most important learning curve for me was helping people who did not have research skills with their own research in the search room. This gave me a chance to approach different ways to research things based on other people's needs."

    How would you describe the placement to your friends?

    "I would describe the as 100% worth it- it was great to get hands-on experience in a job related to my field, especially as in history that's pretty hard to come by!"

    How do you feel the placement has helped you enhance your future career?

    "I feel that it has helped my career very much – I now have experience in a related field and I realise that I want to work with history in my career rather than just using the skills I gained from studying history."

Why Essex? Elijah, MA History

Student Insight - Andrew McIntosh, PhD History

Student stories

  • Laura Wesley, MA History

    “I was very keen to continue studying history at Essex; I previously studied sociology and history here during my undergraduate degree. I knew the Department offered a range of interesting postgraduate courses and the staff were very knowledgeable and supportive throughout the application process, which gave me confidence in my decision.

    “I have really liked the small class sizes which allow you to get to know your peers easily; this has enabled some excellent discussion to take place. I chose to focus on British history and I enjoy studying the modules Decency and Disorder: Institutions in Essex and Consumer Culture in Britain. It has been particularly interesting to study some local history. I really love my Department; everyone is so friendly and approachable.

    “Studying at Essex has definitely made me more confident and has helped refine some of the skills that I learnt at undergraduate level, such as essay writing, presenting and analysis. The atmosphere at our Colchester Campus is fantastic and I've met so many wonderful people; I have lots of fond memories of studying here.”

  • Amanda Wilkinson, PhD History

    “Staying at Essex to undertake my PhD was an easy decision, as I had completed my BA and MA within the University's Department of History, so knew the staff in my Department, and my potential supervisor, really well. Indeed, the Department of History at Essex was simply the perfect place for me to continue my studies.

    “My PhD examines the cultural and social implications of women working away from the home, in order to further understand the nature of under-enumeration in the census data between the years 1840 and 1944. This is an aspect of history that I am fascinated with and I really wanted to learn more about it. I love the fact that my PhD gives me this opportunity to immerse myself in my work, and to spend time researching and developing my writing further. Having really enjoyed my undergraduate time and my MA at Essex, I feel very lucky to have been able to stay here and study further.

    “I would love to work in academia in the future, so for me doing a PhD degree is essential. Following completion of my PhD I would like to spend my time lecturing and researching. I will have many fond memories of being at the University of Essex, particularly the close friends that I have made while studying here.”

Our research

History books on a library shelf

Our commitment to groundbreaking historical investigation is reflected in more than two-thirds of our research being rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2014).

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

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.

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.