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Course content

The United States is the most politically and economically influential country in the world and its politics is more important than ever.

This course allows you to study United States politics at an advanced level in a department ranked top in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014) and with an extraordinary number of staff trained in the US. One of the few United States-focused courses in the UK, the course allows you gain in-depth knowledge of the workings of the US political system—what makes it unique, how it has evolved, and how it is changing. You receive a thorough training in the theories and methods needed to conduct your own research into United States politics – culminating in your dissertation on a topic that fascinates you and enhances your career. Your research skills will be in demand by a wide range of employers, including government, international organisations, policy analysis and market research. The course also prepares students for doctoral study.

In this course, you will study a wide range of topics.

The core module covers topics relating to the political institutions and policy-making in the United States including:

·        The US Constitutional Design

·        American Political Parties

·        The American Electorate

·        Congress and the Presidency

·        Economic and Political Inequality

·        Interest Groups

·        Representation, Race and Gender

·        Federalism and the Judiciary

In addition, the course includes modules covering theory and explanation in political science and advanced research methods. Optional modules include such topics as international relations, foreign policy and the politics of Western democracies.

Our expert staff

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious research and graduate training departments in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began. Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics and our academic staff work on topics ranging from political institutions, elections and international conflict and violence, to British and European elections. Our staff routinely advise governments, assist in training politicians and civil servants, and provide commentary on political events in national and international media.

Key academic staff for this course include:

  • Dr Royce Carroll (PhD University of California San Diego), Reader in Comparative Politics and teacher of the core United States Politics module. He has published extensively on topics of democratic institutions, representation and policy-making processes in the US and elsewhere.

  • Professor Jonathan Slapin (PhD University of California Los Angeles), an expert on political institutions and legislative politics
  • Dr Daina Chiba (PhD Rice University), an expert on research methodology and international relations
  • Dr Alex Quiroz Flores (PhD New York University), quantitative methodologist and expert on foreign policy

Over half of our academic staff completed doctoral training in the United States and many of these staff have published, taught and/or provided expert commentary on topics relating to US politics, including Natasha Ezrow (PhD University of California Santa Barbara) and Gina YannitellReinhardt (PhD Washington University in St. Louis).


Visit the MA United States Politics page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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