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ISER is an internationally-renowned multidisciplinary research institute and a full department of the University of Essex and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary

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Postgraduate study

The Institute specialises in the production and analysis of longitudinal data – evidence which tracks changes in the lives of the same individuals over time. There are approximately 45 full-time researchers – including economists, epidemiologists, demographers, social policy analysts, sociologists and survey methodologists – analysing links between individuals’ life events, employment conditions, behaviour and values over the life course and through successive generations.

ISER is home to three major research programmes:

  • MiSoC, the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change
  • Understanding Society, The UK Household Longitudinal Study
  • CeMPA: Centre for Microsimulation and Policy Analysis

We also carry out research for other agencies, including UK and other national government departments, the EU and commercial organisations.

ISER has close links with other departments in the University. We run Master’s degrees jointly with the Departments of Sociology and Economics in the Faculty of Social Sciences, and with the School of Health & Social Care.

Research degrees

PhD in Applied Social and Economic Research

This PhD programme is targeted at students who are interested in quantitative research in sociology and other social sciences. The PhD would involve empirical analysis of data (usually secondary data) to answer socially relevant research questions.

PhD in Health Research

This PhD programme is aimed at students with a strong interest in quantitative health research. We offer supervision in a wide range of topics under the broad umbrella of social epidemiology. We especially welcome students interested in health research using panel or cohort surveys such as the British Household Panel Survey, Understanding Society, and the UK Millennium Cohort Study.

PhD in Survey Methodology

This PhD programme is targeted at students with a strong interest in quantitative survey methodology. We especially welcome students interested in research on sampling and non-sampling issues using cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys such as the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society.

PhD in Economics

This PhD programme is targeted at students who are interested in applied micro-economics and micro-econometrics and plan to use socio-economic survey data for their research. Given our extensive experience in analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys, we also welcome students interested in panel data and survival analysis, missing data, measurement error, endogeneity and other estimation issues.

Taught degrees

MSc Survey Methods for Social Research

This degree provides advanced postgraduate training in survey research methodology. It is aimed at students who would like to develop a career as social or market researchers as well as those who are already working in these fields and wish to undertake further professional development, or as a prelude to a postgraduate research degree.

MSc in Applied Economics and Data Analysis

This course provides advanced training in contemporary theory in current issues in applied economics, and in the techniques of data analysis.

MSc in Health Research

This degree offers an opportunity to study research methods in relation to issues of health in an inter-disciplinary environment.

MA in Sociological Research Methods

This course gives students a strong foundation to conduct empirical research. The course covers both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Other topics offered for further study include research design and specific research techniques and evaluation.


Taught and research degrees


Supervision and teaching from leading academics


Fully-funded studentships through our Doctoral Training Centre

How to apply

A step by step guide