Eszter Varsa studied English and American Studies at ELTE University and Gender Studies at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary. Following a research scholarship in spring 2007 at the History Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA, she completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Gender Studies at the CEU in 2011. Her dissertation, "Gender, 'Race'/Ethnicity, Class and the Institution of Child Protection in Hungary, 1949-1956," examines national policy-making and institutional practice on child protection and the lived experience of children, with specific focus on Romani children, in state care.

Her main areas of research are state socialism and welfare history, in particular child welfare history and the history of Roma in Cold War Central Eastern Europe. Between 2011 and 2013 she taught MA courses at the Gender Studies and History Departments at the CEU and was instructor at the Roma Access Program of the Open Society Institute and the Special Extension Program of CEU.