Warhurst graduated from Saint Ignatius' College, Adelaide in 1965 and studied politics and economics at Flinders University, graduating in 1972. He left South Australia soon after, working in a number of different states, before teaching overseas at the University of London.
He moved back to Australia in 1985 to teach at the University of New England, where he was professor of politics for 8 years. In 1993, Warhurst took up the prestigious post of Professor of Political Science at ANU, a position he held until 2008. He currently teaches there, as Emeritus Professor.
His research interests include Religion and Politics Political, Lobbying and Advocacy, Elections and Political Parties