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The University of Essex
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, the University of Essex opened as a radical new project for higher education, backed by donors such as Sir Winston Churchill, who believed in their vision of a new type of university for a new age. Named ‘University of the Year 2019’ (Times Higher Education Awards), ranked top 30 in the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019, top 15 amongst mainstream English universities satisfaction (NSS 2019), and Gold for teaching excellence (TEF 2017).
The home of the University of Essex is Colchester, England's oldest recorded town. Situated on the River Colne, Colchester is 50 miles (80 km) north-east of London and is a popular town for commuters. It offers everything from arts and culture, the famous Colchester Zoo, shopping centres and high street fashion. There is also a plethora of delis and coffee shops, global food stores and a local produce market on Fridays and Saturdays.
QS World Ranking (2021)
Times Higher Education (2020)
Shanghai Ranking (2020)
Complete University Guide (2021)
Guardian League Table (2021)
Teaching Excellence Framework
Green Credentials (2019)
Young vs Mature
Male vs Female
In 1959 the Essex County Council set up a Promotion Committee to present their case for a new university to the University Grant Committee. Their 1960 Proposal, based upon the shortage of university places for sixth formers and the county’s need for skilled manpower, got the go-ahead in 1961. The first 122 students were admitted to Essex in 1964, with a Royal Charter taking effect in 1965.
The University is constantly expanding with the ‘Social Science Research Centre’ completed in 2007, housing the University’s Institute of Social and Economic Research and the UK Data Archive. A new building for the School of Health and Human Sciences was opened in 2008, as was the ‘Centre for Brain Science’ housing part of the Psychology department. In 2015 three major projects were completed: a new Student Centre and a Library extension, a new Business School building, and The Meadows, a new 540 bedroom student accommodation project.
The University has three campuses:
- is two miles from the town of Colchester, England's oldest recorded town. It’s set in over 200 acres Wivenhoe Park. The park was originally landscaped in the eighteenth century and was painted by celebrated artist John Constable. It’s a home to a range of plants and wildlife, including some extraordinary and historic trees.
The campus was originally designed in the 1960s to be a university town with interlinked squares designed to encourage academics from different departments based around them to work together, nurturing the interdisciplinary nature of teaching and research at Essex. Within easy walking distance are teaching buildings, student accommodation, shops, banks, a gallery and theatre, bars and cafes and sports facilities.
New facilities include the £20 million building to house Essex Business School completed in 2015 and the £26 million library extension and Silberrad Student Centre which also opened in 2015.
- in the heart of Southend-on-Sea, the campus accommodates courses by the Essex Business School, the School of Health & Social Care, East 15 Acting School and the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies. Facilities include, the Gateway Building with state-of-the-art teaching, business and study facilities; Clifftown Theatre and Studios with unique rehearsal and performance space in a converted Gothic style church; the Forum which houses a comprehensive library, teaching spaces and 24 hour learning hub; and University Square, a student accommodation which is also the home to a state-of-the-art gym and fitness studio.
The town of Southend-on-Sea is famous for its beach resort and pier with seven miles of award-winning coastline, providing plenty of opportunities for a wide range of water sports and leisure activities.
- is based around Hatfields, a beautiful Georgian downer house, set in five acres of lawns, with orchards, flower beds and a small lake. It is the home of the East 15 Acting School - one of the largest specialist theatre schools in the UK with a distinguished international teaching staff. It's a compact and friendly campus offering state-of-the-art studios, technical equipment and theatre space. The campus is only five minutes from Debden Underground station with fast links to central London.
Faculties, Departments & Schools
Faculty of Humanities
- Essex Pathways Department
- Department of History
- Department of Literature, Film, & Theatre Studies
- East 15 Acting School
- School of Law
- School of Philosophy & Art History
- Edge Hotel School
Faculty of Science & Health
- School of Life Sciences
- Department of Mathematical Sciences
- Department of Psychology
- School of Computer Science & Electronic Engineering
- School of Health & Social Care
- School of Sports, Rehabilitation & Exercise Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences
- Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies
- Department of Economics
- Essex Business School
- Department of Government
- Department of Language & Linguistics
- Department of Sociology
The University of Essex was ranked top 25 for research quality according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.
For the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), 7 of the 14 subjects Essex entered were ranked in the UK top 20 for research excellence - this is across social science, science and the humanities. Their politics research has been first in the UK since rankings began in 1986.
International & Industrial Opportunities
Essex offers students the opportunity to spend either a semester or a year abroad on most courses. The University has Erasmus+ partnerships with 26 European countries. Further afield, students can choose from 150 partnering institutions overseas, including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea and Israel.
Students can undertake placements that allow them to apply what they have learnt at university practically in the workplace. Undergraduate placements can last from a few weeks to a year (for those students taking four year degrees which include a placement year). Students should check with the department offering the course for full details.
Fees & Finance
UK/EU Students (2020/2021)
Scholarships & Bursaries
If you have an annual household income of up to £25,000 or less you will automatically receive the University of Essex Bursary of £2,500 over three years.
Essex's Sports Scholarship package includes access to over £1,000 worth of services and is open to first teams squads of both men and women in the three focus sports of volleyball, basketball and rugby sevens. The package includes quality coach support, physiotherapist support and allocated lifestyle advisor, and flexible academic provision (for example, extended study and adapted exam times). The University also offers a range of sports bursaries and sports scholarship plus for those taking part in non-focus sports.
There is also a range of bursaries and scholarships available depending on the subject you are studying and your circumstances.
The University’s libraries are spread across three campuses; Colchester, Southend, and Loughton.
The Albert Sloman Library (ASL) at the Colchester campus overlooks the lakes and parkland. ASL holds more than one million books, pamphlets, e-publications and microforms, chosen mainly to support the teaching and research of the University, but also including some of general or leisure interest.
The Forum - a state-of-the-art public and academic library at Southend, has outstanding research and learning facilities. It has over 150,000 public, university and college books, and an entire floor dedicated to Essex students.
Colchester and Southend libraries are split into zones to allow group study and quiet individual study, so there should be a space that suits your needs. Loughton library and IT centre is a study zone and students are asked to keep their voices low.
Students can access most online services and information anytime, anywhere through the student web portal: myEssex. A key area of myEssex is the e-portfolio, myLife, which is your own personal online space. You are encouraged to use this to record and reflect on your many experiences and achievements, not only academic but also those relating to your personal development and career planning during your time at Essex.
The central open access PC laboratories on the Colchester Campus provide more than 500 modern Windows PCs and at the Southend Campus provide more than 100. Assistive technology and specialist support software is available in all open access labs. There is an extensive Wi-Fi service available at both campuses.
Many of Essex's courses include modern language modules as integral components. You will have the opportunity to follow language modules at up to six different proficiency levels, in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese, even when they are not part of your course. You will be taught in small groups which greatly enhances your learning experience. The modern language classes integrate lab work in the Multimedia Centre, where a wide range of state-of-the-art technology is at hand. Some modules focus on such varied skills as film-making, audio visual editing, translating and interpreting.
Around 40 acres of the Colchester Campus are devoted to sport. The area includes an 18-hole disc golf course, two rugby pitches, seven football pitches, two cricket squares and an artificial pitch used for hockey training and three jogging routes ranging from 1.2 miles to 3.2 miles long. They run through the undulating parkland around the Colchester Campus, avoiding roads.
Sports Centre at the Colchester campus is home to the Essex Sport gym, fitness studios, squash courts and large sports hall. The centre is also the headquarters for the Performance Sport Department. At the heart of the Sports Centre is the sport hall, which houses a full size basketball court, badminton, volleyball, netball and other court games; two fitness studios which can be adapted for a range of activities, for example ballet, martial arts and more specialised fitness courses; and 250 metres tall indoor climbing wall.
Seven miles of glorious coastline offer a wealth of water-sports from sailing to kitesurfing, and the Southend Marine Activities Centre allows those on a budget to try their hand at a variety of water sports. Southend caters for an enormous range of sporting activities throughout the Borough and facilities are available for golf, tennis, cricket, fishing, swimming, cycling, football, rugby and many others.
The University runs a sports bursary scheme providing structured support to talented student athletes competing at national and international level.
University of Essex’s Students' Union's (SU) at Colchester has over 165 sports clubs and societies, ranging from the departmentally-focused and culturally-based, to the downright weird and wonderful, for you to join. There are a number of opportunities in student media too.
SU coordinates a full and varied programme of events across several different venues. Sub Zero is the University's £1.2 million entertainment venue and home to all the big nights out on campus with a capacity of 1,200. The newly refurbished SU Bar is the largest bar on campus with comfy sofas, affordable drinks and food, and a lively atmosphere. It’s also the place to go to watch live sport on a big screen. Students also have access to the Base, home to all sorts of unique events from Coko to club nights, open mic nights to small scale live music and much more. During the day, SU Bar is the main place to meet on campus. You can grab a Starbucks, some food or grab a table and work on your essay. Cine10 is your very own on-campus cinema.
On campus, there is also a 24 hour shop selling groceries and a Union Shop sells snack, stationery and University merchandise. The Salon is the on-campus hairdresser and threading salon. They're experts in men's and women's hair, as well as waxing, threading and eyelash extensions. You really don't need to leave campus.
SU Advice can give you free, confidential and impartial advice on a load of issues, covering academic, immigration, money, health & wellbeing, sexual health, harassment, compliant and volunteering.
The Southend campus has its own SU representatives and venues. SU Lounge offers a great selection of light breakfasts, hot food, snacks and drinks all at student-friendly prices. The Mezz is a social space that is open even after the SU Lounge closes. Here you will find sofas, chairs, microwaves and table tennis.
Religion & Spirituality
The Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre, at the Colchester Campus, has worship areas for use by all members of the University. There are recognised chaplains and religious representatives and regular events, services and prayers, both on campus and in the local area.
The Southend Campus has a small worship and contemplation area for use by students and all members of the University.
Health & Wellbeing
There is a health centre on the Colchester Campus which offers National Health Service (NHS) provision, including appointments with doctors, a nurse triage system for emergencies, and specialist nurse clinics including asthma, diabetes, sexual health and contraception.
The Southend Campus has a medical centre on site offering NHS services, including appointments with doctors and nurse clinics. In addition, a state-of-the-art dental education unit offers a free-of-charge service for routine dental care.
If you need practical advice, a confidential conversation or general information, no matter what the issue is, the University Student Services Hub is the place to go. They have professionals who can provide support on issues concerning mental and emotional health, including assessment and referral for counselling or mentoring.
The Student Services Hub also has specialist disability advisers who can provide advice and guidance on a range of disability support services at all three of the campuses. They can assist students in study strategies in tuition and mentoring; learning support (e.g. note-takers); individual exam arrangements; and allocation of adapted accommodation.
The University’s Careers Services are on hand to support you throughout your time at Essex. They offer one-to-one sessions to discuss your future career ambition; workshops to help with everything from CV writing to interview skills; advice on part-time, vacation and graduate job opportunities, both on and off campus; opportunities to meet and receive mentoring from employers; and help to support you in starting your own business with advice, workshops and tips.
The Big Essex Award is the University’s employability and skills award. It aims to help you to identify the skills you’ve developed over your time at Essex so that you can show future employers why they should hire you. The award will recognise the extra-curricular and voluntary activities that you complete during your time at Essex, both on and off campus.
All schools, departments and centres at Essex integrate employability skills development into their courses through case studies, projects and use of external professionals. They work with a dedicated careers advisor to promote employment opportunities in their specific field. Most undergraduate courses provide the chance to study abroad for a year and some have inbuilt industrial placements.
Self-catered (per week) (2020/2021)
Self-catered (per week) (2020/2021)
Essex offers an award-winning range of purpose-built accommodation situated on or close to campus. The accommodation mostly consists of single study-bedrooms groups in self-contained flats of varying sizes, with communal kitchen-dining facilities giving you the perfect opportunity to make new friends. With a range of rooms and flats to suit your needs, preferences and budget, all accommodation are within walking distance of your department and the facilities you'll use.;
Residence Life is an accommodation-based service to help make sure you gain a positive experience of living and learning. There is a Residents’ Assistant (RA) in each area of accommodation whose role is to get to know their residents, encourage communication and organise a range of social activities.
Classroom-based (Band A)
Classroom-based (Band B)
Lab-based (Band C)
Lab-based (Band D)
English Language Requirements
The University asks for IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.
Essex offers a wide range of scholarships and bursaries to support international students. Some scholarships are department or country specific.
The International Baccalaureate Excellence Scholarship is for students who achieve academic excellence in their International Baccalaureate and meet the award criteria. The award is £2,000 for your first year. The Essex Global Partner Scholarship is for international student studying at one of Essex’s global channel partners and are self-funding their undergraduate studies. The scholarship is worth up to £3,000 as a tuition fee discount distributed across your years of study.
Please visit the international scholarships page on the University website for a full range of scholarships..
Essex is a truly international university with a long history of welcoming students from around the world. With a global outlook and reputation for research and teaching, they are one of the UK's most internationally diverse campus universities with students from more than 130 countries.
The Student Support Centre helps international students with issue such as banking, culture, insurance, visiting Europe and working in the UK.
If English is your second language, the University run a programme on in-sessional academic English classes to support you. The programme is free of change and run as non-credit or additional credit modules alongside your studies.
On arrival to the UK, the University runs coach transfer services from Heathrow and Gatwick airports to either their Southend or Colchester campuses.
The Students’ Union runs a huge range of student societies that you can join when you arrive at Essex. These include 27 international societies that celebrate the culture of the University global student community, from Asian and African Caribbean to Cypriot and Vietnamese societies. They’ve won national awards for the quality of their international student representation and make every effort to help you feel at home from the moment you arrive.