Facts and figures

Nobel Prize winners, a starring role in one of Constable's paintings, a theatre established in a converted church, celebrity graduates and marzipan figures of political leaders - find out a little bit more about the University. You can also discover how it all adds up by looking at our key statistics.

Top ten facts

Professor Chris Pissarides

Professor Chris Pissarides.

Nobel Prize winning graduates

Two of our graduates have won Nobel Prizes. In 2010 Chris Pissarides won the Nobel Prize for Economics and in 1987 Oscar Arias Sánchez won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end civil wars in Central America. Professor Oliver Hart, who taught in our Department of Economics from 1974-75 won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2016.

World-class research

Our politics research is ranked the best in the UK. We are top 5 in the UK for social science research and top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014).

Our academics are recognised for their outstanding contributions in their subject area. In the past year prestigious awards have included Professor Anthony King receiving the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize from the Political Studies Association for his lifelong contribution to political studies; Professor Renos Papadopoulos receiving an Outstanding Contribution Award from the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA); and Emeritus Professor Dick Hobbs receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award from the British Society of Criminology.

Students give their Essex education top marks

Students voted their Essex education among the best in the UK, giving the University of Essex some of its highest student satisfaction scores ever. The University achieved an overall satisfaction rating of 90% in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS), placing Essex in the top ten of mainstream English universities.

Silberrad Student Centre

Silberrad Student Centre
Colchester Campus.

Award-winning buildings

We believe in creating inspirational spaces for our community and have received a number of awards for our new buildings.

The striking Silberrad Student Centre and library extension at the heart of our Colchester Campus was named building of the year in the Eastern region by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2016. The new low-carbon home of Essex Business School won the Design through Innovation category at the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards for the East of England in 2016. The Forum Southend-on-Sea won the RICS East of England award for Community Benefit in 2015.

World's largest survey of how people really live

The world's largest long-term longitudinal survey is being led by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Essex, with 40,000 UK households being interviewed to find out how people really live their lives.

Dr James Canton

Dr James Canton, Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, with part of the J. A. Baker archive.

Unique library collections

Special collections in our library include papers, books and paintings from leading local, national and international figures including Sigmund Freud and crime novelist Margery Allingham. Unusual items in the collections include marzipan figures of former SDP leaders David Owen and Roy Jenkins.

Dr James Canton from the Department for Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies helped bring the J. A. Baker Archive to the library in 2016. Baker published The Peregrine just under 50 years ago and is now seen as one of the UK’s most influential wild writers.

Another new addition to the library is the The Archive of Participation compiled by Professor of Citizen Participation at Essex, Peter Beresford from the School of Health and Human Sciences and campaigner, social worker and writer Suzy Croft. The Archive of Participations includes material relating to numerous public campaigns from the past four decades.

Royal recognition for our political research

Her Majesty The Queen conferred the UK’s first Regius Professor of Political Science on the University of Essex to mark her Diamond Jubilee. The Regius Professorship recognises 50 years of excellence in research and education in politics at Essex, which is one of the youngest universities ever to receive this accolade. Internationally-renowned expert on British politics, Professor David Sanders, was appointed to the Professorship in 2014.

Real Constable Country

At our Colchester Campus you are surrounded by historic parkland, Wivenhoe Park, which was painted by eighteenth century landscape artist John Constable.

Nightline makes a difference for 40 years

In 1970 Essex was the first UK university to launch Nightline, an anonymous telephone support helpline, now operating at over 40 universities.

How Essex helped create the future of video games

The oldest virtual world in existence was created at the University of Essex. Back in 1978 Professor Richard Bartle from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, then a student at Essex, helped fellow student Roy Trubshaw create MUD (Multi-User Dungeon). The text-based adventure game allowed players to type short commands to travel through a fantasy world. MUD has become a touchstone for the massively multiplayer online game industry.

Other quick facts

  • We are in the top 30 in the UK according to the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.
  • We have the most international student community out of all mainstream English university outside London according to the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 and we are ranked 18th globally for international outlook by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
  • The popular THINK series which challenges students to debate controversial and thought-provoking subjects and to broaden their views won the Guardian University Award for Student Experience in 2016.
  • The plans to establish the University of Essex were seen as so innovative and groundbreaking that our founding Vice-Chancellor Sir Albert Sloman was invited to give the prestigious Reith Lectures in 1963. You can still listen to some of them on the BBC website and they were published as a book – A University in the Making.
  • Europe's only public collection of modern and contemporary art from Latin America - ESCALA is based at Essex.
  • The Albert Sloman Library is seen as a masterpiece of brutalism and was included as an icon of the 20th century in the V&A exhibition British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age.
  • You can take a virtual tour of our 50th anniversary Something Fierce to discover the history of our architecture and student community.
  • Our commitment to the arts is shown by the fact that, uniquely among UK universities, we have a theatre at each of our three campuses.
  • Six residential towers at our Colchester Campus were the tallest load-bearing brick buildings in the country when they were built in the 1960s.
  • Former students of East 15 Acting School include actress Alison Steadman and film directors Mike Leigh, Stephen Daldry and David Yates (director of the four latest Harry Potter films).
  • Our 18-hole Frisbee golf course at the Colchester Campus has hosted the World Ultimate Frisbee Championships.
  • Famous bands who have played at the University include rock legends Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop and The Kinks, plus indie giants Blur.