Some of our current students tell you about their experiences so far. You can also read our graduate profiles
and see what our students have gone on to do after their time at Essex.
Ecaterina Gamanji, BSc Computer Science (including placement year)
Being a student of the University of Essex is indisputably one of the biggest highlights of my life. The variety and multitude of opportunities is immense, and you will definitely discover new horizons of your abilities.
The main reason I chose to study at the University of Essex was the academic excellence and extensive research possibilities.
However, I have got much more in return. Not only have I had an intensive exposure to the technical courses in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering department,
I have also gained a wide range of soft skills that are valuable for any industrial jobs.
Looking back at the 4 years I spent at the university, I am amazed by the amount of academic, professional and personal accomplishments.
I have completed two internships (one part-time and one full-time) at the UK Data Archive, gaining a broad vision of what is required in the industry. Furthermore, I have accomplished a placement
year at Microsoft, as a core software developer. The greatest part of the year at Microsoft, was that the projects I was working on impacted directly millions of users daily.
Also, it was a great inspiration for my final year project – WebSelenium, which won the Open Day Project Presentation prize.
Being a Course Representative for the entire duration of my degree was an efficient way to interact with most of the academic and managerial staff of the CSEE department.
However, there are other opportunities to get involved in departmental projects, like UROP or frontrunner placements.
Alongside the academic achievements I was able to interact with students from all around the world and explore new hobbies, which can be done as a part of a society or
simply with the JustPlay sessions from the Students’ Union.
Taking all these into consideration, I can affirm that my University of Essex experience was an extraordinary journey to discover and develop myself in various domains.
Also, I would love to return to the University of Essex in a couple of years, as a postgraduate student.
Bianca Orita, BSc Computer Science
As an EU student, I had to make my university choices online and even though I did not get a chance to visit the universities, I was able to find out a lot of great
information online. Essex had a great description of the department and the campus which stood out to me and also I found out very quickly how successful the research
and the actual Computer Science School was. I knew that Essex had the best of both worlds: an amazing campus but also a just as amazing department so it became my definitive university choice.
I remember even now how nervous I was when I arrived but very quickly I got to see that the students and staff members were so helpful from the very
first day and I got accommodation on campus even faster that I would have imagined.
My first week was super eventful because I got to make a lot of friends, get to know the campus and enjoy a bunch of activities. The Freshers Fair
is a great opportunity to enroll in lots of societies and sports clubs and if you do not find a society/club that you like then you can always start one
with the help of our Students’ Union. Since Computer Science was my passion, I knew that I wanted to take part in the Computer Society but it only came
to around my second year when I decided to reinvent the society and lead as a president of a team of students to bring the society back to life.
Throughout my time at university I worked a few part-time jobs which I have really enjoyed and I think have helped a lot with becoming more responsible
and understanding what I really wanted to do after the university. Starting from working as a Student Ambassador, Nightline Executive, student frontrunner positions
to being a Resident Assistant all of them were worth it. And there are so many more things you can do on campus to gain a little experience aside from your degree.
I now have landed a full time employment position in Germany as a Big Data Engineer which I can honestly say is all thanks to my year abroad that I took during my third year at university
in Konstanz, Germany. The year abroad programme is absolutely a life changing experience and many students that have gone on one will tell you the same. For me it was a nice way
to discover Europe a little bit more, get to learn at a different university and meet a ton of new people.
Without Essex, I would not have managed to get so far and I am truly grateful to all of the things I got to learn throughout my time there and if I can give a piece of advice
to anyone thinking of going to Essex is that you should not hesitate because you will be guaranteed to enjoy your experience there and wish that it will last a lot longer.
Naseem Ramli (BEng Telecommunication Engineering and PhD in Computing and Electronic Systems)
Essex seemed to be perfect for me from the first time I stepped on campus during a visit day in 2009. I just knew from the great atmosphere, the high reputation of the university and the location –
not too far away from London, that Essex was the place for me to study my dream course, Telecommunication Engineering.
I really like Colchester campus life; everything is in easy reach, from lectures to accommodation and even the banks, shops, post office and sports centre. In fact, you could practically live on
campus for the whole year and not leave – but this may get a little boring after a while! With the great city centre and the stunning scenery surrounding Essex, you wouldn’t want to miss out on
exploring the area. Essex has so much diversity when it comes to your social life that you will always have something you can take part in or do.
I came to Essex in the academic year 2009/2010 with a mathematics and physics background, wanting to combine and develop this further with Telecommunication Engineering. This worked
very well with me as I gained superb skills in electronic, telecommunication, and even enhanced my mathematical knowledge. I completed a successful final year project in power electronics.
I graduated with first class honours and was awarded the best undergraduate student in CSEE in 2012 award.
The best aspect about studying at Essex is the fact that the lecturers are on the same level as students. You get taught by leading professionals in the field you are studying in and they always
want to help students achieve the best of their abilities. My experience in Essex as an Undergraduate student made it the top choice for me to do a PhD degree in Computing and Electronic Systems.
One prodigious aspect about being at this University is the variety of opportunities given to students to enhance their employability skills. There are a range of seminars and courses on how to present
yourself and articulate your skills to employers. There are also great opportunities (Volunteering and Paid) to take while you are studying.
I took up a role of graduate Laboratory assistant in Engineering Mathematics and Analogue Circuit Design during my first and third year PhD studies. I was
awarded the excellence in teaching award ETA for the academic year 2015-2016. I was trained to be an exam invigilator in 2013 and senior Exam invigilator in 2016. I am the
PGR, GTA and GLA course representative for the current academic year 2016/2017.
I am supervised by Professor Stuart Walker and I am currently finalising my PhD thesis.
Raluca D. Gaina (BSc Computer Games, MSc Computer Games, PhD Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence)
The initial choice to join the University of Essex was made based on its good facilities in the
Computer Science department and the overall community feel of the campus. One of
my most memorable moments was the first welcome talk I attended, given by the head of the school at the time, Professor Maria Fasli. As a woman aspiring for a CS degree, it was
inspirational to meet Maria and it motivated me to continue on this path and strive to reach higher than before.
As a result, I remained at Essex after completing my Bachelors in Computer Games for a Masters course in the same area, with the wish to narrow down on the field that most
interested me. It was during this course that I was truly challenged and discovered a passion for research, from which the decision to continue with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence
in Games at the same institution emerged.
All the staff here have been excellent, experts in their topics, up to date with the latest research in the area and great at supporting me throughout the year in
everything I set out to do, which culminated with a published paper at the Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC) organised and held here at Essex.
The paper focused on my work carried out for my Masters project, which aimed to expand the General Video Game AI Competition to two player games. This was a great
introduction to the world of research in games and an amazing opportunity to kick start my PhD.
I was also a member of the CSEE Athena SWAN project, which aims to recognise and encourage career advancements of women in STEM disciplines. As I had various struggles due to the general
perception around the subject of women in Computer Science, it's a cause I strongly believe in and will continue to actively support.
Oyinsola Oreyomi, BEng Electronic Engineering
“I decided to come to the University of Essex based on a recommendation from someone. I knew
I had always wanted to study Electronic Engineering, but a week or two after results day, someone convinced
me that studying Telecommunications Engineering was better! And even better was that the University of Essex
offered the course! So I thought why not?
Although I lived close to the University, I never attended any visit days and so did not know what to expect
when I arrived. To make up for that, I read all the materials the University sent, went to their websites and
started to learn more about the university. I looked up on all the clubs and societies to see which ones
interested me and which I’d be likely to join. And as the days rolled by, the excitement built up too.
I wouldn’t say I was nervous to start University, I’d say I was more nervous starting the course. I didn’t
know what it was going to be like. Lectures came as a shock to me; people sitting in this large room with someone
at the front talking! Assignments being handed out 4-5 weeks into the term, no-one checking up on you to see if
you know what you’re doing – it was very different from college.
I found I was able to go to the lecturers’ offices for help whenever I needed it – this helped with the first
few weeks when everything was new. I also started to request help from other people on my course. This is one
of the advantages of living in the Towers - I had 4 other CSEE students in the same flat. So a piece of advice
for first years is, always ask! That’s what the lecturers and other staff are there for - they don’t know you
don’t know until you ask.
One great thing about this University is the range of opportunities provided for students to improve their
employability skills. There are loads of talks and seminars on how to present yourself in a great way to employers. There are also lots of opportunities to get a
job whilst studying. I was a Visit day Ambassador during term time, an Employability Frontrunner in the summer of my first year and a Publicity Frontrunner in my
second year. So it is never too early to start looking for those placements and workshops to enhance your CV.
In my first year, I joined the Christian union and the Athletics society. Joining clubs are a great way
to make friends with people who have things in common with you, outside of your course.
After completing my first year in Telecommunications Engineering, I decided to change to Electronic
Engineering. Because I had done all the prerequisite modules in my first year, switching courses was very
straightforward. I sent my change of course form and within three days, I was an Electronic engineering
Lecturers and GTAs in the School of CSEE are really wonderful people and they do their best to help.
My time at the University has been awesome so far and I’m so thankful I decided to come here!”
John Butler, BSc Computer Science
“Choosing to study at the University of Essex was a simple decision for me. The close-knit campus community brought together by the locality of the student
accommodation and on-campus social hubs made it very easy to meet new people and gain friends which I will keep for life. The Students'
Union provided an extensive range of clubs and societies which enabled me to meet new people from outside of my course. I picked up two new sports, American football and
rugby league, which I never expected to play before I enrolled. They turned out to be great and allowed me to keep active throughout my studies.
I wasn't exactly a computer whiz before I came to Essex, which was the stereotype labelled to people on these kinds of degrees, but when I met my course mates I found I
wasn't the only one. The lecturers were very accommodating and we caught up very quickly with the more computer-literate students. I learnt how to competently program in
multiple languages, use a variety of operating systems, and understand the theory behind many computing principles. My knowledge also extends to business, multimedia and
team management. Science and engineering degrees are not for the faint-hearted! If you are prepared to commit time and a lot of effort into your studies you will do very
Razvan Muscalu, BSc Computer Science
“Before coming to university I had a passion for science which, during my high school in Romania, expressed itself through mathematics. Then, I thought it would be
best to go practical and decided to study computer science in the UK. Choosing Essex proved to be a very beneficial decision as I managed to develop valuable personal and
The Colchester Campus is very lively and can be everyone's best friend during your studies. There is a strong community atmosphere, so by the end of your degree, you'll
have made lots of good friends and will have had loads of fun. The Students' Union and its societies are one of the reasons diverse
events happen on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering is very professional and has a good reputation for its teaching and research. It has the ability to provide a
computer enthusiast with everything required. Besides offering a truly rich curriculum, ranging from networks to artificial intelligence and from operating systems to
application programming and beyond, the School is home to passionate and friendly lecturers and staff who are always happy to help. It also has strong connections with
industry leaders like BT, so you have a good chance of doing CV-boosting internships and placements.
Living and studying here was really lovely and I am now full of memories to keep and technical expertise to apply in my career.”
Valentine Adejoh, BSc Information and Communication Technology
“As an international student, I didn't have the chance to visit the Colchester Campus. I chose to study at the University of Essex based on reviews and recommendations.
Apart from the University's research excellence and top-quality education, my time here was truly amazing. I am convinced my decision paid off. I consider the University to be
one where you could truly have it all because of its multicultural diversity, location outside London (but yet very accessible), teaching and research excellence, great social
life, and its commitment to making its students employable upon graduation.
At Essex there are over 130 different nationalities represented. Coming from a different environment and culture, you would think it's hard to settle into campus life. This
was never the case for me as I received help and support from the University. Ranging from residential assistance from the
Resident Support Network, to Nightline, and the Students' Union, there is a
lot to support students who have just come to university for the first time. Even if it's not your first time, these guys would definitely help in any way possible.
Socially, there are lots of things you can do at Essex. The Students' Union provides different clubs, societies, and activities for students. Essex has something for everyone.
Colchester is roughly an hour from London Liverpool Street station, so you are not far from the shops, culture and tourist attractions in London.
Prior to coming to Essex, I knew nothing about programming or computer networks. I only had a basic understanding of computers and how to use them. My lecturers were very
helpful so even if you have no background knowledge on anything computer related, there is a lot of help provided.
I was involved in a range of University activities including sports, clubs, societies, and part-time jobs. Essex provides lots of part-time job opportunities for students.
An example of this is the Frontrunners placements scheme. Your working hours fit around your studies and commitments. So basically, you are in
charge. You choose when you can work! Also, if you excel in your university commitments, there is recognition for it. The Big Essex Award recognises
students who have made themselves highly employable by getting involved. In general, life at Essex was great. There are so many opportunities for students to make the most
of their time. I would definitely recommend studying here.”