About us

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How it all stacks up

We're a university going places with increasing numbers of students and one of the most international academic communities in the world.

We’re now delivering a transformational education to more than 17,800 students. We’ve also invested in the biggest ever expansion of our research community as we move towards our strategic target of having around 1,000 academics working on the important issues of our time.

We strive for excellence and we're aiming to excel in everything we do. 

Latest rankings

We’re a top 30 university, and in the top 4 for ‘value-added’, in the Guardian University Guide 2024.

We are 32nd out of 130 UK universities in the Complete University Guide 2024.

Our Students' Union is 16th for Students’ Union (National Student Survey 2023, English Broad Discipline Institutions)

Number one university in the UK for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), the flagship Innovate UK programme.

We’re 56th in the global Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023 and ranked in the top 100 globally for nine of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals assessed.

We have four subject areas in the top 10 in The Guardian University Guide 2024.

15th for international outlook in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024

We’re in the top 100 globally for politics and international studies in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2023)

We are 65th for Social Sciences in the THE World University Rankings by Subject 2023

47th for Law in THE World University Rankings by Subject 2023 

Top 150 for Business and Economics in THE World University Rankings by Subject 2023

Top 200 for Arts and Humanities in the THE World University Rankings by Subject 2023

89% of our graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023)

Research excellence

Essex is a centre of world-leading excellence for the social sciences. Four social science subjects are in the UK top 10 for research quality (Grade Point Average, REF2021) and three are in the UK Top 10 for research power (Times Higher Education 2022). We have further outstanding strengths in science and health, and arts and humanities.

The four Essex subjects in the UK top 10 for research quality are -  sociology, economics and econometrics, politics and international studies, and modern languages and linguistics. 

The five Essex subjects in the UK top 10 for research power are – sociology, law, economics and econometrics, politics and international studies, and computer science.

About The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an independent survey that gathers final year undergraduate students' opinions on the quality of their course.

More than 2,400 Essex students shared their views through NSS 2023. You can find an overview of our performance in NSS 2023 in our news section.

The survey is usually open from January to April each year and students can find out more information about taking part on our student directory.

All the data gathered is published by the Office for Students including a provider level dashboard.

The NSS is very important to us in understanding and improving the student experience. The feedback from students is used to inform the way we support students in the coming years.

NSS 2023

The NSS changed significantly this year. For each of the 26 core questions, students used a four-point scale to indicate how positive they were about a particular aspect of their student experience. NSS 2023 also removed a question which asked students in England how satisfied they are with the quality of their course.

A positivity measure or score can be calculated for each question based on the proportion of respondents who choose a positive answer. For each question, there is a sliding scale of four possible answers with two positive responses and two negative responses available.

Times Higher Education and NSS

Times Higher Education has analysed the NSS data to provide an overall ‘positivity score’ across all 26 core questions. Times Higher only included UK providers with at least 1,000 respondents.

According to the Times Higher analysis, Essex is ranked 28th out of all English broad discipline universities with a positivity score of 80.7%.

Positivity scores by subject

Overall ‘positivity scores’ can be calculated for each subject in NSS 2023 by looking at the proportion of positive responses to all 26 questions.

When compared against all English broad discipline universities, the highest ranked subjects at Essex according to overall positivity are:

  • 2nd for anatomy, physiology and pathology (Overall positivity score 87.7%
  • 7th for tourism, transport and travel (Overall positivity score 88.4%
  • 9th for philosophy (Overall positivity score 87.2%)
  • 10th for biosciences (Overall positivity score 85.2%)
  • 14th for counselling, psychotherapy and occupational therapy (Overall positivity score 84.5%)
  • 14th for mental health nursing (Overall positivity score 85.2%)
  • 16th for physiotherapy (Overall positivity score 82.6%)
  • 17th for biology (Overall positivity score 81.7% )
  • 17th for drama (Overall positivity score 82.9%)
  • 17th for politics (Overall positivity score 84%)
  • 17th for social work (Overall positivity score 86.5%)
  • 19th for marketing (Overall positivity score 83.5%)
  • 23rd for management studies (Overall positivity score 79.6%)
  • 24th for economics (Overall positivity score 80.2%)
  • 27th for literature in English (Overall positivity score 84.1%)

Positivity scores for individual questions

Essex is in the top 20 nationally for three NSS questions - IT resources and facilities, course organisation and subject specific resources. Essex Students’ Union is also ranked 16th for its effectiveness in representing students.

Essex is ranked in the top 30 for 10 questions covering everything from organisation of the course and IT facilities to access to library resources.

Truly international

We have students from more than 140 countries and a third of our students are from outside the UK - 12.8% are from the European Union and 21.5% are from overseas.

A growing university

  • 17,800+ students on Essex programmes at our three campuses.
  • 13,800+ undergraduates at our three campuses.
  • 3,900+ postgraduates at our three campuses.

Note: Our figures refer to headcount - total number of students registered on Essex courses in 2021.

Awards won


Economic impact

  • Our contribution to the UK economy is worth more than £500m. In Colchester our economic impact is £478m and in Southend our economic impact is £55m.
  • We are number one for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in the UK (Innovate UK).
  • Our research income is £42m (2020-21) – including contracts, grants and fees.
  • We employ more than 2,644 academic, research, senior support and general support staff.
* Non-specialist higher education institutions with a survey population of at least 500.