Your course and learning

University Protection Level

Although we have been able to introduce more face-to-face teaching, the University is now in the Targeted Protection level. Our protection levels remain under constant review and any changes to the protection level will be communicated in due course.

Studying remotely

We are expecting all our students to learn, in-person on our campuses at Colchester, Southend and Loughton.

We know that COVID-19 restrictions may still affect many of you. That’s why we will offer a level of flexibility for those who are unable to arrive at our campuses for the start of term. Find out more about submitting a request to study remotely.

Help and support

We know these are challenging times. If you have any questions or concerns about your teaching, course or modules, let us know as soon as possible. Please contact your personal tutor or the administrative team in your Department or School. Our Students’ Union can also help. There are also Course Representatives at the Colchester, Southend and Loughton Campuses, who can support you, provide feedback, and help to resolve any issues.

What evidence is being used?

The evidence we are using to guide our decision making includes a range of external and internal data points.

We are continually reviewing the pattern of infection on our campuses; the effectiveness of our support and other services in being able to respond appropriately in supporting students who are unwell or self-isolating; and the experience of other universities in the UK and internationally.

Evidence indicates that the steps we have taken, including antibody and antigen testing, as well as the support from our students and staff in behaving responsibly to keep each other safe is resulting in our campuses being successfully COVID-19 secure, to date. 

We are tracking and publishing information of our cases on the COVID-19 dashboard

To date we have managed to avoid significant numbers of COVID-19 cases on our campuses, despite rising rates of infection within our wider communities. We are one of the UK Universities with the lowest number of COVID cases and we want to do all that we can to maintain this.

Will tuition fee rebates be available?

Our priority throughout the pandemic is to offer our students the best teaching and learning and student experience we can, and to ensure continuity of learning irrespective of whether our students are learning on or off campus.

This has been both an opportunity and a challenge, as we have fast tracked planned advancements to develop the amount of blended learning in our programmes.

We are confident that there are benefits for students from this approach: this is why our Education Strategy, approved before the pandemic, committed to embedding more blended activities in all of our courses over the next five years.

We are confident that our teaching and learning – although different – will remain of the quality and standard that our students expect.

The changes we have put in place in response to COVID-19 to support the delivery of teaching, student support and wider student services have included additional investments of £10m to support blended and online delivery.

We have also offered the option of fully online learning, as well as offering a flexible accommodation policy so that our students can choose how they prefer to study through the year.

If any students have any concerns about their learning, we encourage you to raise these as soon as possible so that they can be addressed.

Please contact your department in the first instance.

This does not affect any of your legal rights under our student contract. We are committed to addressing any problems you may experience so please do let your Department know so we can take action.

Can I come on campus if I am not accessing face-to-face teaching?

Our campuses remain open and our libraries, study spaces and facilities are available to use. If you are living on or off campus and you want to come to campus to access learning resources, facilities or student support services, you can book a study space on campus through our booking system, which is designed to manage social distancing on campus. 


An update on the impact of this decision upon accommodation can be found on our student accommodation web pages.

Applicant information

 Information for applicants can be found on our dedicated applicant web pages.

Teaching and learning overview for 2021-2022

How courses will be taught

In planning for next year, we are balancing our desire to offer the best possible campus experience for you with the need to maintain the safety of our community. There may be restrictions and mitigations in place for activities taking place on our campuses, including for in-person teaching events. These will be based on the latest UK Government guidance and the measures we want to take to maintain your safety.

Most of our teaching programmes will be taught in a way that blends in-person classes with a range of online lectures, teaching, learning and collaborative support to deliver a high quality education. The combination of different types of learning opportunities will be tailored to the learning outcomes of your course. This may include:

  • webinars
  • lectures and tutorials in the University’s virtual learning environment
  • collaborative discussions
  • group project work using social media or other meeting platforms like ZOOM, WhatsApp or Messenger

There will also be other ways of learning, designed to enable you to engage more easily and manage your workload. It will also help develop your deeper understanding of the topic. This will usually involve:

  • self-directed study
  • readings and
  • online tasks

We are dedicated to delivering a quality, transformative education and to supporting you to succeed in your studies and in preparing for your future.

Why are we not moving back to standard teaching

We won't be moving back to standard teaching even though schools/UK Government have announced a roadmap for removal of need for social distancing etc.

Protecting the health and wellbeing of our students while delivering a high-quality education guides everything we do. Despite very positive signs that the vaccination programme is limiting COVID transmission in the UK, we cannot guarantee that we will be unaffected by pandemic-related restrictions at any point during the next academic year.

Our approach to planning for the academic year 2021-2022 will ensure that we will be able to offer all of our students a transformative, campus experience; with flexibility to adapt to periods of heightened COVID security if needed. Our priority will always be to ensure your safety while supporting you to continue with your education - irrespective of any further disruption caused by the pandemic.

We will comply with all Government guidance, and in addition to this will make our own additional judgements about what works in our campus environments. We have all learned a great deal from our experiences of the last year, and we will be ready to flex our approach to teaching if the circumstances require.

Further periods of lockdown

We will do all we can to make sure that your teaching and learning continues uninterrupted in the event of further disruption or interruption over the course of the 2021-22 academic year. Our approach ensures that if things need to change, we can move to online only teaching at any point.

We expect that most teaching will be delivered on campus but with appropriate COVID secure measures – such as supporting vaccinations across our student and staff community; regular COVID testing; managing a track and trace system; supporting students to quarantine and self-isolate; etc.

We will continue to draw on our experiences of managing the pandemic in the 2020-21 academic year.

Using campus facilities

Even if your teaching moves to online only at some point during the academic year, you will be able to come onto campus and access our study spaces and wider facilities.

In some circumstances we might need to control the number and capacity of on-campus activities to make sure social distancing is maintained and this might mean limiting the number of people using our facilities at any one time. All student services will continue to operate, whether in person or remotely.

We expect students to join us on campus for the start of term

We expect our students to join us on our campuses for the start of term, and we are optimistic that progress in implementation of the UK vaccination programme.

While we expect all our students to return to campus next year, we know that COVID-19 restrictions may still affect many of you. That’s why we will offer a level of flexibility for those who are unable to arrive at our campuses for the start of term. More information about eligibility and how to apply to study remotely can be found on the Student Directory.

If you need to quarantine on arrival

We will offer a period of free accommodation before the start of term if you need to self-isolate to join us and be ready to begin your teaching at the start of term. We will contact you about this when you book your accommodation.

We will offer support to all students who need to quarantine, and further information on this and what is included can be found on our student travel page.

Safety measures on campus

Our campuses have remained open throughout the past year; they have continued to provide a home from home to thousands of students, who we have looked after during the pandemic.

We follow all national and international guidance on the numbers of students and staff to our campuses. This includes having steps in place to manage further waves/variants of COVID-19. Measures so far have included:

  • enhanced cleaning and hygiene regimes
  • social distancing
  • providing face coverings for all staff and students
  • providing antibacterial gel at key and frequent locations
  • health services available local to all campuses.

We have taken extensive measures to ensure that members of our community on our campuses are safe and have the essential services they need. We have also been running a programme of events and activities for our community to engage in online, whether they are on campus or elsewhere.

We will use the experience of last year to continue enhancing our offer for 2021-22 academic year.

Studying your degree online/at home

The University of Essex is a campus-based university. We offer our students a distinctive, on-campus, living and learning experience, and our student benefit from being on our campuses, sharing their Essex learning experience with fellow students and being part of our rich and diverse community.

We know that COVID-19 restrictions may still affect many of you. That’s why we will offer a level of flexibility for those who are unable to arrive at our campuses for the start of term. More information about eligibility and how to apply to study remotely can be found on the Student Directory.

We want as many of our students to join us on campus as possible. We expect that if you need to begin studying online, that you will join us on campus as soon as you can.

If you're unable to arrive on campus for the start of term

We know that COVID-19 restrictions may still affect many of you. That’s why we will offer a level of flexibility for those who are unable to arrive at our campuses for the start of term.

If I you're unable to arrive on campus for the start of term and need to begin you course remotely, you will need to have access to Zoom. We also use Moodle where you can access course-related resources such as your reading lists, and an online assessment submission portal.

You will need to ensure you have a suitable internet connection to access all of these and we would recommend a laptop or desktop PC over a tablet or phone. If you have specific IT issues, contact the IT Helpdesk as soon as possible so we can help get you up and running.

Find out more about submitting a request to study remotely.

Learning spaces on campus

We have kept learning spaces open on our campuses throughout the current academic year, and used a booking system to manage COVID secure arrangements.

We expect more of these to be opening up over the next few weeks. You can find out more about available learning spaces/IT equipment across all three of our campuses. There are also a range of other study areas including quiet study areas, labs and pods.

Contact us
Contact us