Studying at Essex

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) University guidance

Advice for applicants applying to the University

The UK Prime Minister has announced that final external exams in schools and colleges will not run in June 2020.

Please don't worry. Further information about what we are doing to ensure that we can manage the admissions process for those of you who want to join us this autumn, even without final exams, is outlined in the Q&As below.

For postgraduate applicants and applicants studying outside of the UK, we are monitoring updates of other exam boards around the world and will be in touch soon.

We are monitoring and following all advice from Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the World Health Organisation and will review all guidance daily.

Not an applicant?

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) guidance for applicants

Information about applying to Essex and starting your course

As an enquirer or applicant to the University of Essex, we will keep you updated on the steps we are taking to limit the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on our community. This page contains important information for applicants about applying to and starting your course at the University of Essex. We will update this regularly.

If you are a current student or member of staff at the University, please refer to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) guidance on our student directory and staff directory.

Importantly, we are now undertaking a lot of work to try to ensure that we manage any impact that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) might have on students who will be joining us this autumn for 2020 entry. We understand how concerned some of you will be, and we want you to be assured that we will manage changes to the external environment as they develop.

Whether you are worried you might not get your final exam transcripts; that you might not be able to arrive on time to take a Pre Sessional English course; or you are concerned you will not be able to travel to one of our campuses for the start of the new academic year – we are working hard to find solutions that will work for you.

We will let you know what the answers to your questions are as we develop our work, and we will update all the questions and answers on these pages and remind you when we have done so. However, if you have an immediate concern or need some help, please contact us.

Applying to Essex

What will happen to my application if one or more of the University's campuses temporarily closes?

Your application is important to us and we are continuing to assess all applications in the usual way. Should the University close due to advice from Public Health England, we have processes in place to ensure we are able to continue handling applications.

Information on applying and our admissions processes for both undergraduate and postgraduate levels can be found online.

Should I still apply if I'm currently not able to leave the country?

Yes. it is highly likely that the situation in all countries will change a lot over the next few months. Most of our courses are still open for 2020 and we continue to welcome new applications at all study levels. If you are interested in joining the University in 2020 but are concerned/covered by current travel restrictions, we would still encourage you to apply. If you are subsequently successful in gaining an offer we will be in touch with the next steps leading up to registration. We will continue to follow public health guidance and will be sure to notify any affected applicants should alternative arrangements apply.

What happens if my final examinations have been cancelled?

We have emailed most undergraduate applicants today who are resident in the UK to let them know we will be updating their offer from conditional to unconditional. We have done this in response to the announcement that public exams will not be taking place in summer 2020.

What does this mean?

If you are eligible and have a conditional offer from us, we will be changing it to an unconditional offer over the next few weeks. Unfortunately, there is going to be some delay - we are all working at home at the moment, and there are a lot of offers to update, so it will mean your offer may not change from conditional to unconditional straight away while we work through this. You will be notified when it is updated by email from Essex and, if you applied through UCAS, by your UCAS track.

Do I have to do anything?

If you applied through UCAS and have already accepted Essex as your firm or insurance choice, you don’t need to do anything further. If your offer has changed from conditional to unconditional and you have yet to make your firm and insurance choices but would now like to do this, you can do this via the instructions on UCAS track. If you applied to us directly and have not yet accepted our offer but would now like to do so, please visit your myEssex applicant portal to accept your offer.

Why have I not received an email?

If you are resident in the UK and taking UK qualifications, you are likely to have received an email from us unless you have applied for a course that has a compulsory interview, or have non-academic requirements as part of your conditional offer (for example an English language test, a reference or an under 18 form). We will be in touch with you over the next few weeks to provide further details.

I am an EU or international applicant – why haven’t I heard from you?

If you are applying from outside the UK we will be in touch with you over the next few weeks to let you know how we will be managing your application. Please do not be concerned, we are aware that the situation is fast moving, and we do have arrangements to manage exceptional circumstances for all our applicants.

I am a postgraduate applicant, what does this mean for me?

We have also not yet made contact with postgraduate applicants with updates, but again, we will be doing so over the next few weeks.

If you have any further questions, please contact us via our Live Chat or email us at

I cannot get hold of the information you have requested, what shall I do?

We are aware that delays may be unavoidable for you in gathering the information needed to support your application. We aim to be as flexible as possible so if you will need extra time to gather requested information, please just let your Admissions Adviser know so that we are aware that there will be a delay.

I am having problems being able to take the English Language test that is a condition of my offer, what shall I do?

If your English language test has been cancelled or you are unable to attend due to travel restrictions, please contact the relevant Admissions Office through the links below.

For full details of the English Language tests that we can consider, please see the appropriate links below:

If you already hold an English language test that isn’t listed in the tables above, or your current English language test is not at the level required please contact your relevant Admissions Office:

Can I apply for Pre-sessional English (PSE) study at Essex?

We are working hard to find a number of ways to support you in PSE, even if you are unable to travel to the UK to start a course. These options are likely to include online PSE provision, some provision of PSE in country; late start points for 15, 10 and 5 week PSE courses; and January starts for some PGT courses to allow you to take PSE at Essex in the autumn.We are working on all of these options at the moment and will keep you informed as they are finalised. Please read our Pre-Sessional English provision information for further details.

For entry onto these courses, we can consider non-UKVI IELTS, TOEFL and Pearson tests of English language.

Please email if you have any questions about these courses.

Can I take a Pre-sessional English (PSE) course in my home country?

We are currently investigating a range of options including the potential of delivering PSE in-country and online PSE. We are also exploring what additional support we could offer our students once they are here. Should this become an option, we will update you on all relevant options.

Can / should I defer my place?

We are continuing to assess new applications and are preparing to welcome our new students in October 2020 as usual. If you think that you can no longer commence your studies in 2020, please contact your Admissions Adviser who can discuss your options with you.

What if I can't travel for the start of my course?

This page will be kept up to date with the most recent guidance and advice. As the start of term approaches please review these pages to check for updates. We will continue to follow guidance and will be sure to notify any affected applicants should alternative arrangements apply.

Do I have to attend campus for my interview?

As part of our enhanced protection measures surrounding COVID-19 all remaining 2020 Applicant Days are cancelled. If your interview is compulsory, we will be in touch and it will be offered remotely. For more information please see our Applicant Days page.

East 15 Auditions

All auditions (on campus and abroad) have been cancelled so students should submit digitally. An email has been sent out with details how to do this.

Please see the East 15 website for more information. Applicants will be contacted if anything changes.

Tier 4 Visas and Immigration concerns

Please see our Tier 4 Visa and immigration guidance FAQs (.pdf).

Please see the UKCISA website for further Coronavirus (Covid-19) infomation and advice for international students.

Can I still visit campus?

We are currently suspending all University public events, gatherings and visits due to COVID-19. We know this will be as disappointing to you as it is to us, and we hope you are able to join us virtually or when we re-open to visitors. We will update this page when we know more. In the meantime check out our Colchester and Southend Campus virtual tours, videos and other information online and please contact us if you have any questions.

Starting at Essex

What if I can't travel for the start of my course?

This page will be kept up to date with the most recent guidance and advice. As the start of term approaches please review these pages to check for updates. We will continue to follow guidance and will be sure to notify any affected applicants should alternative arrangements apply.

We are currently investigating a range of options which will allow us to continue delivering our courses, if students from certain areas were unable to travel to us, or some parts of our campuses needed to be closed. These options include introducing options of blended and virtual learning; developing online modules, and ensuring we can support any students who need to self-quarantine for a period. Should these become necessary, we will advise our applicants immediately. 

Will I be able to secure accommodation?

Our accommodation guarantee is still in place for our applicants and they have quite late deadlines.

Undergraduate students are guaranteed a room for their first year if they submit their accommodation application by 11.59pm on Friday 21 August 2020.

Postgraduate applicants are guaranteed a room if they submit their accommodation application by 11.59pm on 31 July 2020.

If you’re a new applicant and apply after this date, we will still offer you a room if possible. If we do not have a room for you, we’ll put you in touch with SU Home, an agency run by our Students’ Union.

Will there be any changes to course dates for pre-sessional courses?

At the moment, our start dates remain the same. We are exploring whether it would be possible to condense the five and ten week programmes, should this be required.

Will I be able to register on time?

All new students are required to register with the University by the third week of October. At the moment this is unchanged. We will review this deadline as the situation progresses.

What if I contract COVID-19 whilst I'm in the UK?

We are currently encouraging our students to follow the advice of Public Health England. We have processes in place to support students. 

What if I contract COVID-19 in my home country as I'm due to start in the UK?

If you contract COVID-19 before you are due to travel to the UK for the start of your course, you should not travel, and should follow all health advice. You should wait for clear medical advice that you are no longer contagious before you consider travelling.

You should contact the University to let them know the situation. We are currently investigating options for our students who cannot make it to Essex for the start of term including later start dates. This may be an option for you if you are unable to travel for the start of the year.

What if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on Campus?

The University has plans in place to respond to cases of COVID-19 on Campus. Our response would be in line with the advice of Public Health England with the aim of keeping our students and staff safe from further infection.

What would happen to my deposit if I become unable to start the University in autumn 2020 because of COVID-19

If you are asked to pay a deposit to secure your place and scholarship, you should do so by the relevant deadline. Our refund policy will be applicable in any circumstances related to COVID-19 that might make you unable to join us this autumn. 

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