Covid-19 University Guidance

Applying to Essex following the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak

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Applying 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 prospective students about applying to the University of Essex. If you hold an unconditional offer for October 2020 and have not yet completed your online registration, please visit our dedicated webpage here. We will update this page regularly.

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

Although many of our staff are not currently working in their offices on campus, we are continuing to provide a full admissions service. Your application is important to us and we are assessing all applications in the usual way.

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

Yes. If you are interested in joining the University this autumn, but are concerned by current travel restrictions, we still encourage you to apply. It is highly likely that the situation in all countries will change a lot over the next few months ahead of our next intake in 2021.

Can I apply to study at Essex now?

We are now closed for the October 2020 intake, but our courses are now open for new applicants for 2021, so we welcome new applications at all study levels. We are also offering a selection of courses that start in January 2021, further details about these courses can be found on the following pages:

Postgraduate January start options

Undergraduate January start options

What happens if my final examinations have been cancelled or changed?

If your exams have been cancelled or you haven’t been able to complete part of your studies, please don’t worry – we have arrangements to manage exceptional circumstances for all our applicants. We are following advice and guidance closely from the University’s regulator (Office for Students), and the exam boards.

Please submit your application, providing details of qualifications that have been awarded to date and those they you are yet to complete.

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

I can't get hold of the information you have requested, what should I do?

We are aware you might have difficulties getting hold of supporting information. We will be as flexible as possible. If you will need extra time to gather requested information, please just let your Admissions Adviser know.

If you are unable to obtain a certificate or transcript for your qualifications, either as a result of your exams being cancelled or due to other factors such as school closures, please provide what you can and contact our Undergraduate Admissions Team by emailing or our Postgraduate Admissions team at

We may be able to accept proof of your results in an alternative format – this may include interim transcripts, copies of school/college/university records or a letter or email from your school/college/university.

I'm applying for a postgraduate course, but my current studies have been disrupted - what does this mean for my application?

We are aware that many of you will have had your studies interrupted and that some of you will either not receive the award you expected or will receive the award but with fewer credits. Please be assured that we will base our decision on your academic performance up until the point of any COVID-19 disruption.

We will normally expect you to have completed 50% of your final year’s study, and we will base our decision purely on your grades at that point. We will also be as flexible as we can with our minimum grade requirements and will take into account any impact on your final grades as a result of COVID-19 disruption

I'm having difficulties obtaining a reference to support my application, what do I do?

If you are unable to obtain a reference at the point you apply, please don’t worry as you will be able to submit your application without one. If we need a reference and you are successful in gaining an offer, we will add this as a condition of your offer.

If you are currently holding an offer that is conditional upon obtaining a suitable reference or other information, and you are unable to get this due to the current COVID-19 situation, please contact the Admissions Adviser mentioned in your offer letter.

I'm having problems being able to take the English Language Test that is a condition of my offer, what should I do?

We are aware that some English Language tests may be cancelled or postponed, or you are unable to attend test centres due to travel restrictions, please see below links for full details of the English Language tests that we can accept, including online tests, and the scores we require. Please note these are updated regularly with any additional tests that we are now able to accept:

If you already hold an English language test that isn’t listed in the tables above, please list it clearly on your application and we can review it alongside your other qualifications. However, it may be that we still need to include an alternative English language test in any subsequent offer you may receive.

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

Yes. Due to travel restrictions currently in place, all our pre-sessional courses will be delivered online, so you can study from your home country. Please read our Pre-Sessional English webpages for further details.

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

Our Autumn Pre-sessional courses are designed to support applicants beginning their main course in January or April 2021. They will be delivered online, so if you are eligible for one you will be able to study this in your home country. Please read our Pre-Sessional English webpages for further details.

We anticipate that our Spring/Summer Pre-sessional programmes for October 2021 starters will be delivered on campus. If there is any disruption to travel then contingency plans will be in place to ensure that the programmes still go ahead. Applications for these programmes will open in November 2020.

Can/should I defer my place? 

Our applications for October 2020 are now closed, but we welcome applications for applicants looking to start their studies in January 2021 or October 2021. We can also consider applications for those wishing to defer their place to October 2022.

If you currently hold an offer and would like to defer your place, please contact your Admissions Adviser who can discuss your options with you.

Do I have to attend campus for my interview?

If you are required attend an interview as a compulsory assessment component for your application, we will contact you to arrange an interview remotely, either via Zoom or telephone.

Will auditions at East 15 Acting School still be taking place?

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

What do I do if I have concerns about getting a visa?

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.

Do I still need to pay my deposit?

Some students are asked to pay a deposit to secure their place on a course with us. You should still pay this but if for any reason you are unable to start your course, it can be deferred or refunded. Further information about our tuition fee policy can be found on our website.

January Starts

Can I start my course in January?

Some of our undergraduate and masters courses now have entry points in January 2021.

Starting your course in January might suit your personal needs a little better. You’ll study the same course and graduate with the same qualification as those starting in October.

For undergraduate courses, your first year will be condensed so that you finish your first year in Summer 2021. Your second year will then continue as usual in October. For masters courses, your study will finish in December 2021 instead of September.

Can I apply for accommodation if my course starts in January?

Yes, accommodation is guaranteed for those starting their course in January and applications are now open. To apply for accommodation in Colchester or Southend, you will need to complete an application form and return it by 29 November 2020.

Further information on applying for accommodation can be found online.

What can I expect if I am starting my course in January 2021?

We have planned our teaching programmes to allow for blended delivery, including some face-to face teaching, or fully online, or a combination of both across the year. Although the details of teaching it will vary between courses, our approach to blended delivery broadly involves larger teaching events being online, and a mixture of ‘live’ and pre-recorded, with smaller teaching events, including seminars and other group learning opportunities delivered face–to-face when possible. If infection levels through the year mean that we need to manage the numbers of students on our campuses, we are prepared to move to wholly online for parts of the year.

If you are not able to travel to join us on our campuses, you have the option to access your learning online, wherever you are, with flexibility to transition to on-campus learning when you are able.

We will regularly assess the external and internal contexts to make decisions relating to the safe return of staff and students to our campuses.

Should I plan to travel to the UK to start my course?

We understand that for some of our students, being in a campus environment makes it easier for them to study and access learning resources, even if they are not having face-to-face teaching. We know that having quiet space to study and access to WIFI is important.

We have been delighted to welcome students onto our campuses during the Autumn Term, whether they have been accessing face-to-face teaching or not.

While we are welcoming students who wish to come onto our campuses, we also recognise that for some, they may prefer to engage with their studies remotely.

Our teaching delivery plans are designed to support students who are accessing their learning off-campus to progress their studies, at the same pace as students who are studying on-campus.

Visiting our campuses

Can I visit the campus for an Open Day?

Currently, our Open Days are taking place virtually to protect your safety and that of our staff and students. Our virtual Open Days are a fantastic opportunity for you to find out more about our courses, chat to students and staff, take a virtual tour of our campuses and much more.

We love welcoming people to our campuses in person however and are planning physical events to take place as soon as we can safely run them. We will update our web pages as soon as we have further details on these.

Full details of our virtual Open Days can be found online.

I’ve applied and received an offer; are you running post-offer Applicant Days?

This year, our post-offer Applicant Days will be taking place online. We’re currently finalising plans for these virtual events which will give you the chance to hear from your department, tour the campuses and accommodation, chat to staff and students and get the answers to any questions that you might have. Once you receive an offer, we’ll send you more information on accessing this resource.

We love welcoming people to our campuses in person however and are planning physical events to take place as soon as we can safely run them. We will update our web pages and contact our applicants as soon as we have further details on these.

Undergraduate Admissions
Telephone: 01206 873666
Postgraduate Admissions
Telephone: 01206 872719