Covid-19 University Guidance

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

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Applying to Essex

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. We will update this page regularly.

Making an application

Can I apply to study at Essex now?

Yes we are now accepting applications to join us in October 2021.

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 in 2021, but are concerned by current travel restrictions, we still encourage you to apply. Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

If you are unable to join us on campus it is possible to register and begin learning online until you are in a position to travel. If you have been invited to register online, please do so as soon as possible.

It is highly likely that the situation in all countries will change a lot over the next few months ahead of our intake in October 2021. 

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

The UK Prime Minister recently announced that most public exams will not go ahead as planned in England this summer. We are also conscious that similar disruption to exams may take place in other countries this year.

We know how concerned you must be about what this means for your future. We also know how hard you have been working to achieve your best and all the challenges you have faced over the last year. We want to do all that we can to support you at this time and to try and ensure you do not worry about your future and your opportunity to go to university.

We want to reassure you that we will continue to assess your application based on the information you have provided.

If we can make you an offer and you have accepted this as your first (firm) or second (insurance) choice, if your exams do not take place and an alternative assessment is used we will use these together with any other results or information available, to confirm your place where possible. If you are unable to complete part of your studies, we will consider your academic performance and the grades that are available.

In all cases, we will 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.

Private Candidates

If you are a private candidate, the government has stated that you will be assessed in a similar way to other students, by a recognised exam centre using an adapted range of evidence, and will receive a grade for each qualification you have registered for. Please contact your exam board for further information about their individual arrangements for private candidates who are registered with them if you are unsure. 

English language tests

We are aware that some English Language tests may be cancelled or postponed, or you may be unable to attend due to travel restrictions. If you are currently holding an offer that is conditional upon an English Language test, full details of what we can consider, including any new or online tests, can be found for Undergraduate applicants, and for Postgraduate applicants. If you are taking a test or qualification that is not listed on our website, please contact us for further advice.

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. Our Autumn term Pre-Sessional courses have now closed. However, we are able to accept applications for our Spring/Summer Pre-sessional courses which support applicants to achieve the English language requirements of our October 2021 main degree and master courses. 

Teaching will be available on campus but will also be available to take online if applicants are experiencing travel restrictions or would prefer to study from their home country. 

Find out more about Pre-Sessional courses.

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.

Can/should I defer my place? 

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. We can also consider applications for those wishing to defer their place to October 2022.

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 Student 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.

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. If you have been made an offer to study at Essex, you will receive an email from us inviting you to a Virtual Applicant Day. Find out more on our Applicant Days webpage.

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