2020 applicants
School of Health and Social Care

Undergraduate study

Skeleton in a lab

Committed to improving lives

Got mettle, zeal and bold ambition? Got a heart of gold? Thrive on advocating for others?

Then the School of Health and Social Care at Essex is the right place for you. We're a lively, supportive community of students and staff who're passionate about progressing knowledge in our field. We're looking for the change-makers of the future - people who're prepared to evaluate and challenge current practice to improve patient and customer experience.

Depending on which of our undergraduate courses you choose, you could be using your Social Work skills to support refugees in Cyprus or learning about healthcare in Melbourne, Australia*. All of our undergraduate courses include placement opportunities which benefit our local communities, and some offer the option to study abroad for a year too. Alternatively if traditional study isn't for you, we offer apprenticeships in health science and nursing.

*Please note that these courses may be subject to additional costs.

Explore our undergraduate courses
Why choose us?
  • 100% of our undergraduate School of Health and Social Care students are in professional employment or postgraduate study within six months of graduating from Essex (DLHE 2017) 
  • We're the first department in the University to have been awarded the Athena SWAN Silver Award for gender equality
  • We have state-of-the-art teaching facilities including mock wards at both campuses

So, what do we have to offer?

Study abroad and placements years

Did you know that if you are thinking of studying either BSc Nursing (Adult) or BSc Nursing (Mental Health) you have the option of extending your course to four years, and spending your third year abroad?

If you're planning on studying BSc Speech and Language Therapy, you also have the option of extending your course to four years.  In your third year, you can either take placement year, or your could study abroad.

For those of you who are interested in studying BA Social Work, once you have started the course, you can apply for the opportunity to swap one of your second year placements to an international placement.  Previously students have enjoyed completing their placement in Cyprus working with refugees.  This has given them a unique insight to the challenges faced by refugees.

Doing a placement year or studying abroad is a great way to expand your knowledge and skills set, which in turn may give you a new perspective for your final year research project.  It will also give you something extra to talk about when you apply for jobs, as you'll be able to compare and contrast your experiences.

Find out more about studying abroad here.

Diversity of placements

Our School is well supported by our dedicated placements team.  This team look after finding appropriate placements for our undergraduate and postgraduate preregistration and Social Work students.  This means we are able to offer a wide range of placements across various settings in the East of England.  This is great news for our students as it means we are able to ensure a diversity of experiences.

Getting you ready for life after graduation

Studying with us is about gaining more than just a qualification.  We aim to prepare you for your career in health and social care, and will emphasise developing your leadership and research skills.

We want you to leave Essex feeling equipped to drive forward knowledge, practice and policy in your field, regardless of where you choose to work.

Student typing on a laptop
Applying to Essex

How do I apply? How do I write a personal statement? What happens after submitting my application? Whatever your question, we're here for every stage of your journey.

Find out more

Making your application

Places on our courses here at Essex are in high demand. To give yourself the best chance of securing your place here, we recommend you consider the following:

How much do I know about the course?

It's important to us that you know what you're signing up for. We'd expect that you've read our course pages carefully, and have done plenty of research about both life at Essex and the careers associated with our courses.

Working in health and social care can be highly rewarding, but like any sector, it also comes with its challenges. It's important that you have an awareness of these challenges, and are up to speed with current issues. We'd recommend you keep up with health and social care news, and subject appropriate journals and magazines , e.g Nursing Times, Community Care, etc. If you are at school or college, you may find they already have a subscription that you can access.

If you're thinking about applying for Nursing, you may like to take a look at Future learn's free MOOC 'Introduction to Nursing: Bioscience, Psychology and Sociology'.  This course aims to give you a clear understanding of nursing and where a career in nursing can lead.


How can I demonstrate that I have what it takes?

You'll notice that many of our courses are underpinned by the NHSConstitution, as well as our own Essex values. The NHS Constitution is an important document which establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. 

This document very clearly explains that the patient is at the heart of everything the NHS does. We take this commitment seriously, and so are looking for people who have the potential to be future healthcare superstars.

Many of our courses are a blend of both theory and practice, so we also need to hear from you about both your academic and practical skills.

Think carefully about how your experiences have prepared you for some of the challenges of the course, and how they can make you stand out from the crowd. For example, if you've worked in retail, you're likely to have developed your communication skills, so you may be able to talk about this.

My course requires an interview.  What can I do to prepare?

For many people, the idea of being interviewed is quite daunting. There's no need to panic. We're on your side.

We aim to use the interview process to get to know you and to find out your plans for the future. Our interview panels are made up of current staff and students, service users, and local placement partners. Many of the panel will have been through a similar process at some point in their career, so they'll appreciate you'll probably be feeling nervous. Try to relax (as best as you can) and think of it more as a discussion with colleagues about why you'd like to join us.

For Nursing, our interview questions are structured around the four themes of the NMC code:

  • prioritise people
  • practice effectively
  • preserve safety
  • promote professionalism and trust.

As part of our interview process, some of our courses require you to undertake English and Maths tests so you can demonstrate that you have a basic level of literacy and numeracy. For courses with professional accreditation, the regulatory bodies will often set the standards for us. You can find out if your course requires and English and Maths test by looking at our entry requirements on our webpages.  Please note that from September 2019, our Nursing courses no longer require you to sit an English and Maths test.

If you have a documented educational need, then you may be entitled to specific access arrangements for the literacy and numeracy tests. If you think that this applies to you, please contact our admissions teams as soon as possible but at least one week prior to your interview: hscadmit@essex.ac.uk (Colchester) or hscadmit-se@essex.ac.uk (Southend) soon as possible but at least one week prior to your interview.

My course requires an English and or Maths test.  What do I need to revise?


The literacy test will assess your reading and writing skills.  A variety of questions will cover the following areas:


  • Spelling
  • Grammar and syntax
  • Presenting information in a logical sequence
  • Vocabulary
  • Punctuation
  • Common prefixes
  • Free writing


  • Proofreading
  • Comprehension
  • Fact or opinion?


The numeracy test will assess your ability to apply number, to use measurements and to handle data. Calculators can be used. You will be given a total of 45 minutes in which to complete both tests. Question topics will include:


  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages -  calculations, conversions and equivalencies


  • Time, weight, distance, volume, money and conversion of units

Handling data

  • Extracting information from tables, diagrams, charts or graphs.

Feeling anxious about your numeracy or literacy skills? Don't worry, once you are here, we have lots of support in place. Hear more from Karen Hudson, our Literacy and Numeracy Tutor, by watching the video below. 

Does the university have practise tests I can do?

To help you prepare for our literacy and numeracy tests, we have a selection of resources for you to use:

University of Essex practice papers:

Please note the pass mark is only for this paper.

Literacy and numeracy practice tests:



Mobile apps

There are a number of apps that can help you to develop your literacy and numeracy skills. The following are all free to use. In-app purchases are possible, but are neither required nor endorsed by the University of Essex, and the University cannot answer any queries relating to their use.

  • Elevate
  • Learndirect