What to consider if you're thinking of changing course

If you are considering changing course, there are some practical things that you need to consider before you change your course. There is different information for postgraduate research students.

Research your options

You should discuss your thoughts about changing course with someone in your school/department/centre. If your new course is in a different department, you should also speak to someone in that department.

Investigate your potential new course by looking at the course information, talking to students on the course and speaking to tutors. You should also look at our Rules of Assessment for the new course to check whether there are any course-specific requirements.

Academic concerns

If you are considering changing course due to academic worries with your current course you might find it useful to seek academic support before changing course.


Student Finance

These notes are for general guidance only and the information which is based on the Student Support Regulations, is subject to amendment from time to time.

If you are in receipt of a tuition fee loan to pay your tuition fees and you wish to change to another course, please note that it is your responsibility to check that your funding will remain in place after the change.

The University does not check your funding eligibility for you when considering a voluntary request to change course, or when a Board of Examiners suggests that you change to a different course as part of your academic progress.

Your funding may be affected if:

  • the duration of your preferred course is longer or shorter than your current one;
  • you would be starting your preferred course from the beginning, after already being partway through your current course;
  • you wish to change to a different course at another institution;
  • you have used your gift year from Student Finance England already
  • you had previous Higher education studies prior to starting your course at the University of Essex

This list is not exhaustive, and if you transfer to a course for which Student Finance England will not provide funding for, you will become personally liable for your own tuition fees.

It is therefore essential that you contact Student Finance England to find out whether your funding would be affected if you change to a different course at the University of Essex, or wish to move to another institution.

If you change to another course at the University of Essex, Student Finance will require written confirmation from the University that an internal transfer has been approved on academic grounds the day before the start of the second year of the original course. It will not normally be possible for an academic transfer to be approved if you have been required to withdraw from the University, or if both courses have the same JACS code. Please note that Student Finance may be unwilling to transfer your award if you have been required to withdraw from your original course of study.

If you are transferring to another institution, your new institution is responsible for giving Student Finance confirmation that your external transfer has been approved on academic grounds.


If you are an overseas student transferring from a classroom-based course to a laboratory-based course, the tuition fee will be considerably higher than you currently pay as these courses involve much higher costs. 

For UK and EU students all courses have the same tuition fee amount.

Find out more and get advice about funding or contact the Student Services Hub.

Support arrangements

If you have specific support arrangements in place you will need to notify your Student Services Hub of your course change. Your hub may need to contact your new department to arrange the support you require.

Sponsored students (student visa)

Your student visa allows you to study the Essex course detailed on your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies), changes to your course may have to be reported to the Home Office and in some cases a new student visa is required.

If your department are happy to agree to your change of course request, our International Services team will check it is allowed within the Student Immigration Rules and guidance will be included within the email you receive confirming the outcome of your request. Please read our immigration and visas pages to find out more about the impact changes to your course can have on your student immigration permission.

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.