Changing your degree course

Adding a year abroad to your degree

If you wish to add a year abroad to your studies you should request this by the end of the Autumn Term of your second year.  Do check that you meet the eligibility criteria listed below.  If you have any queries please check with the Essex Abroad team. Once you have added a year abroad to your studies you must inform Student Finance England.

Term abroad

If you are interested in undertaking a term abroad you would study abroad in the autumn term of your final year. You must meet the study abroad eligibility criteria listed below. The term abroad is only currently available to students from the following departments - History, Interdisciplinary Studies Centre, American (US) Studies, Liberal Arts, Philosophy, Art History, Psychology and East 15.

Key information for term-abroad students

  • Students who study abroad for a term are required to take modules that are similar to modules that will be missed in the autumn term and also to complete a Special Syllabus Request form which needs to be approved by their DSAO (Department Study Abroad Officer) and Dean of Faculty
  • Students are required to pay full fees to Essex for the term away (none to be paid to the host university abroad)
  • All modules undertaken will count towards the term mark
  • Students must take the full credit load
  • The term-abroad mark will count for 50% of the students’ final-year mark. The final-year mark is 60% of the total degree outcome, so a strong academic outcome from the term abroad is essential
  • Campus accommodation at Essex is not guaranteed for students on their return in January
  • Students can only study at a partner university whose first term ends in December – i.e. not Europe

Removing a year abroad from your degree

If you wish to remove a year of study abroad you need to submit an online change of course request. You must inform Student Finance England of your change of course. You may wish to consider taking part in one of our short term programmes which usually take place over the summer months. These range in duration, cost and location and are a great opportunity to gain an international experience.

Study abroad eligibility criteria

Minimum of 50% average in Year 1

You need to achieve at least a 50% average Year 1 mark in order to be eligible for the Study Abroad programme.

Study abroad places are competitively allocated based on your 1st year mark (after those students on a compulsory degree such as American Studies or Modern Language), so the higher your mark, the higher your chance of securing a place at your preferred university.

We'd strongly recommend attending our briefings in the Autumn term to learn more about the application and allocation process.

You are allowed to carry maximum of 30 credit non-core fails 

You cannot fail a core module in Year 1 or Year 2.

If you fail a non-core module in your second year, there are several options for you.

  • If you fail your course-work, you will be allowed to undertake your re-assessment during the summer period.
  • If you fail your exam and your period of studies commences after the re-sit period (usually at the beginning of September), you will need to take your re-sits at Essex before going abroad.
  • If you fail your exam and your period of studies commences before the re-sit period (usually at the beginning of September), you may be allowed to defer your re-assessment (exam) until you come back from you year abroad (usually in September after completion of your year abroad). You may be also allowed to take your exam at a British Council exam centre.

Remember that you can fail a maximum 30 credits of non-core modules over both Year 1 and Year 2. If you fail over this amount, you will not be able to study abroad.

Read the rules of assessment for more information and come to speak to Essex Abroad office if you have any questions about this.

No serious academic and disciplinary offences (in Year 1 and Year 2)

Committing a disciplinary offence can affect your right to undertake a period of study abroad or affect the countries in which you are permitted to study. You may be prohibited from studying abroad if you have been convicted of a serious offence such as, but not limited to:

  • Conviction of a criminal offence
  • Using, selling or possessing within the University any controlled drug
  • Exhibiting threatening, intimidating or violent behaviour

Essex Abroad will liaise with the University of Essex Proctor with regards to offences which have been committed.

Students are required to inform Essex Abroad of any conduct matters arising since commencing their study at the University of Essex or that arise once they have applied for their year abroad.

Please refer to the Code of Student Conduct for more information and speak to Essex Abroad regarding any restrictions that may be imposed on you.

Academic offences such as plagiarism or false authorship are classed as a separate offence. Students who have committed an academic offence may have an impact that will lower their mark(s) and this may in turn affect their study abroad options as University allocations are actioned based on first year mark.

Language requirements

Although a small number of study abroad destinations require knowledge of another language, the majority don't. You don't have to be fluent in another language to study abroad. Most of our partner institutions offer modules which are taught in English. There is always the option to study the local language, either in extra-curricular language classes or even in for-credit modules. 

If you're studying a modern languages degree then you will have to take classes in local languages. This may also be a requirement for students of European studies or Latin American studies. You can check your language requirements with your Language Coordinator.

How to apply

For students applying to studying abroad in 2023-20234, applications will be open from Monday 21 November 2022 to Wednesday 11 January 2023 at 11:59pm.  Late applications won't be accepted.

Remember you must meet the eligibility criteria listed above including having a year abroad as part of your degree.  The deadline to add a year abroad to your degree is the end of the autumn team in your second year.  If you've missed this deadline and still want an international experience, please check our summer abroad webpages.

What do I need to do next?
  1. Research thoroughly - take advantage of our Exchange Finder, attend our briefings and talk to us for advice
  2. Book a 1-2-1 with a member of the Essex Abroad team if you need further guidance - please book a zoom call whilst we are working in a hybrid way.
  3. Meet with your DSAO when you have a good idea of up to five universities you wish to apply for - your DSAO must approve your choices
  4. Complete your online application (this will be emailed to you as a link when the application portal opens)
  5. In your application list up to five universities you wish to apply for in order of preference.

We understand that studying abroad is a big decision. Deciding where in the world you would like to go is an even bigger decision which should not be rushed.

Advice from Essex Abroad
  • Research well, make sure the universities and their locations will suit you and your lifestyle.
  • Go beyond borders! Don't limit yourself to applying to universities in just one country - there are so many places to explore and discover.
  • Only select universities you would really be willing to go to - it may sound obvious, but we don't want you to be disappointed - you should be happy to attend any university that you list as a preference.
  • Keep in mind that places are competitive and allocated based on first year average mark (after the compulsory degree students are allocated) - the higher your mark, the higher chance you have of securing your preferred university.
  • We strongly recommend that you attend the Autumn term briefings so you understand the application and allocation process.
  • Use the UK Government LGBTQ+ travel pages to help you plan your research and prepare.
Essex abroad
Find out more

We run lots of different sessions throughout the year to provide you with essential information about going abroad. From first year and second year briefings to funding chats and country low-downs, we've got it covered.

Get in touch
Essex Abroad You can visit us in person Monday to Friday at our office on Square 2, Colchester campus. We are open to students 11:00 - 13:00 and 14:00 - 15:00.  If you are based at Southend campus or want to chat to us outside of these times, then book a remote call using the link below.
Telephone: 01206 872632