Study Abroad

Impact of Covid-19

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Incoming Study Abroad Students 2020-21

We are in unprecedented times and the University is responding to a fast-moving global problem.

From the start of the pandemic, our primary concern has been and continues to be the health and wellbeing of our students and staff. All arrangements we are putting in place and decisions we are making are designed to minimise the spread and impact of the COVID-19 virus while ensuring that students can continue and complete their programmes of study.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to the University of Essex this Autumn and want to make the application process as smooth as possible. Below are a few of our most commonly received question areas, and their answers. 

Modules and course selection

The module list for the academic year 2020-21 will be available by the end of June 2020.

In order to complete your application form, please choose modules from the 2019-20 Module Directory as closely related to the ones you would like to study next year. Once the module list for the upcoming academic year has been released, we will be in contact with you to explain how to officially choose your modules for your stay here at Essex.

All modules selected for 2020-21 will require approval by a Departmental Study Abroad Officer (DSAO). Please note that some modules will have pre-requisite requirements. Further information on this will be included in the communication sent out with the module list for 2020-21. Please note that the exact modules chosen in your application form may not be available to take in 2020-21. You will have an opportunity to make changes upon your arrival at the University of Essex.

Language proficiency evidence

We are aware that due to the current global situation, obtaining your TOEFL certificate (or equivalent) is proving to be more difficult than usual. However, evidence of your language proficiency will still be required in order to participate in the exchange programme and you will need to have achieved a minimum level of B2 (or equivalent).

We would recommend completing your application form to the best of your ability and informing us if you have not yet been able to obtain your certificate. We will then be able to provide further advice and guidance in due course. Please note that we may ask for confirmation from your home institution as a place holder whilst you await your official certificate.

Please refer to the university guidelines on English language requirements, for students who require a TIER 4 visa (.pdf) or EU/EEA/Non-Tier 4 applicants (.pdf).

Students with the following nationalities do not need to provide proof of English language ability as English is an official language of the countries listed.

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

If you are not a citizen of any of the countries above, you may need to submit an English language certificate.

If the language of tuition at your home university is English, you will not need to provide a language certificate. However, you will be required to provide evidence to prove this.


The International Services Team has recommended that you submit your application form for Essex Abroad with the passport or identity card details you currently have. The Essex Abroad team can then provide further advice closer to your start date, when hopefully you will have been able to update your documents.

If you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for your Tier 4 visa, you are not eligible to apply for your visa until early July 2020. Due to the uncertainties of the current global situation and the continual changes COVID-19 is causing, it is too early to provide any concrete guidance on this at present, but further details will be communicated as they become available. Please refer to our International Services pages for up to date information.

It is currently not necessary for EU nationals to have a passport to travel to the UK (as you can use either an ID card or passport), but this may change over the coming months, particularly after 31 December 2020, and it may become a requirement to have a passport. Please consider obtaining a passport in advance of your course at Essex just in case this will be required from next year, but this is up to you. We would expect the UK government to give students adequate notice if this is to become a requirement. As a result of COVID-19 many passport authorities are closed, so it may not be possible to obtain a passport at the moment. There is still plenty of time however before your course starts at Essex and for you to obtain a passport later, assuming passport services resume as planned in the coming weeks.


It is not currently possible for you to apply for university accommodation. Once you have been offered a place at Essex and you have accepted, we will contact you with the accommodation options available to you. University accommodation may be available; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. If University accommodation isn't available, or it's just not for you, you may wish to find off-campus accommodation in the local area through SU Homes.


If you are required to self-isolate upon your arrival at the University of Essex, you will be able to do so in your accommodation. The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service will be notified of your requirement, and will then contact you to put in additional measures that are required to aid your self-isolation. There will also be a number of practical measures put in place in University accommodation, including kitchen rotas and rubbish disposal rotas, which will help with social distancing within the University flats if necessary.

Please note, if restrictions are in place which mean you are required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, the University of Essex will be supplying up to two weeks of accommodation, free-of-charge. At the point the University starts to provide students with their allocated accommodation, you will be asked if you would like to arrive early and use these two weeks of free accommodation. 

Teaching during Autumn 2020-21

At this moment in time, we are planning to welcome you to our campus this Autumn ahead of the upcoming academic year. Of course, the current situation is ever changing and calls for constant adaptability and flexibility, and our Academic Registrar has outlined our approach to ‘dual delivery’ to provide flexibility in how you learn.  Further details can be found on the University’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus) webpage for students

Get in touch
Get in touch
Essex Abroad Get in touch with our incoming team. We are currently working remotely, but can be contacted between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday