Undergraduate Study

How to apply for an Undergraduate degree

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Impatient to find your purpose? 

We make things as easy for you as possible.

This page explains the application process, how to write your personal statement, how our entry requirements work and what happens you when you confirm your place at Essex. If you still have any questions after all this, not to worry, just get in touch and we can help!

Applications for 2023-24 entry 

Clearing 2023

Clearing is just around the corner so if you're thinking about using the Clearing process to start your journey with us this October now's the time to do some research and get prepared. You'll find advice, guidance and support on our Clearing pages with everything you need to know in one place. Plus there's the option to sign up for our Clearing emails with exclusive content to help you in the run up to Results Day.

Find out more about Clearing



Applications to UCAS are open for 2023-24 entry. Applications are made online via the UCAS Apply and UCAS Hub, where you will be charged a small fee for processing your application. Here you will be able to fill out your details, upload your personal statement, choose the universities you would like to apply for, and track your application status.


It’s important that you complete your application fully to give us all the information we need to make a decisions as quickly as possible. A few key things that we will need are:

  • Details of all qualifications, including those you may have not finished yet and any predicted grades
  • Your personal statement (we have some tips for this)
  • A suitable reference – if this is not provided or does not meet our requirements this may be a condition of any offer made and will be required before your place can be confirmed.

The UCAS code for Essex is ESSEX E70. Our individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively. There is no campus code for Colchester – please leave this blank in your application.

Submit your application

Reviewing your application

Once we receive your application it is considered by our Admissions Team. When making a decision on your application, we take into account your whole application - including your qualifications, personal statement and reference.

If you applied through UCAS, your UCAS Hub will officially inform you when a decision has been made on your application. You'll also receive information from us if we make you an offer. Once you've received a decision from all your choices, UCAS will ask you to accept one offer as your firm (first) choice and one offer as your insurance (second) choice via UCAS Hub.

If you applied via our Direct Admissions form you will receive all the information you need from us if we make you an offer via your myEssex applicant portal. You will need to follow the instructions provided in your offer letter to accept your offer.

Offer types

  • Conditional offer - you have been offered a place based on some conditions, these are usually your A-level results
  • Unconditional offer - you have been offered a place and have already met the entry requirements
  • Unsuccessful - you have not been offered a place
  • Withdrawn - Your course choice has been withdrawn either by your or the university, further reasoning for this will be shown on UCAS Hub.

Applicant days

Our Applicant Days are exclusive offer-holder events that give you the opportunity to tour our campus and accommodation, chat to current students and meet academic staff within your department to get a feel for your course. Once you become an offer-holder with us you will be invited to an Applicant Day.

Confirming your place

If your offer is conditional and you go on to meet the conditions specified in the offer, we'll confirm your place if you have accepted us as your firm or insurance choice. If your results don't quite meet the conditions, we may still confirm your place, but this depends on the results and the availability of places. If you don't meet the conditions of your offer and don't secure a place on your chosen course, you may be offered a Foundation option. Our decision is usually made within a few days, once we have received all the information we need, and you'll be notified by UCAS (if you applied through UCAS) and in your myEssex applicant portal.

Other information

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements are described on each of our course pages. The wide range of qualifications that we consider include:

  • A-levels
  • BTEC qualifications
  • T-Levels
  • CTEC qualifications
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma and Certificates
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diplomas
  • Open University courses
  • Practicing professional qualifications

If you have not already completed your qualifications, our typical offer will require you to achieve specific grades in three A-levels (or equivalent).  We are also happy to consider your application if you are taking a mixture of A-levels and BTECs, or qualifications other than A-levels. If your results fall short of the offer level by a small margin, your results in other qualifications such as the Extended Project, a Core Maths qualification or an additional AS-level may be taken into account. We want you to stand the best chance of benefiting from an Essex Education.

If you’re from outside the UK, we are more than happy to make offers based on EU and international qualifications that are considered equivalent to our standard A-level offer. Up-to-date information is also available on our course pages. Contact our Admissions team for more information on specific qualifications.

English language requirements

You are required to have GCSE English at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). If English isn’t your first language, you can demonstrate your level of English language by achieving a specified score in IELTS or another equivalent test that we accept. You don’t need to achieve this level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer. Our IELTS requirements are published on our course pages.

Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept:

English language courses

If you do not meet the IELTS requirements then you may be able to take a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to meet our English language requirements without retaking IELTS. These courses are delivered by the University of Essex International College.


What to include in your application

It’s important that you complete your application fully to give us all the information we need to make a decision as quickly as possible.  A few key things that we will need are:

  • Details of all qualifications, including those you may have not finished yet and any predicted grades.
  • Your personal statement (we have some tips for this here!)
  • A suitable reference. If this is not provided or does not meet our requirements this may be a condition of any offer made and will be required before your place can be confirmed.

Applying as a UK student in school or college

If you are a UK student and still at school or college, you can apply through your school. Your careers advisor or teacher can check and submit your completed application to UCAS.

Applying as an EU or international student

If you are an EU or international student, it may be possible to apply through your school or college but this is not common practice. You can apply online through UCAS or via our Direct Admissions form as an independent applicant.

Immigration and applying for a visa

If you’re applying from outside the European Economic Area and require a visa to study in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a Student Visa under the UK Government’s Points Based Immigration System (PBIS). We are required to ensure compliance with Home Office regulations as a Student Visa Sponsor. In order to apply for your visa you will require the University to issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS). In some circumstances, we may be unable to make an offer or issue a CAS if an applicant is unable to meet all Student Visa requirements, including when there have been changes to these requirements made by the Home Office. Find out more about immigration and applying for a visa.

If you're not applying directly from school or college

If you are a mature student (aged 21 or over) or no longer at school or college, you can apply online through UCAS or via our Direct Admissions form as an independent applicant. You may also find this UCAS information for mature students useful.

You need to show evidence of your ability to undertake degree-level work and the necessary study skills. If you have not had any formal education for a period of time you may need to undertake a preparatory course before joining us, or you might be able to join us on a Year 0 pathway. 

If you are made an offer to study at Essex we will need to see evidence of your qualifications before you can register.  If you took your qualifications some time ago or have misplaced your certificates, there is some useful information online about what to do if you don’t have copies of old exam certificates or you may wish to contact your school/college to obtain evidence of your qualifications. 

Transferring to Essex from another university

If you are currently studying at another university, either in the UK or elsewhere, and it’s not working out, you may be considering transferring to the University of Essex. Not all of our courses can accept second or final year applicants, please see the link below for details of which courses / departments accept applications for second year and final year entry.

We welcome enquiries and applications to transfer to the University of Essex and recommend that you read the guidance below before making an application.

Before applying to Essex from another university 

Transferring to another institution is a big decision, and can take time to complete. We would recommend speaking with someone at your current university (such as your personal tutor, supervisor or academic support services) who can provide advice and guidance on the possibility of transferring.

You should also discuss with them the impact that a transfer might have on your funding or visa arrangements.

If you decide that you wish to transfer to the University of Essex, information about how to apply is below.  If you wish to contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office before applying to check your eligibility please provide the following information:

  • the course you are interested in transferring to;
  • the point of entry that you wish to transfer into (for example second or final year);
  • details of your  A-level and GCSE qualifications (or equivalent);
  • for transfers into the second or final year – please provide a full list of modules that you have completed, or are completing, in your current university study. If this has already been completed, you should provide a copy of your results transcript;
  • a copy of your English language qualification, if you are not a first language English speaker;
  • confirm in your email whether or not you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

A final decision will not be made on your application to transfer until your application has been received and all sections of the application reviewed in full.

Please note that you will only be eligible to transfer into the second or final year of study at the University of Essex if you have studied the pre-requisite course modules in your current university, and have passed these at the required level.

How to apply

If your Admissions Adviser confirms that you would be eligible to make an application to transfer, you should make your application through UCAS or our Direct Admissions form. Please note that all UCAS deadlines apply to transfer applications, and some courses may have earlier deadlines to apply. Upon receipt of your application, the relevant department may invite you to interview and will assess your suitability for transfer to the University of Essex.

Visa students

If you require a student visa to study in the UK, the above information will apply. However, in addition, we will consider whether you would be able to meet all Home Office requirements when determining whether or not you are eligible to transfer to the University of Essex.

Transferring from a partner institution

You may be looking to transfer to the University of Essex from a partner institution in the EU or overseas under one of our link agreements, which support the admissions of students to study with us through progression arrangements. You should make your application through UCAS or our Direct Admissions form and we will take the link agreement into consideration when assessing your application.

Transferring credit for individual modules

If you wish to transfer credits for individual modules from your current or previous university study or work experience, you should discuss the matter with the relevant Admissions Office in the first instance. Your request may be considered under the University’s Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning – AP(E)L procedure. This procedure may need to be completed in addition to submitting a standard application to transfer to the University of Essex.

Please refer to the University’s AP(E)L policy (.pdf) and procedure for further information.


If you previously started but did not finish a degree course at Essex and are now thinking about coming back to complete your studies, we call this ‘readmission’ and there is a different application route in place.

This procedure doesn't apply to:

  • students who want to be admitted to study at a higher level after having successfully completed an award at a lower level
  • students who have successfully completed a degree and want to start another degree in a different subject area

Readmission policy

It is our policy, and part of national HESA rules, that you cannot normally be considered for readmission to the same programme from which you have been required to withdraw, or a similar programme which contained modules you have already taken, for a minimum of two years after you left (with the exception of students who have been required to withdraw for debt).

You can be considered for immediate readmission to a completely different area of study if there are good reasons to indicate that you chose the wrong course originally and there was evidence that you could be successful in a new area. This is subject to the University’s rules relating to the maximum period of study.

How to apply for readmission

In order for your request to be considered, please complete the application form for former undergraduate students. Please ensure that you select ‘Yes’ to 'Have you ever registered for a course at the University of Essex before?’

Supporting documents

Your personal statement should cover the reasons why you wish to be readmitted; what you have been doing since leaving Essex; and why you believe you will be successful if you return to your studies at Essex. If you have studied elsewhere since leaving Essex, please give full details of the course(s) you studied and the dates of your study.

If you are a recent Essex student and you have not studied elsewhere since leaving Essex, then you will not need to supply a new reference with your application.


The deadlines for the submission of a readmission request are set well in advance of the relevant course start date, as the process can be a lengthy one, especially if a student requires a Student visa to study in the UK.

  • Start date: September/October 2023 - deadline: 15 July 2023


Your application will be considered by several departments within the University, so please don’t be concerned if you don’t hear from us immediately. Depending on your case, it may be a number of weeks before you receive a decision. If you have any concerns about the progress of your readmission request please contact: readmission@essex.ac.uk

Complaints against decisions

There is no right of appeal against selection decisions made by the University, including decisions about readmission. Complaints will normally be considered to be valid only where there is evidence of procedural irregularity. In the event that you are dissatisfied with the University’s readmissions process, you can submit a complaint in line with the Complaints policy for applicants (.pdf).


The Undergraduate Admissions Feedback Policy provides information on how to request feedback if your undergraduate application is unsuccessful. Please note that feedback is not available for all undergraduate courses, and this is explained within the Policy.

Other things to consider

Contextual offers

Essex welcomes and encourages applications from applicants with a diverse educational background and considers many qualifications alongside students’ previous experience and potential. While we do not make contextual offers, we encourage applicants to make our Admissions Team aware of any extenuating circumstances so that these can be considered alongside their results where relevant.

To find out more about how we are supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds to access the University of Essex, please read our information for schools and colleges and information about access and partipation.

Deferred entry

The majority of our courses enable you to take a gap year. You can apply in the normal way, but you should indicate that you would like to apply for deferred entry on your application. Applications for deferred entry will be considered on the same basis as those for entry in the current application year. If you are made a conditional offer, you will need to meet the conditions of your offer in the academic year which you apply, ie the year before you would start your course. If after you have accepted your offer you wish to defer your place, please confirm this in writing via email to the admissions adviser named on your offer letter.

DBS and occupational health checks

Some courses require you to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS), when working with children and/or vulnerable adults, and a Occupational Health Check. Further information about DBS checks and the courses where this may be required is available online

Extenuating circumstances 

We understand that sometimes circumstances beyond your control may have impacted your studies.  The Admissions Selector may take into account any extenuating circumstances which have affected an individual applicant when deciding whether an offer should be made, or if an applicant’s place may still be confirmed where exam results miss the entry requirement. 

We will automatically consider information provided within the personal statement and reference about any extenuating circumstances which may have affected your academic performance. If you wish to inform us of any extenuating circumstances not disclosed in your application, such as illness or any other serious difficulties during examinations, these should be emailed to admit@essex.ac.uk or the Undergraduate Admissions Adviser named on your offer letter. You should inform us of any extenuating circumstances as soon as possible and before your final results are issued, or at the point of submitting your application if you are applying through Clearing.  If further information or evidence is required regarding any extenuating circumstances before a decision can be made, we will contact you at the point at which you have all of your results and any other conditions have been met.  Please note any extenuating circumstances provided should only be those not already considered by an examination board prior to your results being issued. 

Disability and health

When you apply you can declare whether you have a disability or health issues so we can provide support. We have a team of disability and wellbeing advisers, dyslexia tutors, and other specialist staff. Declaring a disability or health issue will not form part of our decision making and we are dedicated to offering equal opportunities to all. Further information about the support available at Essex is available via the Student Services Hub.

Reform of UK qualifications

For information about the reform of UK qualifications please have a look at our statement.

Accreditation of prior (experiential) learning (AP(E)L)

Policy and procedure for the accreditation of prior (experiential) learning (AP(E)L)

Under 18's

If you will be under 18 at the point of entry you will be required to complete an under 18 form as part of your offer conditions and will need to provide details of a UK-based emergency contact aged over 21. If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK and will be 18 at the point of entry but will be under 18 at the point of a CAS being issued you will still need to complete our under 18 form.

Further details for applicants who will be under 18 at the point of entry to the University are available on our Undergraduate Admissions Policy and on this webpage.  Offers cannot be made to applicants who will be under 16 at the point of starting their degree.

Why apply to Essex for 2023-entry?

Going to university is said to be the best years of your life. So, we understand that choosing the right university isn’t an easy task. To make things simpler, we’ve highlighted just some of the reasons the University of Essex is the best choice. The rest we’ll leave as a surprise to discover for yourself. 

At Essex, students and graduates have always been committed to making change, both big and small. Challenging the norm is not just encouraged, it’s expected. When you’re a member of the University of Essex, you will have the freedom to challenge, the confidence to speak out and the courage to share your ideas. This is one of the reasons why we’re rated in the UK’s top 40 universities by The Complete University Guide, 2023. 

Research quality 
We are dedicated to delivering quality research. Our mission, initiated in 1963 by our founder Sir Albert Sloman, is to pursue “research that really matters.” To this day our students and staff produce award-winning research, consistently placing the University of Essex in the UK's top 25 for research quality (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022). 

Study abroad Why just gain academic knowledge when you can broaden your cultural experiences too? Satisfy your wanderlust by taking a study abroad year at one of our 150 partner institutions. Study in Asia, Europe, Africa, North or South America at no extra cost. Graduate with a new perspective. 

Learn a new language 

Learn a new language and graduate with a new skill from ‘Languages for All’. An award-winning programme which gives Essex students the opportunity to learn a language alongside their degree, at no extra cost. Gain a competitive edge in the job market and stand out with your bilingual abilities. Choose a year course in Spanish, French or German. Depending on your campus there are additional study options including Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese or Russian. 

Truly international

We’re proud of our diverse student community. With our students representing over 130 countries, we really have the world in one place. Embrace yourself in different cultures and join one of the top 25 universities for international outlook. (Times Higher Education, World University Rankings 2022). 

Employability courses for all

Analysing data is an increasing necessity across all industries. As more businesses depend on digital programs, the ability to analyse data and find useful solutions will be a desirable skill on any job application. That’s why Essex offers every student a 10-day Data Science course at no extra cost. 

Undergraduate Admissions
Want to know more? If you have any specific questions, please email our friendly admissions team.