Undergraduate application information

How to apply and entry requirements

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Make it happen

Applying to Essex is straightforward. We make things as easy for you as possible, so you can get on with the important business of planning your Essex experience.

From starting your application, to visiting us if you can, finding out more and confirming your place, we will support you at every stage. 

When to apply

If you're applying for October 2020 entry, you can apply now. 

Below is some useful information to help complete your application.

How to apply

What is UCAS?

Applications for the majority of our courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), full details are listed with our courses. You make your application online via the UCAS Apply and Track service. UCAS charge a small fee for processing your application.

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.

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.

Entry requirements

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

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

Our typical offer will require you to achieve specific grades in three A-levels (or equivalent) for most courses, although we consider additional qualifications. For example, if your results fall short of the offer level by a small margin, your result in the Extended Project, a Core Maths qualification or an additional AS-level will be taken into account. We want you to stand the best chance of benefiting from an Essex Education.

We accept either General Studies or Critical Thinking as one of your three A-levels. We will also consider your application if you are re-taking one or more exams. This applies to students taking modular A-level examinations and those taking the reformed linear A-level examinations.

GCSE requirements

Our general entrance requirements are a minimum of two full A-levels and five GCSEs at grade C or above, including English, or equivalent. Some courses also have additional GCSE subject requirements which you’ll find on the relevant subject pages. If you don’t currently meet our GCSE requirements, contact our Admissions team for advice.

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 as an independent applicant.

If you are an international student, or an EU student applying to a Year 0 course, looking to apply only to the University of Essex and do not have a current UCAS application then you can use our direct application form.

Entry requirements

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. Contact our Admissions team for more information on specific qualifications. Up-to-date information is also available with our course information.

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 under Tier 4 of the UK Government’s Points Based Immigration System (PBIS).

We are required to ensure compliance with UK Home Office regulations as a Tier 4 Sponsor. In some circumstances, we may be unable to make an offer or issue a CAS if an applicant is unable to meet all Tier 4 requirements, including when there have been changes to these requirements made by the UK Home Office. Find out more about immigration and applying for a visa.

Find out more about immigration and applying for a visa.

If you're not applying directly from school

If you are a mature student or no longer at school or college, you can apply online through UCAS as an independent applicant. Also have a look at our UCAS information for mature students.

You need to show recent evidence of your ability to undertake degree-level work and the necessary study skills. Where there are course requirements, you will be asked to demonstrate an equivalent knowledge of the subject. We will also ask you to provide a reference from someone who is able to give a professional opinion based on recent knowledge about your ability to study at degree level.

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.

Information about English language requirements

You are required to have GCSE English at grade C 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 with our course information.

Contact our Admissions team for further information about these and other English language tests that we accept.

English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores:

English language courses

We offer full-time, pre-sessional English language courses which can be taken before your degree.

Your personal statement

During your UCAS application you'll be required to write a personal statement. This is your opportunity to impress us with your enthusiasm for your chosen subject, your previous experiences, and to explain why you’re so keen to study your course.

It’s often hard to know where to start when it comes to writing your personal statement, so we got together with our Admissions Selectors (the people who make the decisions!) and brainstormed some useful tips to help you out.

Take a look at our guidance on writing your personal statement.

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.

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 for transferred entry

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, we recommend emailing our Undergraduate Admissions Office with the following information before making an application:

  • 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.

One of our Admissions Advisers will reply to your email, confirming whether or not you would be eligible to make an application to transfer to the University of Essex. Please see information below about how to apply. 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. See link below for details of which courses / departments accept applications for second year and final year entry.

How to apply for transferred entry

If your Admissions Adviser confirms that you would be eligible to make an application to transfer, you should make your application through UCAS. Please note that all standard UCAS deadlines apply to transfer applications. 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.

Tier 4 students

If you require a Tier 4 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.

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 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 does't not 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 Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

  • Start date: September/October 2019 - deadline: 15 July 2019


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: ugad1@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).

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After you apply

Reviewing your application

Once we receive your application from UCAS it is considered by our Admissions Team. When making a decision on your application, we take into account a range of factors, including GCSE performance, AS-level results (if taken), subjects taken at A-level (or equivalent qualifications), predicted grades, your personal statement and your academic reference.

UCAS 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 Track.

Applicant days

If you're based in the UK, we'll invite you to an Applicant Day, which may include an interview (depending on your subject). This gives you the chance to meet members of staff and students, and have a look around the University. If you're not resident in the UK but would like to visit our campuses, we would love to show you around. Alternatively, you can take a look online at our 360° campus tours.

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 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.


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

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.


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.

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.

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)

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