Undergraduate application information

Applying to Essex

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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 through UCAS and writing your personal statement, to attending your Applicant Day and confirming your place, we will support you at every stage.

When to apply

If you're applying from the UK or EU for October 2019 entry, you should send your application to UCAS by 15 January 2019, although we normally consider applications after this date, subject to the availability of places on the relevant course. If you live outside the EU, you should aim to send your application to UCAS by 30 June 2019.



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 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.

If you're not applying directly from school

If you are not applying directly from school or college then 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 an academic 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.

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 here.

Applying as a school or college leaver or as a mature student

If you are a mature student or no longer at school or college, then you can apply online through UCAS as an independent applicant.

Also have a look at the UCAS information for mature students.

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 here.

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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.

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.

Second-year entry

We're happy to consider applications for entry to the second year of study for most of our courses. For direct entry to the second year, we would normally expect you to achieve at least 55-60% overall in your first year modules of a comparable course at another institution. Contact our Undergraduate Admissions Office for further information at admit@essex.ac.uk


Some courses require you to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS), when working with children and/or vulnerable adults, and a Work Health Assessment.

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.

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