University of Essex

2014 League Table Ranking 39
2014 Overall Score 720
View the 2014 league tables
Entry Standards 335 Help
Entry Standards
The average UCAS tariff score of new students entering the University.

Click here to read more

Student-Staff Ratio 16.4 Help
Student-Staff Ratio
The average staffing levels at the University.

Click here to read more

Research Assessment 2.77 Help
Research Assessment
The average quality of the research undertaken in the University.

Click here to read more

Academic Services Spend 1,041 Help
Academic Services Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting services such as libraries and IT.

Click here to read more

Student Satisfaction 4.03 Help
Student Satisfaction
A guide to how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive.

Click here to read more

Facilities Spend 688 Help
Facilities Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting facilities such as the careers service, health and counselling services and sport facilities.

Click here to read more

Graduate Prospects 56.8 Help
Graduate Prospects
A guide to the employability of graduates on completion of their courses at the University.

Click here to read more

Degree Completion 85.7 Help
Degree Completion
The proportion of students expected to successfully complete their studies and gain a degree from the University.

Click here to read more

Good Honours 60.7 Help
Good Honours
The percentage of graduates achieving a first or upper second class honours degree – the class of degree achieved can impact a graduate’s employment prospects.

Click here to read more

Green Score 33.0 Help
Green Score
This environmental & ethical ranking of the University is provided courtesy of the People & Planet Green League - the only comprehensive and independent green ranking of every UK university. Choosing a greener university can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your job prospects in a global low-carbon economy.

Click here to read more


  • The University of Essex was granted its Royal Charter in 1965. We celebrate five decades of achievement, and look to the future, in our 50th anniversary year, 2014-15.
  • Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions with an international reputation excellence in both research and teaching, particularly in the social sciences.
  • From the outset, Essex has embedded internationalisation in its foundation – both through student and staff body and academic programmes offered.
  • Essex was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize: Human Rights (2010) and the Queen’s awards for enterprise: Sustainable Development (2008).
  • In 2012 Essex was ranked in the top 50 in the world for universities under 50 years old.
  • The University’s largest campus, on the edge of Colchester, is set in historic Wivenhoe Park which was originally landscaped in the eighteenth century and painted by celebrated artist, John Constable.

Notable alumni

  • The Rt Hon John Bercow MP – Speaker of the House of Commons.
  • Christopher Pissarides – Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and winner of 2010 Nobel Economic Prize.
  • Dr Oscar Arias Sanchez – Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Costa Rica.
  • Daniel Libeskind – world-renowned architect and master-planner for the new World Trade Centre site in New York.
  • David Yates, BAFTA–award-winning film and television director, and director of the Harry Potter films.
  • Baroness Virginia Bottomley – former Secretary of State for Health and for National Heritage.
  • Blake Harrison – Neil from The Inbetweeners and graduate of East 15.

Location and transport

  • Our Colchester Campus is set in 200 acres of beautiful parkland on the outskirts of Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town and former Roman capital. Our Colchester Campus is built around five compact and bustling, inter-linked squares. This encourages our academics from different departments to work together, nurturing the interdisciplinary nature of our teaching and research.
  • Transport links to Colchester are excellent, with a good road (A12) and several train stations (Colchester mainline station is just 50 minutes from central London, with trains up to every 15 minutes). Both Stansted and Southend airports, as well as the ferry port of Harwich, are nearby
  • Southend Campus, adjacent to the Southend Central railway station and Southend High Street, is our new multi-million pound campus.
  • Transport links to Southend are also strong, with train journey times to London taking 50 minutes, and Stansted and Gatwick airports just over an hour away. Southend airport is just three miles from our Southend Campus, with a range of flights to European destinations.
  • Loughton Campus is the home of East 15 Acting School and is a five-minute walk from the nearest London Underground station, Debden, at the east end of the Central Line and 35 minutes by tube, from Liverpool Street.

Entry standards

  • Essex’s general entry requirement are A levels and a range of other qualifications that we regard as equivalent.
  • Our offers are generally expressed in the form of three A level grades, although some specific subjects do identify individual course requirements.
  • All our schools, departments and centre accept either A level General Studies or A level Critical Thinking as one of your three A levels.
  • Essex accepts applicants with non-standard qualifications.

Student mix

  • 12,074 students across all three campuses: 8,760 undergraduates and 3,314 postgraduates.
  • 3,100 international students, with over 135 nationalities represented.
  • Roughly 50/50 men and women.
  • Applications to places ratio ranges greatly from course to course.

Course flexibility

  • Essex champions research-led teaching as part of our commitment to excellence in education. Our combination of traditional teaching methods and state-of-the-art learning technology enables our students to take their learning to a new level.
  • We offer a broad first year with opportunities to try new subjects that you may not have encountered before. This means you can enhance your common core first-year modules with a wide choice of options. In subsequent years you have the chance to tailor your course to suit your own developing interests.
  • We offer a range of undergraduate courses that allow you to combine the study of two or three subjects to ensure that you can gain from the benefits of interdisciplinary study.
  • Essex Abroad supports our students in studying, working or volunteering abroad. Most of our courses include an option to spend your third year abroad, and no tuition fee is charged for this opportunity as it enriches learning and widens your career prospects.
  • Our students are given a chance to change degree scheme at end of first year.
  • Essex students can expect to attend a mixture of lectures, classes, seminars, laboratory practicals and field trips, depending on the subject area. Our teaching focuses on both subject knowledge and the important skills sought by employers.
  • Our broad subject areas include: accounting, finance and banking; acting and theatre studies; actuarial science; American (US) studies; art history; biochemistry; biology and ecology; biomedical sciences; business and management; computational finance; computer science; creative writing; criminology; drama; economics and econometrics; electronic engineering and telecommunications; English language; English language teaching; European studies; film studies; health and human sciences; history; hospitality; human rights; Latin American studies; law; liberal arts; linguistics; literature; marketing and entrepreneurship; mathematical sciences; modern languages; nursing; occupational therapy; oral health sciences; philosophy; physiotherapy; politics and international relations; psychoanalytic studies; psychology; sociology; speech and language therapy; sports and exercise science.

Teaching standards

  • Another strong performance in the National Student Survey saw ranked Essex 17th in England for overall student satisfaction in 2012, with 89 per cent of students expressing overall satisfaction with their course.
  • Half of our schools, departments and centres that were covered by the National Student Survey achieved overall satisfaction of 90 per cent or higher. This includes Psychoanalytic Studies achieving 100 per cent, our History achieving 97 per cent and Government and Language and Linguistics each achieving 94 per cent.
  • In addition, our School of Health and Human Sciences was ranked 8th in England for nursing, with 91 per cent overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2012.
  • Our Languages for All programme gives all students the chance to learn a modern foreign language at no extra cost alongside their studies.

Research standards

  • Essex was ranked ninth in the UK for the outstanding quality of our research in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008). The results of the RAE showed that 93 per cent of our research activity is rated as ‘internationally recognised’ and 22 per cent as 'world leading'.
  • The RAE re-confirmed Essex’s position as the UK’s leading social science university, with politics and sociology top, economics third and linguistics fourth.
  • Essex also scored highly in other fields in the RAE, featuring in the UK’s top ten for more than half of our 14 submitted subject areas. This included being second in the UK for history and for accounting and finance, ninth for art history and tenth for philosophy.
  • In 2013, Essex’s Department of Government was awarded the only Regius Professorship in Political Science in the UK, marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and recognising our outstanding achievements over the last 50 years.
  • Essex houses several major Economic and Social Research Council funded projects: the UK Data Archive (the largest depository of computer retrievable information outside the USA) and the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER). ISER runs Understanding Society

Academic strengths

  • In 2012 Essex was ranked in the top 50 in the world for universities under 50 years old.
  • Essex was ranked ninth in the UK for research excellence in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008), a ranking that re-confirmed our position as the UK’s leading social science university, with politics and sociology top, economics third and linguistics fourth.
  • Essex also scored highly in other fields in the RAE. This included being second in the UK for history and for accounting and finance, ninth for art history and tenth for philosophy.
  • Essex houses one of just 21 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This allows us to offer fully-funded ESRC studentships, across numerous doctoral pathways, and cements our long standing reputation as a world-class centre for social science research.
  • Essex courses in biomedical science are accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science, resulting in accelerated career progression within the NHS for our graduates.
  • Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering was ranked amongst top organisations in the world in artificial intelligence, based on citation counts in last five years, placing us 33rd above Cornell University, California Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge (Microsoft Academic Research, December 2011).
  • Drama students at Essex make good use of our Colchester Campus Lakeside Theatre, so work with an extensive range of notable freelance practitioners.
  • Film studies students at Essex can use our brand new, fully-equipped media production facilities, which includes late night access for students.
  • Oral health science courses at Essex have a 100 per cent success rate in employability for students upon graduation.
  • Essex’s Human Rights Centre was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2010, recognising our work in advancing human rights across the globe.
  • Our School of Law offers qualifying law degrees that enable our graduates to progress to the professional stage of training to become a barrister or solicitor.
  • Undergraduate courses within our Department of Psychology are fully accredited by the British Psychological Society. This means graduates with a second-class honours degree or above are eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) which is essential if you wish to practise as a chartered psychologist in areas such as clinical, educational or forensic psychology.
  • Undergraduate courses offered by our Centre for Sports and Exercise Science are endorsed by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. All our graduates are eligible to be listed on the Skills Active register of exercise professionals.

Student facilities, including library and computing

  • Students have access to a wide range of resources and facilities to help them during their studies. A network of professional student services offers information, advice, practical help and specialist resources to enable all students to take full advantage of the opportunities offered at undergraduate level.
  • We provide access to computer facilities in our library and numerous open access laboratories. This includes over 650 PCs at our Colchester Campus, and more than 130 at our Southend Campus.
  • Over six floors, our library provides a congenial atmosphere for study, containing e-resources, research resources (including thesis binding), specialist materials and more then 1.7 million books, pamphlets, e-publications and microfilms. It has long opening hours, a total of 84 hours over seven days a week during term-time and a twenty-four hour reading room.
  • Our library contains short loan and students collections for books in high demand – 34,000 extra copies in all.
  • We offer vibrant social spaces where students can work on projects in groups, with interactive boards and a coffee by their side.
  • Our extensive online study support and resources includes our myEssex student portal that provides a personalised online dashboard for each student with specific information relating to living and learning at Essex and our Course Material Repository (CMR) that houses all course-related materials for our students.
  • Our 'Listen Again' service makes MP3 recordings of all lectures. This allows you to improve your understanding of your subject area and can aid revision, allowing you to revise at a time and a place that is most convenient to you.
  • Our Employability and Careers Centre has been shortlisted in the National Placement and Internship Awards 2013, for outstanding work to support students achieve their aspirations.
  • Our Big Essex Employability Award helps you promote the skills you have gained through volunteering, work experience and many other activities to employers, and have these recorded on your degree transcript.
  • Our Internships Team help you find paid work experience with external employers, both during your studies and for up to three years after graduation. Internships can be part-time while you study, or full-time outside of term and on graduation, and vary from six weeks to 12 months.
  • Our Essex CV pack takes you through the CV-writing process form beginning to end, helping you get the best start in the graduate job market and capitalise on your experiences at Essex.
  • Our pre-sessional language programmes enhance your English language proficiency and use of English for academic purposes. In addition, our in-sessional programmes offer free English support classes for students taking a full-time academic course.
  • Our University Skills Centre has a learning resource room open to all students as a reference and lending library, and as a relaxed place to study. You can also book one-to-one sessions with our team of expert study skills advisers to help you with a wide range of study skills including: managing reading lists; improving note-taking; planning essays; increasing academic style; referencing and bibliographies; help with seminar presentations; and advice on English language support.
  • We are the only UK university to have our own theatre at each of our three campuses. We are also home to a renowned art gallery and an internationally important collection of art from Latin America.

Disability services

  • Essex has a strong tradition of encouraging and supporting disabled students, including those with mental health or specific learning difficulties. We are committed to creating an accessible and enabling environment.
  • Our provision includes: advice on Disabled Students’ Allowance, assistance booking needs assessment, study strategies mentoring, learning support (e.g. note-takers), individual exam arrangements and allocation of accessible accommodation.
  • Applicants are encouraged to contact our Disability Team, within Student Support, to discuss individual needs and access requirements.

Students' union

  • Alongside academic studies, Essex students can get involved in activities to improve their CV, their student experience and the world around them! These range from 165 active sports clubs and societies, arts and music events, and volunteering projects.
  • In addition, our Students’ Union has been awarded a prestigious Investors in People Gold Award and was one of only a handful of universities to receive an NUS Students’ Union Evaluation Initiative Award.
  • Bars and University nightclub, Sub Zero,with a 1,000-plus capacity.
  • Our Students’ Union vTeam offers hundreds of great ways to volunteer and get involved in the campus and community life that will stretch and develop you. Over 700 students undertake voluntary work with our vTeam.
  • Our Students’ Union runs three award-winning media channels to broadcast that latest student news, opinion and entertainment. This includes our fortnightly newspaper, The Rabbit, our SX:TV channel and our radio station, RED Radio.
  • Our full calendar of events each term range from current music acts to themed nights. Recent guests include Florence and the Machine, Faithless, Zane Lowe, and Example, as well as club nights by the Ministry of Sound, Hed Kandi and BBC 1Xtra.
  • We run more than 165 clubs and societies, covering social, political, religious, cultural, arts and academic interests.
  • Our Students’ Union provides assistance throughout your time at Essex. Our network of student course representatives make sure you receive support at every stage of your studies, while our confidential Advice Centre offers free, impartial help. We also find students the perfect place to live in when they move out of University-provided accommodation with our SU lettings agency, Student Lets.
  • University nightclub Sub Zero won Best Student Venue in the UK in 2006.
  • Full calendar of events each term for students, ranging from current music acts to themed nights to buffets.
  • Over 150 different clubs and societies; range of services from academic support to volunteer opportunities, security minibus, newspaper, R:TV.


  • Essex runs over 45 sports clubs, covering familiar sports (such as football, rugby and hockey) to newer activities that you may not have tried before, like gliding, sub aqua and lacrosse. These are open to all levels of ability and costs are minimal.
  • In 2011-12, Essex was ranked 37 out of over 150 institutions in the national BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) league.
  • At our Colchester Campus, our £1.4-million sports centre includes a 130-station gym offering state-of-the-art fitness technology in light, spacious air-conditioned comfort, an 8m high climbing wall, three tennis courts, five glass-backed squash courts, an 18 hole Frisbee golf course, three trampolines, seven football and two rugby pitches, a flood-lit synthetic turf pitch, a grass cricket pitch plus an artificial cricket wicket and nets, and jogging and orienteering routes.
  • At our Southend Campus our new Evolve gym (opened July 2012) boasts state-of-the-art fitness equipment and an activity studio.
  • We run coaching courses through our SPACE (Sports Participation and Coaching Education) programme, which allows you to gain coaching and officiating experiences, as well as feeding into a number of local organisations to get hands-on coaching work.
  • Our Human Performance Unit provides sports and exercise science support, and laboratory and field testing, to a wide range of professional and amateur athletes.
  • To continue improving sporting performance, we employ a full-time Sports Development Officer to target specific clubs and individuals with the potential to excel.
  • Colchester Campus students have access to a range of water sports at nearby Brightlingsea.
  • At our Southend Campus we have an arrangement with Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre to provide sporting facilities, including badminton, five-a-side football, basketball, netball, tennis and table tennis.
  • Southend caters for a range of sporting activities and facilities are available for golf, tennis, cricket, fishing, swimming, cycling, football, rugby and many others. Seven miles of coastline offer water sports from sailing to kitesurfing, and the Southend Marine Activities Centre allows those on a budget to try their hand.
  • We offer sports scholarships to help talented student athletes to realise their potential while balancing academic study with the demands of elite sport.

Recent/prospective new builds

  • In 2010 we developed or opened new buildings at our Southend Campus. This included refurbishing our Clifftown Studios at our Southend Campus to include new theatrical space and opening our new student accommodation, University Square, featuring 561 rooms with many green and sustainable features.
  • At our Colchester Campus, we recently opened a new £5-million pound Teaching Centre offering high quality, modern teaching space (October 2010) and further improved student facilities with the development of the Limehouse, a state-of-the-art space with PC-equipped learning group pods and two new seminar rooms, and Fusion, an open wok-style Southeast Asian eatery (both 2012).
  • We are now forging ahead with developments costing more than £200 million in the run up to our 50th anniversary in 2014.
  • We have started building a new £21-million centre for student services and extending our Albert Sloman Library to enhance the student experience at our Colchester Campus. Due to open in 2014, this will include a one-stop-shop for accommodation, payments, registration and student welfare; an integrated learning centre for creative and group working; new IT facilities including touchdown access and new helpdesk; a state-of-the-art media centre; a 24-hour reading room; an archive and special collections book store; a 24-hour postgraduate study area; additional study spaces and library shelving; and an expanded student book collection.
  • Also due for completion in 2014, a new building that will house Essex Business School at our Colchester Campus is currently underway. Located next to our new Knowledge Gateway research park, this building will include sustainable design throughout, such as low and zero carbon technology, and feature a lecture theatre, teaching rooms, dedicated space for MBA students and facilities for flexible group learning and ICT.
  • Work has also commenced on our new accommodation, University Meadows, at our Colchester Campus. This will offer an additional 648 student bedrooms and a social pavilion, with a common room, launderette and shop.
  • Work is also nearing completion on The Forum Southend-on-Sea. This will create an integrated municipal and academic public library, alongside a stimulating research and learning environment for our Southend Campus and a modern teaching facility for South Essex College.
  • We now have students studying at Edge Hotel School, based within Wivenhoe House on our Colchester Campus. This unique opportunity for those wishing to study hospitality in the UK sees students form part of a team running the hotel. Wivenhoe House underwent a £10 million refurbishment to be restored to its eighteenth-century splendour, with the addition of a contemporary garden wing. Re-opening in September 2012, it has already been awarded four stars by the AA and two AA rosettes for its fine dining restaurant.

Availability of part-time work

  • The University actively encourages students to develop skills and experience through part-time work, alongside their academic studies.
  • Our Employability and Careers Centre offers JobsOnline, a vacancy service for full-time, part-time and internship opportunities, both on and off campus.
  • Frontrunners, our unique student placement scheme, helps students prepare for competing in the graduate job market. Frontrunner placements are paid opportunities on campus, based within academic departments or centres, or administrative sections. The flexible hours offered are a great way to gain real work-based experience of graduate projects, as well as develop skills through training opportunities.
  • In addition, the University has a well-developed Student Ambassador scheme and our Students’ Union offers a range of part-time job opportunities in roles across our campuses.
  • Many volunteering opportunities are available through the Students’ Union vTeam.


For further information

  • +44 (0) 1206 873333
  • University of Essex
    Wivenhoe Park
    CO4 3SQ
UCAS Code E70

Content was accurate at the time of compilation.

The most comprehensive, definitive and complete university guide