Study with us


Study with us

Applying to Essex

Apply online

Student with laptop

Applying to Essex is simple and straightforward. We'll give you all the important information you need to make your application. Our online application takes about 20 minutes to complete.

When you apply to study with us, you'll need to provide a number of supporting documents - we can't process your application until we have these.

Copies of some of these documents you will have to upload with your application, others you may be able to upload at a later date. We may ask to see original documents if you are offered a place.

Application deadline

There is no deadline for applications but we advise you to apply by 1 July for a taught course or research degree starting in October. Many funding deadlines are much earlier in the year, so check your options and get your application in promptly.

To be eligible for research funding, you must hold an offer from Essex and complete the appropriate scholarship or funding application form by the given deadline.

Necessary documents

  • Personal statement

    If you are applying for a taught course and you need a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, then a personal statement (no more than 500 words) is required at the time you make your application, and this should refer specifically to your reasons for wishing to study in the UK, and why you have chosen your area of study. Please remember to include details of any relevant work experience, why you think your academic strengths are suited to your area of study, and how this study will assist you to realise your career objectives.

  • English language

    If you have received your test results you may include a copy with your application. The main tests we accept are IELTS, TOEFL* or Pearson, and the test must be less than two years old at the time of admission. The IELTS requirement for your course, is listed in our coursefinder.

    * TOEFL is not accepted for students requiring a Tier 4 visa.

  • Transcripts

    Official transcript(s), in English or a certified translation of your academic results to date, showing marks or grades, must be provided at the time you make your application. (Transcripts are not required from current or previous University of Essex students, or from students who have previously completed a degree at Colchester Institute awarded by the University of Essex).

  • CV

    If you are applying to one of our taught courses in the School of Law, Human Rights, a pre-Registration course or the MBA, you will need to provide a copy of your CV with your application. A CV is also required for some research degrees at the time of application.

  • References

    For taught courses we will require one academic reference during the application process (excluding the MBA, and pre-Registration courses in Nursing, Occupational Health, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy). Don’t worry if you cannot provide your reference when you make your application, as if we make you an offer you will be able to provide this at a later stage.

    References should be recent and verifiable, on official institution paper, signed and dated by the referee.

    Email references

    If a referee wishes to provide an email reference, it must be sent from an official email account (for example, not yahoo, gmail or hotmail).

Additional documents

Some of our departments, schools or centres require additional items to support your application. These include the MBA, Health and Human Sciences, Philosophy, Law, Human Rights and Literature, Film and Theatre Studies.

Please make sure you check the exact requirements of your chosen course.

Postgraduate research

Requirements vary across departments but two references and a research proposal are required for all research degrees. Please see our guidance notes for further information.

  • Research proposal

    A research proposal is required at application stage for most research degrees.

    Think about your research idea - during your PhD you will conduct and present the results of your original investigations and research. You need to ensure that your research topic will be interesting enough for three or four years. Start to research your topic by reading around your subject area and begin to think what you might like to include in your research proposal.

    Get in touch with a suitable department by contacting the Graduate Director - you might still be developing your idea at this stage, but it would be great if you could send a short description of your research area and a copy of your CV. This does not need to be longer than one A4 page. You can search for a department or supervisor through our Postgraduate Research Finder.

    Writing your proposal

    Your research proposal is an important part of your application for a research degree. Use it to explain your personal and academic goals in undertaking an extended period of research, and reflect on the contribution you will make to the development of new knowledge, ideas and solutions. Also comment on how your research interests fit with the academic focus and expertise at Essex.

    Your research proposal needs to demonstrate that you have, or are able to develop, the competencies and skills needed to complete your project, within the time and resources available. The quality of your writing is important and a good research proposal may be rejected if it is poorly expressed or badly presented.

    Many of our departments, schools and centres offer more detailed guidance on preparing a research proposal on their web pages. If you are applying for funding, ensure your proposal fulfils the requirements of your preferred funding body.

    Visit our PG apply portal for general guidance and details of word lengths for the department you're applying to.

    Your research proposal should include:

    • a working title and key words
    • a summary of the aims and objectives of your research
    • an outline of the ways you meet these aims and objectives, referring to research methods and specific resources you use
    • evidence of your awareness of relevant literature and theoretical approaches
    • an overview of the expected outcomes and the original contribution your research will make to existing bodies of knowledge
    • a brief statement on how your research interests tie in with those found in the department, school or centre

After you apply

We aim to respond to applications for taught courses within two weeks, and for research degrees within four weeks, once we have received all the relevant documents from you and your referee(s).

When you create your application, you will be issued with an application number (DE number), which is your unique reference number with us. You can use this to create your account on our myEssex for Applicants.

  • Accepting your offer

    If we offer you a place, we send you our decision electronically. You will be able to view and download your offer letter from myEssex within 24 hours of a decision being made. We will send you an email with instructions on this. You should use myEssex to accept your place and to keep us informed of any changes to your contact details by updating them online.

  • Interviews

    Applicants applying for research degrees may be invited to attend an interview as part of the admission process. If you are selected for interview, your department will contact you to arrange a convenient time, and to provide you with details relating to the interview.

  • Funding

    Before starting your course you need to consider how you are going to fund your studies. Depending on your course or research topic, funding deadlines will change.

Disability, dyslexia and health issues

Applications are considered against the same academic criteria as those from other candidates. If you are disabled, state this on your application form so that we can give early consideration to any support requirements you may have. Please contact Student Support if you would like to discuss this in more detail before you apply.

Contact us

If you have any questions about your application, please contact our Graduate Admissions Team at

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.

Find a scholarship

Two men looking at a tablet screen

Search our Scholarship Finder to see the funding opportunities available to you. We offer a wide range of scholarships and bursaries to make sure everyone with the potential can succeed.

Doctoral training


Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme. Our University gives you funding to spend on a variety of courses, from research skills to personal development and career management.

Find a course

Find a course

Search our courses and find the right course for you. At Essex you can show your academic potential in a research-intensive environment, and develop the knowledge and skills required for a successful career.