Study with us


Study with us

Applying to Essex

Apply online

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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 information on your academic qualifications that you already hold or are waiting to complete. You must also provide your supporting documents - we can't process your application until we have these. You can upload copies of documents with your application form or you can upload additional documents at a later date. Supporting documents include:

  • English language qualifications (eg IELTS, TOEFL* or Pearson) if you have received your test results
  • transcripts of your university-level studies to date
  • copies of certificates for any degrees or other awards already completed
  • a research proposal (for research degrees)
  • a personal statement or CV
  • at least one verifiable reference (two for research degrees)

*TOEFL is not accepted for students requiring a Tier 4 visa. Find out about applying with a Tier 4 visa.

We may ask to see original documents if you are offered a place, and some of our departments, schools or centres require additional items to support your application.

  • 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.

  • References

    References should be on letterhead or official institution paper and signed by the referee. 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).

  • 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.

  • Your research proposal

    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.

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

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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.