Welcome new students

Life at Essex

Students after holi-paint festival

Life during Welcome week

Whether you can join us on one of our campuses or not, Welcome Week is a big part of getting started at Essex.

This year our Welcome Portal will be a central point where you will get to know the Students' Union, how to get started in your studies as well as finding out more about all of the wider student services available. You will also be introduced to your department/school and receive a full induction from them. Alongside the academic information, we are designing online Welcome activities for you to get stuck into, including useful videos for settling in and ways to help you get to know those on your course with you. Keep your eyes on your inbox as we'll email you a link to get started on the Welcome portal as soon as it opens.


There have been lots of changes this year to make sure all our students can have the best possible experience, whether they join us on campus or not.

Our annual Fresher's Fair has been redesigned so social distancing measures can take place, whilst also still giving you the chance to meet and join our clubs and societies. If you are starting your degree online, you won't miss out, there will be an online platform so that you can sign up virtually. 

There will be a range of online department induction events too to get you settled into your new academic home, plus a range of virtual and in-person activities to help you find new interests, meet and connect with other students. Our Student Union also have a mix of online and in-person events planned  to their offering as well. All community mixers will be online and in person, alongside events and challenges through which you can embrace your SU community and meet new people regardless of the campus you are studying at or where you are in the world.

Sport and activities

We know keeping fit and taking part in sport will be really important to you, so we want to ensure you still have the opportunity to get involved. We are exploring a number of options for reorganising sport, recreation and green exercise programmes which comply with social distancing. We’re finalising these activities at the moment and will let you know when we have a confirmed programme, keep an eye on our sports pages for the latest plans.

We will also open indoor sports facilities, with appropriate social distancing measures, as soon as it is safe to do so, and in the meantime we have a range of online clubs and virtual classes for you take part in.

We'll be shortly announcing our plans for the reopening of our Essex venues, including the SU bar and Top Bar (Colchester Campus), SU Lounge (Southend) and Sub Zero (Colchester's on-campus nightclub) too. Also being lined up for reopening in the spring, safety allowing, is our Cine10 on-campus cinema in Colchester, our retail outlets and restaurants.

Essex students talking outside the North Towers at Colchester Campus holding a Tote Bag with the Department of Law emblazoned on it
See what we have planned for you on campus or online.

This year we have a range of events both on campus and online to really get your life started at Essex off to a flying start. We can't wait to welcome you.

Explore all our welcome events

What will life be like this year?

We have a variety of one-off online programmes and activities delivered throughout the year, such as virtual photography workshops, book clubs, art workshops, origami workshops, card games, karaoke, virtual celebrations of cultural events - if you can't be on campus, there'll still be plenty of things to do!

You will still be able to volunteer and make a positive impact on the local community with our VTeam (Volunteering Team), and we are developing a programme of activities which maximise the space on our campuses. We'll keep you updated with our plans.

We'll be making the most of our 200 acres of beautiful parkland available for socially distanced events around the lakes, from BBQ's and picnics to outdoor faith workshops, and green exercise groups - we have the space to have fun in the fresh air.

 All of our events and activities will be published on our website or on the SU's website.

What will it be like when I arrive on campus?

The University takes the health and wellbeing of our students and staff very seriously and this has been one of the focuses to ensure students can start on campus – safely – in October.

To protect our community on campus once the academic year starts again in October, we will be looking to introduce the following measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sterilising regimes
  • Social distancing in line with international guidance
  • Signage and floor markings in key locations to help you move around our campuses safely

We’re asking you to wear face coverings in all public campus areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain or in specifically designated locations. We’ll be supporting you by giving two washable face coverings to all students and staff.

We’ll also be introducing training for all students so everyone understands our expectations. 

What will the student experience be like on campus? How will I have fun?

We know that if social distancing measures are still in place, it will be a different student experience, but we are certain it will be a positive experience and we are determined to make it loads of fun. Over the last three months our community may have become socially distanced but beyond the physical, our Essex Spirit has brought us closer than ever.

Since lockdown, every week our award-winning Students’ Union have hosted Netflix parties where we get together to enjoy our favourite shows together. Our legendary The Hook open mic night has enjoyed huge success in a virtual space, with singers, actors poets and performers all taking to the virtual stage for the enjoyment of huge audiences. We have a host of online and on-campus events, everything from yoga and anxiety busting sessions, to online art classes and pub quizzes.

Our postgraduate community have been actively engaging too, in everything from our business and entrepreneurship webinar series to discussions and collaborations through our Essex Women’s Network and our Parent’s Network.

Many have found our mindfulness and resilience online workshops vital during this period and record numbers have been taking part in our sporting challenges on social media, from footballing skills to interval sprints and plank challenges, there’s something for everyone in our unique and diverse Essex community.

We are making friends, reaching out and getting through this by merit of our close connections. Some of us may be physically further apart – but in our Essex Spirit, we’ve never been closer together.

What if I contract COVID-19 whilst I'm in the UK?

We are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our students. We follow the advice of Public Health England at all times and have processes in place to support our students.

If you are an International / EU student, the UK government has confirmed that overseas visitors to England, including Tier 4 international students, will not be charged for:

  • testing for coronavirus (even if the test shows you do not have coronavirus)
  • treatment for coronavirus – if you start treatment and a test then shows you do not have coronavirus, you may be charged for any treatment you have after getting the test result

For more information, please see the NHS website.

We also have a GP surgery on our Colchester Campus, and there are hospitals near all of our campuses

We publish all our advice and guidance on our student directory website.

What if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on Campus?

The University has plans in place to respond to cases of COVID-19 on Campus. Our response would be in line with the advice of Public Health England with the aim of keeping our students and staff safe from further infection.

We have effectively managed our student community so far, including all of those who have stayed on our campuses this spring and summer.

Teaching and assessment

Will there be any changes to the way my course is taught?

We are focusing on ensuring that we are able to deliver a quality education and that your teaching and learning can continue if there is further disruption. We’re aiming to be as flexible as possible so if things change, you can change your pathway any time. To achieve this, many of our courses will now be taught in a way that blends face-to-face classes with a range of online lectures, teaching, learning and collaborative support, including:

  • Webinars;
  • Lectures and tutorials in the University’s virtual learning environment;
  • Collaborative discussions
  • Group project work using social media or other meeting platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp or Messenger.

There will also be other ways of learning, designed to enable you to engage more easily and manage your workload. It will also help develop your deeper understanding of the topic. This will usually involve:

  • Self-directed study;
  • Readings and;
  • Online tasks.

You will engage in an interactive classroom environment in real-time, even if you are online, and will have access to the resources and materials needed for your course. Interactivity is important to our teaching, we want our students to discuss, debate and tackle key issues together. This style of dual-delivery teaching ensures that we maintain these crucial interactive elements.

We want as many of our students to join us on campus as possible, but if restrictions apply or circumstances change, we can move to blended and online delivery. This will offer the flexibility for you to continue your studies uninterrupted, whatever the circumstances.

This is not an online degree. Our goal is to replicate face-to-face teaching digitally, where necessary, but continue to teach face-to-face where we can.

Applicants will receive an email from the department they have applied to which will explain more about the specific teaching and assessment arrangements. You can also find out more on our department pages which have further details about how teaching will be delivered. Please note that whether you can study online for the whole year is dependent on what department and course you are applying for.

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information.

More information on how teaching at Essex takes place and a glossary of terms

How long can I study online? Can I do the whole year online?

We want as many of our students to join us on campus as possible; this is not an online degree. We hope that if you begin studying online, you will be able to join us on Campus as soon as you can.

Please note that whether you can study online for the whole year is dependent on what department and course you are applying for. To find out more please visit our department pages which have further details about how teaching will be delivered. These pages will be updated further once we have more information, so please check back again over the coming weeks.

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information.