- University of Essex
University of Essex
From the student rebellions of the 60s to our contemporary ground-breaking research, we have never accepted the status quo or been afraid to speak out. We are always thinking of new and better ways of doing things. Our schools and department sare leaders in world-class research that changes lives.
We are a home for the talented and the tenacious, the brave and the bold, and those who are impatient for change. Challenging convention is in our DNA. You’ll be exposed to a wide array of different perspectives and opinions, like those in our provocative THINK! lecture series, which means that we won’t always agree – but that’s how great ideas are born.
Only by encouraging you to ask difficult questions can we break intellectual boundaries. At Essex we extend the frontiers of knowledge and pioneer solutions to issues of global concern. We give you genuine licence to shape what goes on around you and take intellectual risks so that as well as learning ‘how’, you challenge ‘why’.
At Essex we encourage our students to aspire to be anyone’s equal but no one’s superior – to be confident but not arrogant, brilliant but humble. If you want more from your university education than just a good degree, if you want to be enlightened and make a difference, Essex is the place to come.
Shami Chakrabarti CBE
Chancellor, University of Essex and civil liberties campaigner
Essex introduces you to people from every corner of the planet – we’re the 21st most international university in the world and 5th in the UK (THE 2016). We are a genuinely global community that lives, works, and plays together. You study an internationally relevant curriculum, are encouraged to live and study abroad for a period of your course, become part of our diverse community, and are taught by academics whose research has global impact. We give you the best chance to compete in a global economy.
The concept of membership is enshrined in our constitution and is a cornerstone of your student experience. Like no other community you’ve been part of before, your time at Essex provides endless opportunities to make a difference to your own academic and social life, and to those around you.
- Time abroad at no extra cost.
- Employability and careers support, not only while you’re here – but for life
- You’re a member for life, with all the associated benefits and opportunities.
- Over 165 sports clubs and societies, one of the highest club to student ratios in the UK.
- Unique campus environments with a diversity of events and services.
The Essex community is full of opportunities to meet new people, try new things and get new skills. And it couldn’t be easier to join in with social life on our campuses. From karaoke in the SU Bar to afternoon tea at Wivenhoe House (home to our Edge Hotel School). From taking in a play at our Lakeside or Clifftown theatres to bagging a bargain at our farmers’ market – with so much going on it’s impossible to get bored.
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
- Biological Sciences, School of
- Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, School of
- East 15 Acting School
- Economics, Department of
- Edge Hotel School
- Essex Business School
- Government, Department of
- Health and Human Sciences, School of
- History, Department of
- Human Rights Centre
- Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Centre for
- International Academy
- Institute for Social and Economic Research
- Language and Linguistics, Department of
- Law, School of
- Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
- Mathematical Sciences, Department of
- Philosophy and Art History, School of:
- Art History at Essex
- Philosophy at Essex
- Psychoanalytic Studies, Centre for
- Psychology, Department of
- Sociology, Department of
- UK Data Archive
- University of Essex Online
In July 1959, Essex County Council accepted a proposal from Alderman Leatherland that a university be established in the county. A University Promotion Committee was formed chaired by Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Sir John Ruggles-Brise, which submitted a formal application to the University Grants Committee requesting that a University of Essex should be established. Initial reports suggested that the Promotion Committee had recommended Hylands Park in Chelmsford as the site for the new University, however in May 1961, the foundation of the university was announced in the House of Commons with Wivenhoe as the preferred location and in December of the same year, Wivenhoe Park was acquired for the new university. In July 1962, Albert Sloman, Gilmour Professor of Spanish and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Liverpool, was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and the Rt. Hon. R. A. Butler, was invited to be Chancellor, with Anthony Rowland-Jones appointed as Registrar.
The first Professors were appointed in May 1963: Alan Gibson in Physics, Peter Townsend in Sociology, Donald Davie in Literature, Richard Lipsey in Economics, Ian Proudman in Mathematics, Jean Blondel in Government, and John Bradley in Chemistry. With its first staff appointed, a development plan for the university was published and a £1million Appeal Fund was launched. Within six months the Appeal Fund had exceeded its £1million target with The Queen Mother and Sir Winston Churchillamong contributors, while work began on clearing the site for building work. In Autumn 1963, red was chosen as the University colour and the first prospectus was prepared and work began on the first permanent buildings; the science block and boiler room next to Wivenhoe House. In January 1964, Hardy Amies designed the university’s academic robes and temporary teaching huts had to be erected close to Wivenhoe House, while in March Sir John Ruggles-Brise was appointed the first Pro-Chancellor and Alderman Leatherland the first Treasurer of the University. Two months later the university’s Armorial Bearings were published, with the motto “Thought the harder, heart the keener”.
In October 1964, the first 122 students arrived with 28 teaching staff in three schools: Comparative Studies, Physical Sciences and Social Studies. Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Government, Sociology, Literature, Mathematics and Economics open along with the Language Centre (later the Department of Language and Linguistics) and the Computing Centre (later the Department of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering) with Denis Mesure elected as the first President of the Students’ Council. Work started on the first residential tower, Rayleigh, in December with The Queen approving the grant of Charter to take effect from 11 January 1965.
1965 brought 399 students enrolling for the start of the new academic year; the number of academic staff more than doubled to 61; and the first degrees, five MSc and five MA degrees were awarded. The Physics building opened and the first six floors of Rayleigh tower were ready for occupation, while work began on the Albert Sloman Library. The first female lecturer was appointed: Dorothy E. Smith in the Department of Sociology. In December, University Court met for the first time with around 500 members. Six months later, work started on the Lecture Theatre Building, plus the ‘Topping out’ of Keynes tower.
In October 1966, the Hexagon Restaurant and General Store opened, with the number of students reaching 750. Lord Butler was installed as Chancellor at a ceremony held in Colchester’s Moot Hall in 1967 and the first Honorary Degrees were presented, the University’s Mace was carried for the first time, while the first annual Degree Congregation saw 135 degrees conferred in July. At the start of the next academic year, the departments of Computer Science and Electronic Systems Engineering accepted their first students, the SSRC Data Bank (later renamed the UK Data Archive) was established and the Lecture Theatre Building and Library opened along with the first phase of the Social and Comparative Studies building, while work proceeded on Tawney and William Morris residential towers.
On 25 November 2004, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the university as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations (1964–2004). Some of the longest running members of staff were invited to meet them at the presentation including the University’s first student, John M. Dowden. Starting postgraduate research on fluid dynamics at the age of 23 in 1963, John later became a professor of mathematics and was the head of the University’s Mathematics Department from 2001–2005. He retired in September 2008.
The university is constantly expanding. The Network Centre building opened in May 2004 housing the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering and parts of the Department of Computer Science (who merged in 2007 to create Computer Science and Electronic Engineering). The University Quays, a student accommodation complex housing 770 students, opened in September 2003. The Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, with a 1,000 seat capacity, opened in 2006. In Southend the £26m Gateway Building opened in 2007, a former church been converted to the Clifftown Studios providing East 15 students with a theatre, studios and workshop spaces. University Square, a 560 bedroom development near to the Gateway building opened in September 2010. At Wivenhoe Park, the ‘Social Science Research Centre’ was completed in February 2007, housing the University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and the UK Data Archive. A new building for the School of Health and Human Sciences was opened in 2008, as was the ‘Centre for Brain Science’ housing part of the Psychology department. In 2013, The Meadows, a new 540-bedroom student accommodation complex opened on the Colchester Campus, and The Forum, a new public and academic library and learning centre opened in Southend. In 2015 two major projects were completed on the Colchester campus: a new Student Centre and Library extension, and a new zero-carbon Business School building complete with trading floor with Bloomberg terminals.
Wivenhoe House, an 18th-century manor house on Wivenhoe Park, closed in December 2009 and reopened in 2012 as a four star country house hotel and home of the Edge Hotel School, which is the UKs first working hotel school dedicated to the development of future leaders of the hotel and hospitality industry.
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