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Changing your course

You should discuss your thoughts about changing course with someone in your school/department/centre. If your new course is in a different department, you should also speak to someone in that department.

Investigate your potential new course by looking at course information on the department's web pages, talking to students on the course and speaking to tutors. You should also look at our Rules of Assessment for the new course to check whether there are any course-specific requirements.

If you are considering changing course due to academic worries with your current course you might find it useful to seek academic support before changing course by contacting the Talent Development Centre.

  • How to change course

    Once you have discussed your plans and decided that you want to change course, you will need to make a formal request, using the online course change form. This will need to be considered by your department (and your new department if your new course is in a different department) and the relevant dean(s).

    The department will consider your suitability to study the course (the modules you have studied and passed at Essex, and your existing qualifications) and also its capacity to accept additional students.

    There are a number of factors that will affect how your request to change course is considered including when you submit the request and academic issues concerning the suitability of your request. Some of the main principles are set out below:

    Changes for current year – deadline

    Scenario: At the start of the academic year, you change from the first year of course A to the first year of course B, immediately.

    If you have started your course, but have quickly realised that it is not the right course for you, it may be possible for you to ask to change to a different course in the same year but only if you apply before the deadline. The deadline for change of course requests for the current year is 20 October 2017.

    The deadline is to ensure that you can start attending the classes and lectures for the new course as soon as possible. Applications made after this date are normally refused but may be exceptionally approved with conditions. In order to submit an online course change form you need to be a registered student at our University.

    Changes for next year

    Scenario: You successfully complete the first year of course A and change to the second year of course B.

    You may request to change course so that you start your new course only at the end of the successful completion of your current year, allowing you to progress to the following year of the new course. The deadline for change of course requests for the next year is 19 October 2018. For example, you might be trying to transfer to a different course that requires a specific first-year module that you have not taken (see the information on Special Syllabus).

    Changes involving a repeat year

    Scenario: You complete year one of course A and change to year one of course B.

    A course change may be approved only on the condition that you start the year again so that you take all of the required compulsory modules for your new course. This will extend the time that it takes to achieve the award.

    You will need to be sure that you have investigated the implications of this in terms of your funding arrangements (see 'Practical issues' below) and also what it means for you in accordance with the Rules of Assessment.

    Changes involving an intermission

    Scenario: You intermit from the first year of course A and return next academic year to the first year of course B.

    A course change may be approved only on the condition that you start the year again so that you take all of the required compulsory modules for your new course. In this case, you may choose or you may be advised to intermit from your current course to restart the new course next academic year. This will extend the time that it takes to achieve the award.

    You will need to be sure that you have investigated the implications of this in terms of your funding arrangements (see 'Practical issues' below) and also what it means for you in accordance with the Rules of Assessment.

    Changes involving a special syllabus

    Scenario: You successfully complete the first year of course A and change to the second year of a specially approved version of course B.

    Where a change of course to the standard structure of the new course is not possible, and the school/department/centre supports the change, you may be advised to submit an online form to request a special syllabus for the new course. A special syllabus is a variation from the standard course structure/modules for a course. Such requests normally relate to a module that would be compulsory for the course. Your request to change course and the request for a special syllabus for the new course will be carefully considered by the department and then by the dean of faculty.

    Professional accreditation considerations

    Changing your course to a similar course within your department/school/centre may still enable you to obtain the professional accreditation you seek with your vocational course, such as a qualifying law degree. However, you need to be aware of any professional body requirements including any limitations on the length of time you take to complete the course and what modules or pass requirements are required on top of the University's own rules. Law students, for example, could change from LLB Laws (with a year abroad) to LLB Law and still obtain a qualifying law degree as long as the relevant Foundations of Knowledge subjects are taken.

    You should contact your department/school/centre with any questions about professional body requirements.

    Maximum period of study

    Undergraduate students have a maximum period in which to complete their studies. This is set at the point at which you register, and is normally the length of your programme plus two additional years. This is to allow some flexibility in cases where you find you must intermit, or you fail a stage of study and must repeat it, or you want to transfer to a new course and must retake a stage of study. Transfers of programme are still included in the original maximum period unless they involve moving to or from a 4-year course. However, you must complete your studies within this maximum period.

    Each of the following counts as one additional year. You will not be permitted to do any of these actions more than twice, or exceed two of these actions in any combination:

    • repeating a stage (whether by full or part-time attendance)
    • undertaking reassessment the following year without attendance
    • transferring to a new course and repeating a stage
    • intermitting for part or all of a year

    Further details about the length of study for each award can be found in the Framework for University Awards in our Undergraduate Rules of Assessment.

  • Change approval

    You will receive an email when your course change has been approved.

    For more complicated requests, the Registry or Student Administration (Southend) will send you another detailed communication outlining any conditions to the change of course, as well as providing information on what to do next.  

    Module enrolment (eNROL)

    If you have changed course in the same year, ie early in the autumn term, you will be advised how to select any optional modules for your new course when you are notified that your request has been approved.

    If you are starting a different course next academic year, you can use eNROL in the normal way to select any optional modules for your course.

  • Practical issues

    If you are considering changing course, there are some practical things that you need to consider.

    Funding

    Student Finance

    These notes are for general guidance only and the information, which is based on the Student Support Regulations, is subject to amendment from time to time. It is therefore essential that you contact Student Finance England to discuss your individual case.

    This information applies to you if you are a Home or EU student in receipt of tuition fee loans to pay your tuition fees. You may be transferring to a different course at this University (internal transfer) or to a different course at another institution (external transfer).

    Student Finance will require written confirmation from the University that an internal transfer has been approved on academic grounds the day before the start of the second year of the original course. It will not normally be possible for an academic transfer to be approved if you have been required to withdraw from the University, or if both courses have the same JACS code. Please note that Student Finance may be unwilling to transfer your award if you have been required to withdraw from your original course of study.

    If you are transferring to another institution, your new institution is responsible for giving Student Finance confirmation that your transfer has been approved on academic grounds. We will inform Student Finance that you have transferred to another institution if you provide us with the following information when you withdraw: name of your new institution, title of your new course and its JACS code, the anticipated end date of your new course and the tuition fee (if this available). If we do not have this information we cannot tell Student Finance about the transfer and will have to simply inform them that you have withdrawn from your studies at Essex. This may affect the assessment of your tuition fee rate for your new course.

    Fees

    It you are an overseas student transferring from a class-room based course to a laboratory-based course, the tuition fee will be considerably higher than you currently pay as these courses involve much higher costs.

    For UK and EU students all courses have the same tuition fee amount.

    Support arrangements

    If you have specific support arrangements in place you will need to notify your Student Services Hub of your course change. Your hub may need to contact your new department to arrange the support you require.

    Visas

    If you change your course at the University of Essex, this may affect your immigration status and you may need to contact the Home Office or make a new Tier 4 application. Please see our immigration pages for information about changes to your studies.

    If you have any queries about immigration contact our International Services Team.

  • Adding a Year of Study Abroad or Placement

    If you wish to add a year of study abroad or a work placement to your course, please be aware that the Registry cannot confirm nor guarantee whether a placement opportunity is available for you. If you have not already done so, you are strongly advised to contact Essex Abroad or the Employability and Careers Centre directly for further advice.

    You should also be aware that students are required to achieve a year mark of 50.0 in their first year of study. If a student is required to do reassessment in their first year, it is the notional uncapped mark that is used to determine whether they have met this requirement. This is considered by the Board of Examiners and the Registry who confirm whether a student is eligible to enter the second year of the four year course.

    Please note that the following courses require a stage mark of 60 in Stage One:

    • LLB Law (Including Placement Year)
    • BSc Actuarial Science (Including Placement Year)
    • BSc Mathematics and Statistics (Including Placement Year)

Postgraduate Taught: Change of Mode of Study

It may be possible to change from full-time study to part-time. You should discuss this with your department. If this is possible, you will need to make a formal request, using the online Change of mode of study form, which will need to be approved by your department and the relevant dean.

You should discuss any proposed change of degree title with your supervisor. Once you have decided you want to change your degree title, you will need to make a formal request using the online Change of Course/Degree title form, which will need to be approved by your department/school/centre and the dean.

Change of mode

During your minimum period you may request a transfer from one mode of study to another, for example from full time to part time (including distance learning) or vice-versa. You should discuss any proposed change with your supervisor.

If you are a sponsored student, you should discuss any proposed change with your funding body and/or check its terms and conditions. If you are a Research Council funded student you should contact the Executive Officer (Research Team) in the Registry to discuss your request to change your mode of study.

Once you have decided you want to change your mode of study, you will need to make a formal request, using the online Change of Mode of Study form, which will need to be approved by your department and the dean.

If your request is approved your minimum and maximum period will be adjusted pro-rata.

Visas

If you change your course at the University of Essex, this may affect your immigration status and you may need to contact the Home Office or make a new Tier 4 application. Please see our immigration pages for information about changes to your studies.

If you have any queries about immigration contact our International Services Team.

Changing institution

If you're changing institution, you'll need to apply to your new institution. You may be able to apply direct or you may have to fill out another UCAS form/application form. Once you've decided to leave your current course, and made arrangements with your new institution, you'll need to formally withdraw from your course at this University.