League tables are a novelty, and should be taken with a pinch of salt. I wish they would be removed completely to be honest but I understand some people like to know for whatever reason so may as well include them while I can - as you need to pay otherwise (
). I've missed out various things I couldn't be bothered to check.
What they have to say about Essex University:
Essex will charge £9,000 fees in all subjects from 2012, but is promising to invest significantly in scholarships and bursaries to preserve the breadth of its intake. It will make the change from a position of strength: the 24 per cent increase in applications in 2010 was one of the biggest at any pre-1992 university and the start of 2011 saw another 8 per cent rise. The university has acquired a reputation for high-quality research, especially in the social sciences, which led to a strong set of results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Essex has also been doing well in the National Student Survey.
There are little more than 11,000 full-time students, about a fifth of whom are post-graduates. The student population is unusually diverse for a traditional university, with high proportions of mature and overseas students. More than a third of the undergraduates are from working-class homes and almost 96 per cent went to state schools or colleges – both higher figures than the subject mix would suggest.
Sociology and politics led the way in the latest RAE where almost two thirds of the work submitted by the university was found to be world-leading or internationally excellent. Both politics and sociology produced the best results in the country, while the newly formed Essex Business School ranked second in the UK for accounting and finance. Philosophy achieved a 100 per cent approval rating in the 2010 National Student Survey, while biology, economics, drama, linguistics and politics were all in the top ten in their field. An overall satisfaction rate of 88 per cent represented a big improvement on the previous year and placed Essex among the top 20 universities.
The university has been building up its science departments – the biological sciences department is now one of its largest. Computer science is also strong and a BSc in computer games and internet technology shows Essex keeping pace with changing demands in graduate employment. But improvements in the university’s academic performance could not disguise the fact that the glass and concrete campus, set in 200 acres of parkland on the outskirts of Colchester, was showing distinct signs of wear and tear. The university has been carrying out major refurbishments at the same time as expanding student facilities.
The incorporation of the East 15 Acting School, in Loughton, enhanced the university’s provision in theatre studies, and was the university’s first venture beyond Colchester. There has been heavy investment in a third campus, in Southend, which opened in 2007, offering courses in business, health education and the arts. It also includes health and dental facilities, the latter staffed by senior dental students from Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. The Gateway Building has become a focal point of the town centre, while a £5-million church restoration produced rehearsal space and a theatre.
Another regional project sees Essex collaborating with the University of East Anglia on University Campus Suffolk, which offers courses in Ipswich and at smaller centres across the county. Essex degrees are also taught at Writtle College, near Chelmsford, the Colchester Institute and South East Essex College, in Southend.
Essex announced a capital development programme in excess of £200-million in the lead-up to its 50th anniversary in 2014. A new teaching centre and gym opened on its Colchester Campus last year and student accommodation was expanded at Southend. A new Student Centre and library extension at Colchester and a new library and learning centre at Southend are planned for coming years. The Colchester library has already been extended once and is open for over 84 hours a week, with the Large Reading Room open all hours, Monday to Thursday, and seven days a week in the summer term. Sustainable energy and technology are being used whenever possible, with recent projects featuring ground source heat pumps and a wind turbine. Work is set to start on the £10-million transformation of the historic Wivenhoe House into the UK’s first country house hotel to be run and staffed by students, supervised by industry professionals.
Essex champions academic breadth, and students follow a common first year before specialising. They may take four or five different subjects before committing themselves to a particular degree. Social and sporting facilities are good, following a £1.4-million extension of the Sports Centre, as well as the refurbishment of the students’ union bars and nightclub. Some 40 acres of land are devoted to sports facilities.
First years new to Colchester are guaranteed university accommodation, which in 2009 won the “best halls of residence” category in the National Student Housing survey. All university accommodation is now networked to the IT system and equipped with telephones giving free access to the internal phone system. Some ground-floor flats have been adapted for disabled students.
Student satisfaction: 78
Research quality: 2.1
Entry standards: 307
Student-staff ratio: 15.6
Services & facilities spend: 1,594
Good honours: 59.3
Graduate prospects: 58.6
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American Studies: 14
Accounting and Finance: 40
Computer Science: 37
Biological Sciences: 48