University of Essex at Colchester, England

Mount Holyoke may nominate one or two students each year for our reciprocal exchange with the University of Essex. The exchange is open only to students receiving need-based financial aid at Mount Holyoke; students selected for the exchange are guaranteed Laurel Fellowships. Students who are receiving little or no need-based financial aid are welcome to apply to Essex as study abroad students rather than exchange students.

About the University of Essex

  • Founded in 1964 as part of a large-scale expansion of the higher education system in the 1960s
  • Approximately 10,500 students, representing more than 130 different nationalities
  • Comprehensive university offering a wide range of courses in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences
  • Modern campus of 200 acres is based at Wivenhoe Park on the outskirts of Colchester
  • Wide range of student activities, societies, and events

City of Colchester

  • Located in the southeast of England
  • Population about 176,000
  • Britain's first Roman city, with settlements dating to the first century BCE
  • Modern, busy town that is a thriving cultural and entertainment center for the region

Academic Program

  • Traditional British academic calendar, with three terms of approximately ten weeks each (early October to mid-December, mid-January to late March, and mid-April to late June)
  • Many courses offered for the full academic year, but some half-courses are offered for autumn term or spring term only
  • Exchange students may study at Essex for the full academic year or the two-term spring program 
  • Students enroll directly into courses offered by Essex to its degree-seeking students
  • Exchange students may register for courses in any combination of subjects
  • Normal course load for a full academic year is 120 credits for the year, 60 credits for spring only (which transfers as 32/16 MHC credits)

Living Arrangements

  • Guaranteed housing on campus for full-year students.  Housing is not guaranteed for spring semester students, who should be prepared to make their own living arrangements.

Exchange Requirements

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Must have completed sophomore year (or at least three semesters, for spring entrants) prior to enrolling at Essex
  • Must be eligible for need-based financial aid at Mount Holyoke

Financial Arrangements

  • Exchange student pays MHC tuition; Essex waives its tuition
  • Exchange student pays Essex directly for room fees, and is also responsible for her own meals
  • Laurel Fellowship guaranteed (though number of exchange slots is limited)
  • Financial aid award will be based on total budget, including MHC tuition, MHC administrative fee, and allowances toward room and board, books, personal expenses, and round-trip airfare

Study at Essex for Study Abroad (Non-Exchange) Students

  • Students receiving little or no need-based financial aid at Mount Holyoke should apply directly to Essex as study abroad students
  • Study abroad applicants should follow general procedures and deadlines for study abroad
  • Study abroad students will be billed directly by Essex or their program sponsor for the (lower) overseas or program tuition and fees, rather than MHC tuition

How to Apply for the Exchange

  • Submit Mount Holyoke’s Request to Study Abroad and Laurel Fellowship application in MyMountHolyoke according to the instructions on the Deadlines page; applications are ordinarily due in late November for the year, late March for spring
  • Students will be notified by early February or early May whether they have been selected for the exchange
  • Exchange nominee will complete Essex application for admission and submit it to the McCulloch Center for forwarding to Essex; students must also be accepted by Essex