As well as degrees, diplomas and certificates, the University of Essex Online also offers both online short and professional courses which can be completed in just a few weeks.  

Below we’ve explained the differences between our online short courses and online professional courses so you can make the right choice for you and your career.  

Our online short courses 

Our online short courses are undergraduate-level modules taken from our business subjects, which can be studied as standalone qualifications. They’re ideal if you’ve no prior experience of higher education – helping you develop key academic skills while expanding on your knowledge of your chosen area of business.

Our online professional courses 

Fully accredited by the CPD Certification Service, our online professional courses are postgraduate-level modules taken from our business, health and computing subject areas. They’re ideal if you’ve already studied at undergraduate level and are looking to advance in your career or move into a new industry. What’s more, the 20 academic credits awarded upon completion can be applied to a PG Cert, PG Dip or full Masters degree.  

Choosing the right course for you

Online short coursesOnline professional courses
Course fee £771 UK / £809 international (2023-24)

£771 UK / £1,455 International (2024-25)
£1,386 (2023-24)

£1,386 UK / £1,455 International (2024-25)
Study duration (includes one-week induction)10 weeks 13 weeks
Academic credits15 credits at undergraduate level 20 credits at postgraduate level
Study experienceDelivers a strong foundation for the chosen subject area, with no requirement for prior qualifications or formal study experience Provides a detailed or advanced understanding of a specialised subject, ideal for those with some prior qualifications or study experience
Work experienceYou’ll usually have some work experience at any level You’ll usually have extensive work experience, or be returning to work after a career break
Career impactDesigned to build confidence in core principles within your current or future role Designed to accelerate your career by delivering enhanced knowledge of your chosen subject. Also ideal if you’re looking to upskill, return to the workplace or move into a new career
Study progression optionsProgress to a Bachelor’s degree Progress to a PGCert (8 months), PG Dip (16 months) or full Masters degree (usually 2 years)


There are no formal entry requirements for either our online short courses or online professional courses. 

However, as our courses are delivered in English, you’ll need a high proficiency in this language. If English isn’t your first language, your ability should be equivalent to: 

  • an IELTS score of 6.0 for online short courses  
  • an IELTS score of 6.5 for online professional courses  

You can find more information on our English language requirements here. 

We offer three online short courses in business and nine online professional courses taken from our business, health and computing subject areas. 

All our courses are delivered 100% online, part-time, allowing you to fit your studies around your work and family life. You’ll enjoy access to lecturecasts, learning materials and resources via our innovative virtual learning environment (VLE), which is available 24/7.  

We have regular intakes throughout the year for both our online short and professional courses. You can find all our upcoming start dates here. 

Apply for an online short course 

Apply for an online professional course 

Once your application has been submitted, a member of our Admissions team will be in touch with next steps.