Choosing courses

Mature students are welcomed at universities and colleges up and down the country, and the courses on offer are as varied as those who study them.

  • Think about the value you want to gain from a course, and what you find interesting.
  • Decide which type of qualification will suit you best, and whether you want to study full-time or part-time.
  • Then take a look at the details such as course content, location and teaching styles.
  • Even if you're unsure what to study, researching what's on offer can really help inform your decision.

Search for courses

Amanda Scales

'It’s like seeing a whole other world' – Amanda found university a transformative experience. Watch her video and read her story in Related case studies below.

Alan Markland

'Life has become more satisfying' – Alan overcame tough personal problems and found his voice at university. Watch his video and read his story in Related case studies below.

Types of qualification

If this is your first experience of higher education there are numerous undergraduate qualifications you can study for:

  • an honours degree - usually a single subject that takes three or four years to complete full-time.
  • a foundation degree - a vocationally focused qualification combining academic and work-based learning. These usually takes two years full-time.
  • Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates (HNDs and HNCs) - vocational qualifications offered across a wide array of subjects. HNDs normally take two years full-time, while HNCs take one.

Foundation degrees, HNDs and HNCs can also provide the basis for progression to a full honours degree, and there are further postgraduate study options that can follow.

Explore the options further - more about course types and how to choose

Think about where to study - how to choose a location and get support with childcare or accommodation.

Don’t sit and wonder how to do it, do it and wonder how you did it."

Amanda Scales, Sussex University

Entry requirements

These are admissions criteria for getting onto a higher education course – often including A levels and Tariff points.

  • They vary between course providers and subjects, and as a mature applicant there's a good chance that other experience will be considered as well. 
  • Some course providers accept alternatives such as Access courses, Open University credits, professional qualifications or APL – Accreditation of prior learning (e.g. work experience or alternative training).
  • It's definitely worth contacting course providers to see how flexible they can be with their entry requirements.

Find out about Access courses and APL – these are good ways to help you reach higher education.

Read more about entry requirements – how they vary across course providers and different courses.

Use our search tool – find the specific requirements for courses you're interested in, as well as contact details for course providers.