At St Mary's we welcome people of all ages on to our degree courses and are committed to extending opportunities to adults returning to study. Mature students are some of our most well-equipped learners, bringing with them a number of skills and attributes gained from work, family and other life experiences. We recognise that as an adult returning to education you will contribute to the learning environment here.

Mature students do very well at St Mary’s and find a balance between study and other commitments very successfully. On our degree programmes there are almost certainly going to be other mature students you can get to know. At St Mary’s one in five of our students are over the age of 21 when beginning their studies with us, coming from an array of backgrounds.

We advise all potential students to visit us at one of our Pre Application Open Days or Open Evening . If you cannot make it to one of our Open Events and would like a weekly campus tour, please fill out our Campus Tour Request Form. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee you will be able to view the student accommodation, but we will do our best to arrange a suitable date and time for your informal tour of the campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

All courses have their own entry requirements, which are listed on this website and in our prospectus. We recognise a wide range of qualifications, but as a mature students, you may qualify if you can provide evidence of your ability to successfully pursue the degree you want to apply for. We will consider your overall experience. Normally, you would be expected to have at least one A level or the equivalent, except for ITT Primary teaching where entry requirements will be higher.

For more information regarding entry requirements, please contact our Admissions Team.


It may be useful to consider the following issues:

Subject Knowledge
The level of background knowledge you will need will vary from course to course. For science courses, a good level of understanding and knowledge is often essential. In other areas, the emphasis may be more about commitment to the course. You might find it helpful to contact the programme director of the course you are interested in if you have concerns about your suitability.

Study Skills
To be a successful student you need to be able to manage your time effectively, be able to read, listen and process information, communicate verbally and in writing, and use information technology. These skills are not just acquired through study however and are gained through work, voluntary work and general interest. Again, if you have concerns it might be useful to discuss them.
Pre-university courses like Access are designed to develop the relevant subject skills needed to study at university. You can search for access courses on the UCAS website.


During your course of study you can get support from your academic tutor. Skill shops are also run as drop-in sessions every day and cover writing, IT and numeracy skills, while many programmes offer their own sessions to give you an extra boost of confidence.

Our Students Services team are experienced in advising adults returning to education. As a mature student, it’s likely that you’ll have a number of added commitments, and we provide a range of support services designed to help you cope with these pressures. For further information, please see visit the Student Life and Student Support sections.


All students pay the same tuition fees; however most students can apply for student finance support in the form of loans and grants provided by the government . The amount you get depends on your family situation and the type of course you are doing. You may receive extra help if you have children.

St Mary’s also offers range of scholarships that you may be entitled to. Please visit our Money Matters page, or view the government's student funding webpages.


For many mature students, especially those with families or work commitments, the biggest question is - will I have the time?

The University teaching day runs between 9am and 7pm, but some students only have to come into university on two or three days per week for a total of eight or ten hours. Including independent study, your course will need approximately 30 to 40 hours per week, but your workload will vary during the year, as several pieces of coursework may be due at one time.

Your timetable will depend on your course, but academic staff are sympathetic to students with outside commitments and try to be as accommodating as possible. Sometimes sessions are repeated during the week, and you may be able to choose the most convenient group to be in.


You will need to apply through UCAS for full time courses. The UCAS website also has a section for mature students with useful tips and advice about choosing courses, coping with study and money matters.


Many of our programmes can be studied on a part-time basis. This is daytime study of between four and six hours per week. It is possible to vary the amount of study you take on each year and, therefore, the time it takes to complete your degree will vary.

Many mature students spread a three-year degree over six years and you may choose to study for a Certificate or Diploma of Higher Education, if you do not wish to commit yourself to a full degree programme.

If you have not studied for a while, we also allow you to take one or more modules as an associate student. Intending students are advised to discuss their applications with the relevant programme director (see the 'Find Out More' section for your chosen course).


"St Mary’s is great for mature students. The courses offered are very flexible, especially if you want a career as a teacher, as a foundation degree is available which is designed for people working in primary or nursery schools. As a mature student with responsibilities of looking after my children and working full time at a school, I never thought I could go any further after doing NVQ Level 3 as a teaching assistant, but now I am climbing the ladder of professional development and will fulfil my dreams to become a primary teacher. Whatever your career or ambition St Mary’s will do all they can to help you. It’s never too late to go back into studies.”
Dilshad Aboobaker