Mature Students

At the University of Suffolk mature students are a large proportion of the total student population, so you won’t be alone.

Students aged 21 or over at the start of their course are regarded as mature students. Mature students play a huge part in the UK's Higher Education sector making up to a third of all full-time undergraduates. 

Mature students may decide to return to study for a number of reasons, including career or personal development, to pursue an interest or for a change of direction, and many choose to study part-time alongside other commitments. Approaching higher education as a mature student can be both exciting and daunting so we have put a range of support measures in place to help and guide you.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What support is available to me if I haven't studied for a while? Will I be able to get help writing assignments?

The Learning Services team offer additional support to students at all levels of study and provide year-round workshops in study skills, academic writing, referencing, maths, statistics, research methods and computer skills. Drop-in’s and one-to-one appointments with Academic Skills Advisors are available and the team also provides a range of online and downloadable resources for students to use.

Is childcare available?

The Student Life team can offer advice about childcare opportunities and the benefits and funding that may be available to students who have dependents. Alternatively, a list of childcare providers can be found on the Suffolk County Council website

What financial support is available?

Students studying for an undergraduate degree in the UK do not have to pay their tuition fees in advance. Providing you do not already have a degree and you are eligible, students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. The fees are covered by a loan supplied by the government and paid direct to the institution for you. There is no age limit on tuition fees. For more information, visit our fees and funding section.

If you haven't studied for a while, you may wish to consider other studies to build your knowledge and confidence before you start a degree. These studies might include an Access to Higher Education Diploma, an A-Level, or your local Further Education college may have other interesting alternatives. Many colleges and other education providers offer Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English; another great way to brush up on your key skills. Admissions tutors will be looking for applicants who demonstrate they have the potential to successfully study at Higher Education level, so some experience of academic writing, researching topics and giving presentations would be beneficial. If you are considering applying for a more competitive or professional health course, Admissions Tutors will look upon recent study (normally within the last five years) more favourably. Recent study demonstrates your skills are current. 

Reading around the subject you wish to study or undertaking work experience in a related area can also strengthen your application. Remember to note the transferable skills this work experience can give you in your personal statement when making your application. 

If you are considering studying a nursing programme, or another professional health care course, you will need to meet the specific entry requirements for that course before you can be considered. The course pages will give you more information, or you can contact the Student Centre for advice. 

Most students are able to work alongside their course. How much you can work will depend on the type of course you're studying, your mode of attendance (if you are studying full-time or part-time) and the type of work you plan to undertake. Most students taking undergraduate modular degree programmes can expect to be at university two or three days a week. However, some students may need to spend more time on campus to use specialist facilities for independent project work, such as laboratory space and arts studios. For most courses it is recommended you undertake 200 hours of study for each 20 credit module taken, including class time. Your tutor will give you more guidance at the start of your course. 

Our online career development platform FutureMe features an online jobs board which advertises part-time vacancies suitable for students, so students may wish to consider signing up for their regular updates. 

If you are considering studying a nursing programme, or another professional health care course, it is recommended that you do not undertake additional work, or that this is kept to a minimum.

For more information on studying at the University of Suffolk, prospective students are welcome to visit the Student Centre in the Waterfront Building in Ipswich. The Student Centre is your one-stop-shop, giving information and advice on aspects of student life. You can find our contact details through the Get in Touch page.

Alternatively, why not visit us at one of our Open Events?

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Kesha's Story

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Remi's Story

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Applying as a Mature Student

If you are 21 years or over when you start a course, you will be regarded as a mature student. The University of Suffolk offers a flexible admissions policy for mature students, which takes into account life and work experience. The University also asks that you can demonstrate the ability to undertake the appropriate level of study and have the necessary study skills. Where there are specific course requirements, you will be asked to demonstrate an equivalent knowledge of the subject, and if you have not had any formal education for several years, you may need to undertake some sort of preparatory course, for example an Access to HE Diploma course.

All mature students who do not come from a traditional educational background, or who have been away from education for some time but believe they have relevant experience at an appropriate level, are strongly encouraged to attend an Open Day or seek advice from the University of Suffolk Student Centre prior to making an application.

If you do not meet the minimum entry requirements as a mature student, you may be invited to attend an informal interview to determine your suitability.

Please note that if you are applying as a mature students applying for a professional course, you will still be required to meet the minimum entry requirements as detailed on the course page, please see the accordion above titled Professional Course Entry Requirements for a list of applicable courses. All applicants to post-experience health studies courses are expected to have appropriate professional experience.


"The day of my graduation ceremony is a day I will never forget. Words cannot describe how I felt when I thought of how far I’d come"

Jo Wyard, BA (Hons) Social Work, Class of 2017