Photograph of students outside University Centre Telford building

Guidance for Mature Applicants

If you're thinking of returning to studies after a break from formal education, then you'll be pleased to know that we welcome applications from mature students.

Many of our students are classed as mature. A mature student is anyone over the age of 21, that may or may not have standard academic qualifications.

Deciding to come to university is a big decision, so we understand the advice, information, and encouragement you need to help you along this path.

We are keen to ensure that access to higher education is not limited to applicants presenting themselves with traditional qualifications and/ or experiences. 

If you are worried about not having the required formal qualifications, or if you've been out of the education system for a while, you can consider our foundation year courses (see below) or you could study for an Access to Higher Education Diploma. Offered at colleges across the country, the Diploma allows you to choose from a variety of subjects depending on what you want to study at university.

Work Experience and Non-standard Qualifications

We value your work experience, so if you don't think you have the right qualifications, where appropriate you may be asked to write an essay or attend an interview so that we can assess your skills and knowledge.

For many courses, we consider 'non-standard' qualifications or learning gained at work, in place of more conventional qualifications.

We also look at any learning you have already done. For example, HNC or Open University credits and some professional qualifications count towards entry, and we may take into account what you have gained from courses that were not formally assessed or certificated.


The University offers 4-year degrees in many subjects, which include a Foundation Year. These are designed for those people who do not meet the entry requirements to go straight onto a degree. There are many Foundation Year courses across the faculties of the university and these are usually considered as Year Zero courses (level 3), giving you the opportunity to progress on to undergraduate degree courses.

Alternatively you could consider studying for an Access to Higher Education Diploma. 

For more information visit our courses page. For more information visit or contact the Gateway team via (01902) 321032 or email

  • You might be surprised at how conveniently you can fit your studies into your week.
  • Most full-time academic courses involve no more than 12 to 16 hours each week in class (although professional courses such as nursing and Allied Health Professions degrees, social work, and teaching courses will demand more of your time). The rest of your time will be spent doing research, writing essays and other associated coursework. Professional placements are full time so for these courses you will normally spend 50% of the academic year in a work setting for 35 – 40 hours per week.
  • You can often arrange the study you'll need to do outside the classroom around your own weekly commitments (e.g. we have learning resources available online). Find out more about student life at the university and our student support services.
  • We have part-time, as well as full-time, courses to suit busy lifestyles - and if you find full-time hours aren't suiting you, for most courses you can request a switch to part-time study if you need to. Many students work part time alongside their studies for extra money. This can be really useful for your CV as well as for your income, as long as it doesn't impact negatively on your studies. 
  • You can access help with important aspects of your study, like essay writing skills, IT support, and exam technique. See our study skills support pages for more information
  • The Students' Union Advice and Support Centre offers guidance on finance, accommodation, employment benefits, health and safety, wellbeing support, and much more 
  • Remember you'll always find a friendly face – and good solid information and advice on any aspect of Higher Education – at the Gateway. The advisors can also talk you through details of loans, additional grants, and bursaries you may be entitled to.

Download a copy of the Mature Learner's Guide

Find out more about our entry requirements, or contact The Gateway to seek advice and guidance and discuss your options.

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