We're committed to mature students and those returning to education
We welcome all applicants who may not have come directly from school or college and who wish to return to education at different stages of their lives. This may include mature students – who are defined as a student who is over the age of 21 when they commence their studies.
The decision to enter higher education as a mature student can be a difficult one in terms of commitment and financial circumstances. However, the university will provide the support that you need to make the most of your time here.
If you are a mature student applying for an undergraduate course, you should submit an application through UCAS.
There are many pathways which can lead to degree level study, including:
- Access to HE courses (www.accesstohe.ac.uk)
- BTEC qualiﬁcations
- Open University Credits
We recognise that mature students may offer different qualifications and experience, which will be taken into account when we assess your application, it is important that you have adequate experience and/or qualifications to allow you to cope with academic demands of your course. It is normally recommended that you should have undertaken some recognised systematic course of study (eg, Access, Open University credits, or GCE A levels) within the last three years.
In addition to any programme-specific requirements, the University would normally expect evidence of some recognised systematic course of study within the three years prior to the start of a programme. Where an applicant meets our entrance requirements but qualifications were achieved more than three years ago, the application may be referred to the Admissions Tutor for consideration.
We advise that full details of any relevant work experience or other relevant information is provided within the application. More information and advice about applying to Exeter can be found on our how to apply pages.
Offers to Access students will be conditional on passing the qualification with grades of merit and/or distinction in named units in some cases and may also include 6 L3 credits at pass grade in relevant unit[s] if GCSE English Language/Mathematics grade C or better has not been previously achieved. Typical offers will be updated on the UCAS website under individual programme requirements. Further information and advice about applying to Exeter can be found on our how to apply pages or by contacting Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or email email@example.com
Our Flexible Combined Honours scheme is available to those wishing to study part time, and some of our other undergraduate degrees are also potentially available by part time study. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further help and advice on part time study.
For part time programmes you should apply directly to the University’s Admissions Office and not through UCAS. Application forms are available from the Admissions Office and should be returned between 1 September and 30 June immediately preceding the September entry.
For postgraduate study, information about studying part time, with a focus on programmes with flexible, modular or online delivery, is included in our postgraduate study website.
Our foundation programmes cover the core maths skills needed to progress on to a maths, engineering or physical science degree course. They are designed for those students from a variety of backgrounds who may not meet Exeter’s typical entry criteria, including mature students. Exeter is one of a very small number of Russell Group universities offering courses of this type, which provide a supportive route into higher education. These courses allow you to spend a year improving your maths skills and are made up of modules which act as building blocks for further advanced studies.
In support of the University’s Access and Participation Plan, these courses are only open to UK domiciled students from widening participation backgrounds who meet our contextual offer eligibility criteria and who may not have met the entry requirements for first year entry. In addition, for mature applicants, these qualifications do not need to have been gained within the last three years. See our undergraduate study pages for more information.
We’re proud to offer Degree Apprenticeships in partnership with employers. These are innovative new courses that combine university study with paid work in a professional role related to your degree. They offer a cost-effective way of obtaining a bachelor's or master’s degree whilst gaining valuable work experience.
- No fees
- Earn a salary while studying
- Great employment prospects
- Full University of Exeter degrees
We offer a range of events for prospective mature students, where you can find out more about studying at the University of Exeter
Open Days and other ways to meet us
Our Open Days are designed to help you find out about studying at the University of Exeter and learn about the subjects we offer across our campuses in Devon and Cornwall. You can chat to staff and students and explore a range of web and video resources.
Lifepilot is a FREE one-stop careers information and advice website to engage and inspire adults 19+ to get back into learning/work/training and eventual progression to higher education (if appropriate).
Funded by universities in the SW and SE and managed by professional careers advisers, Lifepilot provides accurate, impartial and current information to support decision-making at all levels. Lifepilot helps adults at whatever stage they are at including:
- Moving on from a Level 3 college course
- Starting out with few qualifications
- Doing a course to prepare for degree level studies
- Choosing what, where and how to study for degree level studies
- Getting back into work through study
- Starting an apprenticeship
Lifepilot also offers useful tools including:
- Course and apprenticeship search
- Provider search
- Over 50 Job sectors and 100s of job profiles
- Higher Skills Map quiz
- Improve your skills for study activities
By creating a free account you can use Lifepilot’s Career Tools to build your own report and plan what you need to do next.
What our students say
Meet some of our mature students! Click on each image to hear their story and how they have found life at the University of Exeter.
Jess, studying Classical Studies and Philosophy, Streatham Campus
When I started at the University I was a mature student but I knew I’d be able to meet a range of people with diverse backgrounds and ages. If you put yourself out there you will bond with a diverse group of people and age won’t be a factor.
Zac, studying Zoology, Penryn Campus
I went backpacking at 24 and I saw first-hand the effects of climate change. That’s what inspired me to pursue this career. The Zoology course at Penryn looked amazing, and then when I visited on my offer holder visit day, the university just blew me away.
Ernestina, studying LLB Law with Business, Penryn Campus
A campus environment made it easy for me to make friends as I’d see people around. It’s nice to be able to easily go to the library, get a coffee, and meet up with friends without having to travel very far. There’s definitely a community feeling.
Evie, studying History, Streatham Campus
The transition from an access course to university was quite hard. I overcame it by making good friends on my course. It took a couple of months to find that group but once I did it’s really good to have those people around.
Mark, studying Environmental Science, Penryn Campus
I worked for 8 years before applying so I’m a little bit older than most undergrads. I wanted a career with more purpose. Through the university-supported Green Consultants scheme I’ve been able to get some real world experience in the sector.
Katie, studying Marine Biology, Penryn Campus
A lot of people expect they’re going to be the only one who’s a bit different, and worry that they might not fit in, but actually the university is really great at addressing that. There are a lot of students that haven’t come from traditional backgrounds.
Sophy, Exercise and Sport Sciences, graduate, St Luke's Campus
As a mature student on my course, the leaders went out of their way to support my learning, allowing for timetable adjustments and extensions during the pandemic when my daughter was home-learning, all of which made the world of difference to my outcomes.
Supporting you through your journey
Enhanced Induction Events
Held at both the Exeter and Penryn campuses, these events aim to give you the opportunity to overcome any concerns that you may have about making the transition to study at the University of Exeter. It will include familiarisation with the practical aspects of campus, an overview of what to expect from Freshers’ Week, bring together expert advice from our support services and give you the chance to meet new people in advance of starting your studies.
Both campuses arrange and support Mature Students Together networking at the start of each term in September. For more information contact email@example.com
- academic writing
- time management
- exams and revision
- digital skills
All information about Study Zone’s services, including their online study resources and drop-ins, can be found on Study Zone Digital (current students) and on Study Zone’s website (prospective students).
Students studying on Penryn campus can also access support from ASK Academic Skills.
If you are aged between 21-25 your student finance may depend on your parents’ household income. However, your parents’ income won’t be counted if you are an ‘independent’ student and have supported yourself financially for three years before your course starts.
If you are aged over 25, how much student finance you receive will depend on your own circumstances rather than your parents’ household income.
Have you studied at higher education level before?
If you have studied at higher education level before then this may affect your eligibility for student finance. For more information go to www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies
Success for All Hardship Fund
The University, in partnership with its alumni community, has created a fund to offer additional financial support if you experience unexpected financial hardship which affects your ability to study within your current academic year.
We recognise that as mature students, you may face a number of unique issues, such as having pre-existing financial commitments or caring responsibilities, and these will be considered in your application. If you have dependents, or commuting is necessary for your course, please let us know and this will be considered in your application. Please note we will ask for supporting documents to evidence these costs.
The Mature students' scholarship will be open to applications from home undergraduate students starting their studies with us in 2022. You must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify, further information can be found here
If you have children or an adult dependent you may be eligible for additional funding.
Owlets is a purpose built nursery on the Streatham Campus. The Penryn Campus is served by the Little Wonders Nursery on the campus. You may be entitled to the Childcare Grant. The amount you receive will be dependent upon your household income and is based on 85% of your actual childcare costs.
We understand that sometimes the best advice can come from those around you, and those who have been there, which is why we’ve developed a comprehensive peer support network for all our students.
This includes a pre-entry scheme that can provide useful support from August, prior to September entry to the University. You’ll receive more information about this when you’ve accepted your offer and we’ve sent you confirmation.
Students Guild/Union and societies
Our Students’ Guild (Exeter) and Students Union (Penryn) both place huge emphasis on supporting mature students in their first term of study, which is perhaps the most challenging time for mature students, particularly those who have been away from education for several years. They have societies and Facebook groups you can join helping you to meet others in a similar situation to you.
For further information please contact:
Limited car parking is available on Exeter campuses but a permit is required in order to use this.
You will need to live outside of the city or meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for a permit.
For further information about applying for a parking permit please click here
Please see the Falmouth Exeter Plus website for information about parking at the Penryn Campus.
The Mature Student Handbook is shown below or you can read it here
For all mature student queries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org