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. However you may be made an adjusted offer to that we publish as our typical offer. This is called a contextual offer. You can find out what your contextual offer would be via this checker
Where programmes have specific subject requirements, grade adjustments may not apply to those requirements. Further details can be found on our course pages.
Additional eligibility criteria for contextual offers can be found here.
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.
If you have any further queries with regards to contextual offers, please contact the Admissions team.
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 email@example.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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.
Mature Access Pathway
Join our Mature Access Pathway today.
We can help you prepare and transition into higher education.
Study online for 10 weeks, completely free
Deadline for applications: Friday 25 August at 17:00
The Mature Access Pathway is open to anyone aged 20 years or over who is considering applying for an undergraduate course at the University of Exeter and meets the programme eligibility criteria.
The programme is designed to help with your journey and transition to Higher Education. You will experience what studying at university is like and develop study skills through online workshops and live sessions. There will be opportunities to speak with staff, mentors and current undergraduate students who will ensure you receive all the information, advice and guidance required to make educated choices about your future.
Benefits of completing the Mature Access Pathway:
By successfully completing the Mature Access Pathway, the course will provide you with:
- An increased knowledge and understanding of what studying at higher education and the University of Exeter is like
- Knowledge to make informed choices about higher education
- Development of key skills to help with both your current studies and the transition to university-level study in the future
- Support through your application to Higher Education
- Guaranteed contextual offer*
- Access to additional financial and pastoral support packagesat the University of Exeter
*By successfully completing the Mature Access Pathway, you will be eligible for a guaranteed contextual offer (and/or guaranteed interview, where appropriate),* excluding Medicine.
*This applies to all University of Exeter Undergraduate courses that the applicant is eligible for. All offers and/orinvitations to interview will be made subject to applications fulfilling all baselinesubject specific and GCSE entry requirements, admissions tests, and interviews.
Applicants who receive an offer will receive up to a three grade adjustment or equivalent. However, if you apply to a course that has specific subject requirements, or involves other exceptional criteria (such as an integrated Masters programme, a Year in Industry or Study Abroad), your contextual offer may be higher, or have additional subject-linked stipulations (such as studying a minimum number of modules in, or achieving a minimum score in, key subject areas.)
The Mature Access Pathway (online) is open to anyone who meets the following criteria.
be 20 years of age or over
be considering applying for an undergraduate course at the University of Exeter
have achieved the minimum Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A-levels, BTEC etc.) that meet the contextual level entry requirements for chosen undergraduate course* OR be starting Level 3 qualifications in September 2023 that would enable you to apply for your chosen undergraduate course
have achieved any GCSE requirements for your chosen undergraduate course (if applicable)*
be eligible for Home UK fee status
Find out more about accepted qualifications. *These qualifications can be achieved within or over 3 years ago
If you have any questions about the above, or are unsure if you are eligible to apply, please feel free to get in touch with Caspian Robson (Widening Participation Admissions Officer) at:firstname.lastname@example.org
If the programme is oversubscribed, these criteria will be considered when allocating places:
You live in a neighbourhood where a low percentage of people progress to higher education as defined by your home postcode*
You live in a low-income neighbourhood as defined by home postcode*
Your parents or carers did not study at university
You have spent time in care**
You have caring responsibilities***
You have a disability
You are a refugee or asylum seeker****
* If you are not sure then you can use ourpostcode eligibility checker to find out if your postcode qualifies. This will also be checked by the University of Exeter once you have submitted your application
** Anyone who has been in care or from a looked-after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care, or looked after at home with a supervision requirement
***Anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem, or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.
****Defined as a student who has submitted a claim for asylum within the UK and is awaiting a response, who has Limited Leave to Remain in the UK, who has been awarded Humanitarian Protection or Refugee status in the UK, or who is the dependent family member of someone with one of these immigration statuses.
Course content overview:
Course outline – Delivered through Brightspace online learning platform.
The course will combine online content with live weekly online sessions which will be delivered by University of Exeter staff and current students. These live sessions will take place every Tuesday evening from 18:00-19:00 for the duration of the course.
Week 1: Welcome and course orientation – In this first module you will learn all about the pathwayand the benefits you get for completing the course, and meet staff and students from the University of Exeter.
Week 2: Student Life - In this module you will:
Learn about student life from a mature student’s perspective
Learn about the variety of clubs and societies available.
Learn about all your accommodation options
Week 3: Applying & Wellbeing support - In this module you will find:
Top tips on choosing a course and/or university
Information on the application process
Understanding of the application process and deadlines involved
Other considerations during application
Practice writing your Personal Statement
Find out about wellbeing support services available at university
Week 4: Subject Insight & Study Skills - In this module you will:
Learn about the different types of degree qualifications
Watch lectures from some of our academic staff
Learn about study skills techniques for higher education
Be introduced to the writing task
Look at different career options after university and hear from some of our alumni
Week 5: Finance – In this module you will:
Learn about budgeting and student finance and additional financial support available to you
Week 6: No live sessions - half term
Week 7: Wellbeing & Support - In this module you will:
- Learn about the wellbeing support and other support services available at university
Week 8: Careers & Employability - In this module you will:
Learn about the Career Zone and how the Careers & Employability team can support you.
Week 9: Next Steps – in this module you will:
Summarise your learning
Learn about further support to help with your application to university
The Mature Access Pathway is designed to be flexible,- although there will be weekly sessions scheduled where participants can be online together for presentations and the opportunity to ask direct questions to staff and students. These sessions will be recorded so that those who are unable to be online at certain times are able to access material. It is expected that you attend at least 4 of the 6 live sessions. Each session will be 1 hour in length. If you are unable to attend the live sessions, please do contact the team to discuss options of completing the course.
Unless otherwise stated, all course material will be posted on the Brightspace learning platform so that they can be accessed at any time throughout the duration of the course, and interaction with staff, mentors and fellow participants will take place in a variety of different ways such as quizzes and discussions forums. Participants should expect to spend roughly a few hours a week reading and completing tasks on the Brightspace platform, although this will vary from person to person.
This course is delivered online; to participate you must be able to access our online course, be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending emails and searching the Internet and have internet connectivity.
In order to complete the programme, during week 4 of the course you will be set an approx.500 word writing task. You will have until 18:00 on Friday 24 November to submit the task.
Mature Access Pathway in a Further Education college
We also deliver a Mature Access pathway to Access to Higher Education course students within further education colleges in the South West. This pathway provides participants with a comprehensive understanding of university-level studies and helps them develop their academic study skills. It includes a range of resources such as talks, workshops, online content, and on-campus experiences. The participants also benefit from opportunities to work with university staff and mature student mentors, who provide them with the necessary information, advice, and guidance to make informed and confident choices about their future. The pathway aligns with the study skills modules on the Access to Higher Education course, thereby ensuring that our students receive the support they need to succeed both during their time at college and beyond.
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 2023. 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.
An Accomodation Bursary is available for select onsight student residences. This means-tested bursary is available to Home tuition-fee status undergraduate students. For more information visit our Accomodation webpage
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