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There are no typical mature students - anyone aged 21 or over at the start of their studies is defined as a mature student or adult learner. You may be returning to study for many different reasons – for example:

  • for career or personal development
  • to pursue an interest
  • to find a new direction

Our Mature students booklet details support available

Whatever your reasons, the University of Cumbria offers a wide variety of courses and support once you’re here.

  • Thinking about returning to study?

    You can check out our entry requirements on our course pages. You may already have all the qualifications you need to study at university, or you may be advised to refresh your learning first by doing additional study such as an Access course. Our Course Enquiry Centre will be able to give you more specific information. We also hold Open Days where you can find out more about the university and its courses.

  • What to expect - weekly time commitments

    The hours of study vary from course to course. For some professional courses such as nursing you will need to be at university four or five days a week. Health and teaching courses usually include some full-time placements as part of the course. On other courses you may only be at university two or three day weeks a week. Some courses also offer part-time routes.

  • How to apply

    For undergraduate full-time courses you apply online via UCAS, even if you are no longer at school or college. UCAS have produced an informative guide about all aspects of being a mature student. You can find information on applying for other courses on our course information pages.

  • Getting ready for study

    Head Start is a short online course designed to bridge the gap into Higher Education. It can be especially useful if you haven’t studied for some time. It is open to everyone who has been offered a place on one of our undergraduate courses.

    Head Start introduces you to the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE). It also prepares you for university study by exploring the following:

    • Effective learning approaches
    • Accessing and evaluating information
    • Academic writing
    • Referencing

    Of students who completed Head Start in Summer 2012, 89% of respondents stated that Head Start had helped them feel more confident about studying at university.

  • Finance

    Find out about financial support for students. Some students on low incomes may also be eligible for a bursary. Don’t forget that you don’t need to start repaying your tuition fee loan until you have graduated and are earning over £25,000.

    Our Money Advice Servicer is here to help you plan your finances and manage your money whilst studying. Student Finance England offers information and advice for all students plus extra information for those with dependent children or adults. are here to help you plan your finances and manage your money whilst studying. offers information and advice for all students plus extra information for those with dependent children or adults.

    If you have a registered disability, you may also be eligible for some extra support for your studies. Find out about the disabled students allowance.

  • Childcare

    We have an on-campus nursery at our Lancaster campus for children aged 0 - 5 years. You may be eligible for support with childcare costs.

  • Accommodation

    Our halls of residence are open to mature students. Find out more about accommodation at all our campuses

  • Support once you start your course

    Academic Support

    During induction week you will introduced to the Library. The Library provides 24 hour access to online study skills resources and our huge range of eresources so that you can find support and academic resources even when you’re off campus.

    Our Library and Academic Advisors lead academic skills sessions and are available for one-to-one appointments and can help you make the most of the resources that are available to you.

    Bespoke Support

    Mature Student Drop ins: relaxed, informal gatherings and a chance to meet other mature students.

    Dedicated Email Address: a direct line for you to share your experiences of being a mature student and let us know changes you want to see: maturestudents@cumbria.ac.uk

    Returners to Education Student Representative: a mature student representative on the Student’s Union Panel so that your voice can be heard.

    Disability and Specific Learning Difficulty Support covers a range of services to enable students with a disability or SpLD to access courses.  Make sure you receive the support that you are entitled to.

  • Health and Wellbeing

    The university offers confidential support and advice in a number of ways:

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