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Durham University


Mature students

If you are 21 years or over and would like to study for a Durham University degree we would delighted to receive an application from you and will be able to consider this in a holistic way, taking account of your skills, experience and interests, whether you have formal qualifications or not.

Some of our mature students have been looking for a change of career or a stimulating course to study in retirement, but we are happy to consider applications from mature students, whatever your particular circumstances.

If you have been out of education for a while or do not have experience or qualifications at Level 3 (equivalent to A levels), we can help to prepare you for undergraduate studies with a Foundation Year. Our Foundation programmes incorporate a year of preparation for the main part of the degree course and help you to develop the skills and knowledge you will need to succeed in your chosen degree.


We provide comprehensive support for mature students to get back into learning or to progress from their current studies.

This includes:

  • Support and guidance before you apply to us to help you choose the right course for you
  • In-course support from a dedicated academic advisor and college mentor
  • Introductory sessions
  • Social events and representation specifically for mature students
  • On-campus childcare facilities (at Durham City) and links with local childcare providers
  • Comprehensive careers advice and guidance from our Careers and Enterprise Centre.
  • Mature Students Association


All colleges welcome mature students, whether you choose to live in college or not. Your college can help you settle in to returning to study through the tutorial system and college groups.

“I decided to enter Higher Education as a mature student in order to facilitate a change in career. I have a passion for Archaeology and Durham University’s Foundation programme gave me the opportunity to follow my dreams.

The support of all the staff and fellow students has been amazing, with their willingness to offer advice and guidance when needed. I am delighted to have passed my Foundation and begin my degree in Archaeology. This has given me so much confidence in my ability to succeed.”

Adam Mead, Archaeology with Foundation student