Undergraduate study

Mature students

Two mature female students in their graduation gowns walking through the campus smiling together

Studying at Essex as a mature student

Impatient for a fresh start? Join our diverse community of students who have decided to gain their degree later in life. Mature learners make up 28% of our student community, so whether you're 21 or 51, a career changer or a home maker, your dedication to education is all that matters.

We appreciate that starting your degree as a mature student can have its challenges, especially if you have other life commitments such as family or work. That’s why we offer a wide range of support services to make your transition into education as smooth as possible.

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Student support

Mature students make up 28% of our campus community, so you’ll be around lots of like-minded people. We also offer dedicated support and guidance for mature students so you can make the most of your university experience.  

The Mature Students' Hub is a social community hub run by our Students' Union. Their aim is to ensure you feel supported in our community, by signing up to socialise with other mature students. The Mature Students' Hub hosts several social events throughout the year including the Mature Students' Mixer to celebrate your entry into university. Here you can meet your peers, share your stories and make study buddies for life.  

No matter how big or small the issue, our Student Services Hub are here to answer your questions and give confidential advice. We also have dedicated professionals on-site to offer mental-health support including assessments and referrals for counselling.  

If you choose to rent accommodation while you study, you can also receive accommodation support from the Residence Life team on campus or SU Homes for houses off campus.

Fees and funding

We understand that funding a degree as a mature student takes careful consideration. If you have a mortgage, rented property, or a family to support, then tuition fees, accommodation and commuting costs are a big factor in your decision making. We know money matters. That’s why there are a range of ways you can fund your university education.

If this is your first time at university, then you may be eligible for a government-backed student loan to help fund tuition. You can also browse our Scholarship Finder for opportunities for bursaries and scholarships.

If you are looking to live on campus, you can choose a home that fits your budget. We offer several types of accommodation with either shared or en suite bathroom facilities. This is a guaranteed home to all first-year students and we even have dedicated flats for mature students if you are concerned about living with young people.

Employability

As an Essex student, we don’t just want you to succeed in your course, but also in your future career. We will help you to build confidence in your skills before you start job hunting. When you study with us, you will have access to one-to-one professional advice through our Career Mentoring Programme as well as personal awards, career events, and workshops to add to your CV. We're also really proud of the fact that 90% of our undergraduate graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023).

Courses and requirements

You can choose to study any of our 400+ undergraduate courses spanning the breadth of science and health, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Most of our courses offer a year abroad or a placement year so you can gain hands-on experience in another country or in industry that you can put into practice once you graduate. With such a wide range of courses, there’s a subject for everyone, so browse all our undergraduate courses and find the right one for you.

We’re pleased to consider a range of qualifications, including Access to HE Diplomas, A-levels, BTECs, and practicing professional qualifications. We recognise that students come from all backgrounds and embrace the different experiences that mature learners bring to our community, including those with non-traditional academic backgrounds. We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.  

Depending on your application, some mature applicants are considered for our Essex Pathways Department, which offers a foundation-year before the start of the first year of degree study. This year will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to progress and succeed on your guaranteed course.  

If you can’t see your qualification above, or have any questions, you can chat to a member of our admissions team via email at admit@essex.ac.uk.  

Study facilities

We could talk about our state-of-the-art STEM Centre, our amazing Sport Arena, our unique virtual trading floor or housing the internationally renowned collection of Latin American Art, ESCALA, but we know that the importance of our facilities isn’t just about studying, they’re for socialising too.

We are proud to share our Colchester Campus with the Green Flag award-winning Wivenhoe Park. Covering 200 acres and housing over 2,800 trees the beautiful parklands are a firm favourite for our students. Settle in on a grassy knoll by the lake to study, have lunch or socialise with your friends. There are lots of other on-campus spots to study or socialise including our library, cafes, restaurants and our secret garden. If you’re looking for something more active you can visit our theatre, cinema, gym, or play on our 18-hole disc golf course. You can also take part in a sports club, join or create a society or get involved in an art project - there is just so much to get involved in on campus!

If you’re lucky enough to study a course at our sunny Southend Campus, you can enjoy award-winning beaches in one of the warmest places in the UK. Southend is also home to the longest pier in the world, its own theme park, a water sports club plus lots of other fun seaside activities. Whenever you need to take a well-deserved study break you can step out for a revitalising breath of fresh air, have a fun day out, or find a private spot to study. With seven miles of coastline to explore, you’re sure to find a part of the beach that’s just right for you.

On campus you’ll find outstanding study facilities, including learning hubs, silent study spaces and presentation points. Our Southend Campus is also proud to house a state-of-the-art library with over 150,000 books, plus our very own Dental Skills Lab for students building a career in oral health. If you need support for anything, from IT questions to employability, the Students Services Hub is available to you 24/7 every day of the year. Learn more about student life at Southend-on-Sea.

Childcare facilities

Studying as an adult learner can be challenging, especially if you have young children at home. At Essex, we have an on-site nursery for pre-school children called Wivenhoe Park Day Nursery. Just a five-minute walk from the centre of the Colchester Campus, the nursery provides high-quality interactive and educational indoor and outdoor activities for children of Essex students and staff. If you have a child aged between 3-months and 5-years, you can study at ease, knowing your child is in great hands. 

For older children, there are school holiday childcare options like our CHUMS classes run by Essex Sport. Your child can enjoy fun activities including a wide range of sports, quiz teams, games and arts and crafts while spending time with their peers. CHUMS classes are split into three age groups, 5-7, 8-10 and 11-14 years, and each includes multiple activities tailored to the child’s age and ability. 

Mature female student studying in a classroom with other students
Mature learners podcast

Dedicated to adults who are interested in returning to learning, we speak to current adult learner Abi and tutor from ACL Essex Matt, who share their experiences of learning and teaching. Listen to their top tips to succeed and thrive as an adult learner.

Listen to the podcast
Undergraduate admissions
Got questions? We are always open to chat. You can contact us via email, or give us a call on the number below
Telephone: 01206 873666