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Mature Students

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Mature students are anyone over the age of 21 who didn’t go to university after school or college.  At University Campus Oldham, we welcome students returning to Higher Education after doing something else in life or who have had a change in personal circumstances before returning to studying.  In fact 73% of our students are ages 21 or over.


At UCO, we realise that making the decision to enter Higher Education after a period in work or caring for family can be a daunting one to make.  You may have questions about your qualifications or work experience and also about how study will fit in with existing commitments.  No matter what your concerns, our staff have extensive experience of working with mature students to help you achieve your aspirations.  You may want to enter a profession where a degree is required, such as teaching or social work, or you may simply want to know more about a particular subject.  Whatever your motivation, Higher Education can boost your career prospects and earning potential, as well as provide an opportunity to gain subject expertise and transferable skills to progress your future career.

Entry Qualifications and Your experience

All of our courses have minimum qualification requirements, but as a mature student the experiences you bring with you are important.  This may be work experience, or experience juggling commitments such as caring responsibilities.  If you have any questions about how your experience relates to the course(s) you are applying for, contact the HE Admissions Team, who will be able to put you in touch with the relevant course tutor.

Help for parents

Studying whilst caring for children can be a huge challenge, but you certainly won’t be the only one juggling Higher Education and home life. Many of our students are also parents and we try to ensure our timetables are family friendly to help with those commitments at the beginning and end of the day.

The Government offers financial support for parents in Higher Education including Childcare Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and help with paying for childcare. To find out more about this support visit the website.

Finding the right childcare

Butterflies Nursery at Oldham College offers childcare for UCO students. The service gets extremely busy, so you should contact them as early as possible to discuss your requirements – Butterflies. If you need any help finding childcare you can search for local childcare providers on the Oldham Council website.

Next Steps

Before making your decision about what and where to study, we strongly recommend you speak to one of our lecturers and/or attend one of our Open Days.  Our lecturers are always happy to talk through your qualifications and experience and to answer any questions you may have about being a mature student.  If you would like to make an appointment to discuss your options, contact our HE Admissions Team on 0161 344 8800, or email