5 reasons to become a mature postgraduate student

Author
Fiona Holden, University of Kent
Posted
November, 2016

Did you know that most postgraduate students are older than 25? If you're considering becoming a mature student, here are some of the perks…

Accessibility

Postgraduate study isn't just open to people with an undergraduate degree; your work experience or professional qualifications may allow you to enrol on a wide variety of taught or research programmes.

Students choose postgraduate study for many different reasons, but most are either looking for a personal or intellectual challenge or to advance or change their career. Mature students are far from being the odd ones out, and their wealth of knowledge and diverse backgrounds really benefits the whole group's learning experience.

As a mature student, you will have developed wide-ranging organisational, communication and negotiating skills – whether with colleagues or your own children. Your knowledge base will be wide, and you'll be encouraged to bring your professional and personal learning into your degree. Although you may not think of them as academic or formal qualifications, these skills are invaluable for your study.

Range of courses

Looking to develop or change your career? You'll find there's a wealth of options to help you achieve this. For example, you may have a passion for economics, social work, or perhaps creative writing – you'll find a route into each of these through postgraduate study.

Sometimes you may study a conversion course that will cover the basics, or perhaps you will build on your first degree or work experience in a specialist field.

Search for courses at the University of Kent.

Availability of funding

If you've previously been put off postgraduate study by the cost, new funding initiatives may help you to pursue your ambitions.

The UK government now awards Masters loans of up to £10,000, while Erasmus+ Masters Loans aim to encourage study in a different country.

If neither of these is suitable, then Professional and Career Development Loans are still available. You may also find that the university where you studied your first degree will offer you a discount to return.

Wide variety of study options

Many mature students combine their study with work or family commitments; luckily, technology has led to an increase in the number of programmes that are delivered by alternative means.

Students can choose to study completely online, through blended learning - which combines attendance (usually in blocks) with online teaching - or by module to break down the periods of study.

If you're unsure whether postgraduate study really is for you, consider enrolling on a postgraduate taster course. This will give you an idea of what your return to university will involve.

Fantastic support networks

Study and social support for all types of student has evolved hugely in recent years, and is now embedded across teaching practice. Universities often have dedicated resources to support mature students who feel that they need to brush up on their research, essay-writing or technological skills.

What's more, students' unions usually have dedicated social events for mature students - so you'll never feel isolated.

Find out more