Advice and guidance for mature students

Can I go to university?

Many adults feel that higher education is not for them. You may feel too old, you don’t have the qualifications, or it is just not for you. You may not know someone who has been to university, but that does not mean that you can’t start studying.

What you may not realise is that you have a wealth of valuable life and work experience that universities value. We welcome enquiries from anyone who is interested at studying at university, whatever your age and background.

How do I get into university?

There are a variety of different entry routes into university; you just need to find the right one for you. If you already have some qualifications and would like to know if they meet our entry requirements please get in touch. If you do not have the relevant entry qualifications there are a variety of routes you can take.



Highers / A Levels

You can study Highers and A Levels at a number of local colleges. Most of our entry requirements ask for a minimum of four Highers or three A Levels; Nursing requires three Highers. The specific entry requirements differ for each degree so you should consult our course pages before committing yourself to a programme of Highers.

Approved Access Course

Access courses are designed specifically for mature students who have few or no formal qualifications, and who have been out of formal education for some time. They provide both the academic qualifications to gain entry to a degree and tailored support, guidance and study skills throughout the course to ensure students are ready for university.

The university will accept applications from the following approved access programmes: -

  • Access to Degree Studies - University of Stirling - the university runs its' own Access to Degree Studies programme for mature students. Contact our Mature Student Advisers for more advice.
  • Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) – this is a consortium of colleges and universities across Scotland working together to provide dedicated access courses for mature students. The university is a member of both SWAP East and SWAP West and we warmly welcome applications from SWAP students. To find out more about courses in your area please go to

  • Highland agreement - to support students in the Highlands and Islands considering a degree in Nursing we have agreements with local colleges who run approved access programmes for mature students. For more advice please contact our Highland campus office for more advice - / + 44 (0) 1463 255655.
  • Other Scottish university access programmes - we may accept access courses run by other universities. Please check any course with our UK Undergraduate Admissions team before committing to a course of study to ensure it meets all the entry requirements for your degree.
  • England, Wales and Northern Ireland - we will accept Access to Degree Studies courses approved by the QAA. Courses should be a minimum of 60 credits, with at least 45 credits at QCF Level 3 and we expect students to achieve an average of 60% or above. Please check any course with our UK Undergraduate Admissions team before committing to a course of study to ensure it meets all the entry requirements for your degree.

N.B. Please note we do not currently accept NC courses as a suitable qualification for entry.

Higher National Certificate / Higher National Diploma (HNC / HND)

We accept HNC and HND qualifications for entry into year one of our degree programmes. For more information, including advice on possible advanced entry routes, please consult our college student pages.

Open University

We are happy to accept Open University credits. Typically we look for a minimum of 60 credits at OU Level 1 in a related subject. If you would like advice on the suitability of a particular module, please get in touch.

How do I apply?

To find out more about how to apply to university please consult our ‘How to Apply’ section for more information.

Where do I get help? 

If you would like to discuss your options, or talk through what it might be like to come to university, contact our Widening Participation Manager who can provide advice online or, if you would prefer, arrange a face-to-face interview.

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