Mature students

At Sussex, we appreciate the experience and knowledge mature students bring to our University. We accept students with a range of qualifications and backgrounds, including students who apply on the strength of wider experience rather than formal academic qualifications.

Students studying in lecture theatre at University of Sussex

Applying as a mature student

If you have been away from education for some time, we recommend you take an academic qualification before applying.

This will help you develop your study skills, increase your knowledge of a particular discipline and prepare you for the demands of degree level study. It will also strengthen your application.

For mature students, the two most common qualifications to take are the Access to Higher Education Diploma or an Open University course, but we also accept a range of UK qualifications and international qualifications.

Whatever you choose to study before applying to Sussex, you need to check our entry requirements, listed with each of our undergraduate courses. This will ensure you are taking a qualification which meets any subject specific entry requirements, including GCSE (or equivalent) requirements.

For example, you’ll need a qualification with A-level standard Biology and Chemistry to be qualified for our Biochemistry degrees, and successful applicants for our Psychology degrees must have GCSE-level Mathematics at grade B standard.

Applying on the strength of experience

For courses without specific A-level or GCSE requirements, there are occasions where we might consider your life and work experience instead of formal qualifications.

You apply to Sussex in the usual way through UCAS. If we then decide your UCAS application is strong and shows potential, you would be asked to write an essay of around 1,500 words on a choice of topics related to your chosen subject.

You would have approximately five weeks to complete the piece of work and would be asked to attend an interview to discuss the essay.

The decision to place you through this admissions route depends on the strength of your initial UCAS application. As competition at Sussex for places is high, we would always advise you to take formal qualifications before applying.

Unfortunately, if you are an American applicant intending to apply for US federal funding, this process would not be available for you. Federal regulations state that you must have a secondary school completion credential (high school diploma) or the recognised equivalent of a secondary school completion credential to be eligible to apply for Federal Student Aid. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid.

Foundation Years

If you do not have the qualifications or relevant experience for direct entry into the first year of our undergraduate courses, you could be eligible for one of our degrees with an integrated Foundation Year.

If you successfully complete the Foundation Year, you continue your studies on to a relevant undergraduate degree.

You still need to meet any specific entry requirements (such as certain GCSEs) when applying for a Foundation Year.

Find out more about our Foundation Years

Applying to Sussex

You apply to Sussex through UCAS. You must write a personal statement as part of your application.

UCAS provides information about applying as a mature student. You can also see the UCAS tips for mature students.

If you are applying on the strength of life experience, you should submit your application to UCAS before their initial deadline for applications on the last Wednesday in January.

Financial help

There is no age limit for government-supported student finance. This means you are able to apply for a student loan, as long as it is your first degree.

Find out more about Student Finance.

You can also see our fees and search for scholarships.


We have on-campus accommodation and some University-managed accommodation in Brighton & Hove.

You may also be eligible for our family accommodation.

Find out more about our accommodation

Support for mature students

As a mature student we understand that you may have to balance other commitments with your study. That’s why we have a dedicated support network to help you achieve your degree while balancing your work or family life.

Our support includes:

  • an induction for mature students when you start
  • an advice centre for mature students run by the Students’ Union
  • a mentor scheme to help you with academic work.

Find out more about our student support

Pre-application information sessions

You can attend our pre-application information sessions for prospective mature students.

These sessions cover general information about applying to university as a mature student, including advice about personal statements, welfare and finance, and a guided tour of our campus.

Sussex embraced the concept of older students and were prepared to consider alternative methods for evaluating whether an applicant could cope with the academic course.Jonathan Catherwood
Politics Graduate

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