Oxford is looking for the candidates with the most academic potential, irrespective of their age or background. Just like everyone else who applies, mature students need to demonstrate academic ability and commitment to study. ('Mature student' means 21 or over at the start of October in your first year.)
As well as using the information below, you can read more about what it is like to be a mature student here on our current students' website.
Mature students are very welcome to attend our main University open days for prospective undergraduate students.
Making an application
Laura, English Language and Literature
"Before I returned to the world of academia I had several careers: accountant, police officer and interior designer! My first degree was in Business Studies at the age of 18. Since then I had hungered to study English Literature and at 38 found myself in the position to go for it. I was scared, having not studied for 17 years, but knew I had to have a go. I visited Harris Manchester on an open day and knew this was where I wanted to be.
I’m sitting in our library while I write this and, even though I have been here for three years already (I studied an undergraduate degree before embarking on my Master’s) I still feel immensely privileged to be in beautiful surroundings studying a subject I love. All the staff here are so supportive both academically and personally so what seems terrifying at first is soon made familiar and homely. My only regret is that I didn’t come sooner!"
"I had always loved history. I started taking some history courses at Birkbeck College, and after a few modules I realised that I was ready to do a structured course. I knew that the Department for Continuing Education at Oxford offered one-to-one tutorials, that the class size would be relatively small, and that there would be a week’s full-time study after the first year which all seemed ideal.
To start with I was worried about everything from essays and class discussions to exams, but it really helped being part of a group.
After I completed my Foundation Certificate I was very keen to pursue an academic path, and the programme directors fully supported my application to Oxford University. I am now excited to be reading History as a second year undergraduate student."
Most Popular Questions
Would insufficient grades from school prevent me from applying?
We do understand that people often develop their academic interests and skills later in life. Having lower grades from school will not prevent you from making a successful application, as long as you are able to demonstrate recent academic achievement and exceptional academic ability.
Who should write my academic reference?
Normally your referee should be a teacher or tutor at your current or most recent place of education. Your reference needs to be submitted before the 15 October deadline, so do make sure to approach your referee in plenty of time. There is guidance for them on how to write a reference for UCAS on our advice for teachers page.
Where can I sit an admissions test?
Arranging to sit an admissions test can be a little trickier for mature applicants, so do make sure you give this your earliest attention. For most tests, you can either register at one of the many open test centres around the world, or ask your current place of study to become a centre where you can sit the test. Please see our individual test pages for more information on how to register.