UCA has a long tradition of welcoming students of all ages to our campuses. Whether you’re looking to retrain for a new creative career, are returning to education to boost your knowledge and skillset, or want to turn a hobby into something more, a creative qualification can help.

This page gives the answers to some of the questions we are most often asked by our adult learners, to help you make an informed decision on what pathway you wish to take.

If you have any further questions, please contact Andy Malone, Academic Schools Liaison Lead.


We offer the following entry levels to our courses.

  • Integrated Foundation Year – this year-long introductory course will be ‘built-in’ to whatever BA/BSc/BMus undergraduate degree you choose. But if you change your mind about your degree specialism over your foundation year, it’s not a problem - you can easily transfer to study a different course at undergraduate level.

  • Undergraduate degree – if you’re clear on what you want to study, and have the required qualifications (for mature learners these can be based more on past experience than grades and exams), you can join us for an undergraduate degree.

  • Postgraduate (taught) degree – if you have a bachelor’s degree and want to revisit a topic in more depth, you can join one of our postgraduate courses . Most are one year long (MFA Fine Art and MFA Photography take two years) and require robust research enquiry and independent learning.

  • Postgraduate (research) degree – for some mature students, the pinnacle of learning is the PhD. Our Doctoral College offers a home for you to add your specialism to our extensive list of highly successful research outputs.

You can find out more on our dedicated levels of study page.

As you’ll be joining us at a different life stage, we know your qualifications might look a bit different to 18 and 19 year-olds’. There’s no need to worry about this. 

With all our students, we look for more than just grades when considering applications. When you apply, just tell us what qualifications you have and clearly outline any past experiences that support your application.

The Course Team will then be able to decide whether they can offer a place. If you’re still a little short on what’s required, they will look at offering you integrated foundation or pre-masters pathways that can get you where you need to be. 

If you have any questions, you can email us at admissions@uca.ac.uk

Tuition fees vary depending on what level of study you are undertaking, and whether you are a UK or international student. We can help you through the process of planning your finances. You can find out all about fees and finance – and information on our range of scholarships – on our dedicated page.

If you’re a mature student, your university experience will likely be quite different to those who are coming to university fresh from school and living away from home for the first time.  We understand you may have a range of other commitments that may mean you need more flexibility or support.

  • We record webinars and online presentations so you can watch them at a time that suits you
  • Our Specialist Advisers can help with the transition into higher education and provide confidential support from an initial enquiry through to graduation
  • We can meet with you at Open Days, or arrange for you to visit the campus of your choice on a separate date
  • We can offer funding advice, support with student finance applications and help make sure you receive all the funding you’re entitled to
  • We can advise on applying for UCA discretionary funds (mature students are a priority group)
  • Our wellbeing services are on hand to help with any academic issues, money worries or support in balancing your work-life commitments
  • We can help you access other helpful services or external organisations

You can find out more about what’s on offer on our campuses on our Student Services page.

Webinar: Applying to University as a Mature Student

Join us on Wednesday 28 February 2024 for an engaging online webinar that provides you with the latest insights, expert knowledge, and a unique opportunity to interact directly with our panel of experts!

Book your place now

Our access and participation plan

Our access and participation plan sets out what we are doing to improve equality of opportunity for under-represented groups to access and succeed in higher education.