Support for adult students
Looking to upskill, make a career change, or study for the first time since high school? With a broad range of professional development courses, flexible study options and excellent support services, UC is a great choice for adult students – whether it is your first time at university or you are seeking a postgraduate qualification.
If it’s been a while since you last studied, you may need to polish up some of those writing and study skills. The Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) is a thirteen week course specifically designed to help you gain the skills needed to succeed at university. CUP is a proven path back into education as it meets the requirements for University Entrance and is recommended for people who have been out of study for a substantial period and want to refresh their study skills.
Only want to study one or two courses?
A Certificate of Proficiency enables you to select a course or courses to develop your own individual adult education programme to meet your learning needs.
If you successfully complete this, your results are recorded on your academic transcript and can be recognised through a printed certificate. If you decide to stay at UC to complete a formal qualification, the courses taken may be credited towards your qualification, but this will not happen automatically.
Certificates & diplomas
If you don’t have the time to commit to a full degree, or simply want to upskill or reskill in a particular field, you will find various short career development options at UC.
UC offers undergraduate bachelor degrees across a large range of disciplines. Bachelor degrees can prepare you for a specific career path or offer a pathway to postgraduate study or research.
Wanting to change career?
Graduate certificates and diplomas can enable people with a bachelor's degree to change subject focus and be a first step to a new career. Some graduate qualifications, for example the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching, are professional qualifications that prepare you for a specific career.
If you have a bachelor’s degree and have been in the workforce for a number of years, postgraduate study can help you gain more specialised skills in your area of interest. Some, but not all, postgrad study can be done part-time while you are in work.
- Postgraduate certificates and diplomas
- Honours degrees
- Masters degrees – research masters or coursework (taught) masters
- PhDs and Doctoral degrees
If coming to campus is not an option, we do offer some programmes online or by distance. To see what courses are available via distance, do an Advanced Course Search and choose ‘distance’ from the ‘site’ tab.
- Read Haley’s story about studying by distance
- Information on course fees and funding
- If you haven’t studied at tertiary level before, you may be eligible for the government Fees-Free scheme in your first year of study.
- Some scholarships are available for mature students, such as:
- Students over the age of 55 may qualify for a College of Arts Award for lifelong learners to receive 50% off their first enrolment for up to 120 points of undergraduate courses.
Other questions you may have
- What are key enrolment dates?
- How do I apply to enrol?
- Can I transfer credits from another programme of study?
- What do various university words mean?
- What is the difference between lectures and tutorials? A lecture is where an academic staff member presents course material to a large group of students. Tutorials are smaller classes where you put into practice the material you’ve learnt in the lecture and associated readings for the subject. Some degrees might have practicals, seminars or laboratory classes as well.
- What sort of time commitment will it be? Allow about 150 hours for each 15-point undergraduate course. For semester-long courses that is a workload of just over 10 hours a week on average, including reading the online course materials and working on assignments.
Guidance and advice
Our UC team can help you explore different study options, answer your questions and help you decide whether to study part-time or full-time, by distance or in a short-term block course. (Not all options are available for all courses/programmes.)
- To discuss undergraduate study - contact our Liaison team
- To discuss postgraduate study - contact the student advisor in the College that teaches the subject/qualification you are interested in
- Use the online resources provided by our UC Careers team
- Call our Contact Centre or use our AskUC Chat if you aren’t sure who to talk to.
Once you are enrolled, stepping into university life as an adult might seem daunting, but at UC we’re here to make the transition to adult study easy and enjoyable. You may have conflicting priorities to juggle, such as family and work, so knowing what support is available can help ensure your success.
As an adult student, you can access all the support services available to all new students, such as health services, the UC RecCentre, student advisors, academic skills workshops and Student Care to help you stay on track. Student health and wellbeing is important to us, so all students are encouraged to ask for help – especially when things don’t go quite to plan.
We also have some specific additional support for adult students, such as those shown below.
Academic skills for adult students’ programme
The Academic Skills Centre provides one-to-one support, tutorials, and workshops to all UC students, along with an adult student orientation and four adult student tutorials at the start of each semester. These can help you make a smooth transition to university studies as well as make connections with other mature students.
‘The Living Room’ next to the University Bookshop is a dedicated space for postgraduate students to hang out and connect with fellow students.
Students with families
Juggling family commitments is not always easy, so UC support includes:
- On campus day-care services
- Parent rooms for nursing parents in Forestry Room 236, with facilities for breastfeeding and bottle feeding such as a kettle and microwave for heating bottles, a fridge for keeping milk cool and a chair with a power point beside it to allow for expressing.
- Baby-changing facilities in Puaka-James Hight – in the male toilets of Level 1 (accessible from the Undercroft) and in the female toilets of Level 2 (accessible from the Central Library).
Social activities to enhance your student experience
If you can find the time, here are some ways to make connections with other mature students or people with similar interests:
Who is an adult or mature student?
UC defines adult students as students over the age of 20. If you are over 20 and do not have University Entrance through NCEA or equivalent secondary school study, you can apply to UC through Adult Entry status.
New Journey. New Confidence.
"I came to a point where knew I needed to either suck it up and stay on a path I wasn't really enjoying, or do something different. I decided to do go with different."
New Skills. New Purpose.
“Being able to study part-time is key for me because I still need to work to support myself. There’s a lot of flexibility in how you study at UC. You can use different facilities on campus like the library and you can also access resources from home for assignments or studying.”
Personal Passion. Career Progression.
“It's been 10 years since I studied, and this is another level. I spent a lot of time at the Academic Skills Centre when I started. They’re experts in their field and really help you sharpen up your skills.”
Role Model & Lifelong Learner.
“I haven't really noticed a contrast between the younger students and the older students. It's a testament to UC’s culture that everybody just fits in. Everyone gets on with it and gets along nicely.”
Next Up: Dream Job
“To have done a course that has led directly to my ideal role has been incredible. If it wasn't for this Masters I'd still be where I was last year. It’s not so much a ladder as a fast moving escalator.”
Realising her Lifelong Dream.
“I’ve been blown away by how kind, helpful and talented the younger students are. Age is not an obstacle. As long as you keep your original ambition in mind, you can realise your dream at UC.”
New Career Ahead.
“At first I was a bit daunted about being slightly older, but it's a really mature crowd. There are people younger and older than me. I’m seen as a bit of an adviser. There are lots of small things I’ve lived through and I get to pass my insight onto others.”
Personal Growth. Professional Development.
“One drawcard of this course is the fact that you can still work full-time. It’s made up of “block courses” so you’re only off work one day a month. 90% of us work full-time.”