Doing a postgrad degree as a mature student

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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If you are over 23 years old and thinking of doing your postgraduate degree, you’re what’s known as a mature student. Yes, you are older, but also wiser!

Many people don’t do a Masters straight after graduating. Lots of graduates prefer to get some work experience first. Others take time out to travel, raise a family, or deal with an illness. Finally, some are simply unsure whether they should continue in the same field or convert to a different disciple.

No, you’re not too old!

If you are in your thirties, forties or older, you may be concerned that you’re too long out of education. While this does make doing a postgraduate seem daunting, you won’t be alone. Most postgraduate students are older than 25. Furthermore, mature students with life experience and a range of professional skills often get more out of postgraduate study.

Most postgrad students want to change or improve their career prospects; others are keen on intellectual challenge. Whatever your reason, it’s never too late to return to college.

Consider your life skills  

As a mature student, you’ll have a number of skills younger students may lack. These include organisational, communication and negotiating skills. Parents quickly learn these skills! You are also more likely to have knowledge of a wider range of issues too. If your work experience is in a similar or related discipline to your postgrad course, you’ll have a distinct advantage here too. However, whatever your work background, real world experience is invaluable.


If you’ve previously been put off postgraduate study by the cost, new funding initiatives may help you to pursue your ambitions. From 2017, SUSI maintenance grants for postgraduate students have been made available. Students in the lowest income category can apply for the postgraduate maintenance grant, worth almost €6,000. Grants are also on offer for lone parents and Travellers.

Mature students who attended but did not complete an approved course will be able to apply for a grant as new student. However, the student must have had a five-year break in studying to be eligible.

Anne Sexton

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  1. Ade badejo 12th January 2022 at 9:05 am

    I have B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering since 1992. With 29 year working experience in the field. Now which I could do course in Engineering for my M.SC and P.HD program. Is this possible for me to achieve in your post graduate universities.

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