Mature Students

We make it easy to come back to school.  Whether you are returning to full-time or a part-time education as a mature student, NUI Galway has a wide range of courses and student supports for you.

What is a mature student?

The National University of Ireland defines a mature student as anyone over 23 years of age for the purposes of full-time study and 21 years for students interested in taking a course on a part-time basis. There are a number of benefits to returning to education as a mature student, including resuming a disrupted education, improving your employment opportunities or developing you intellectual interests.

Study modes

Students wishing to study full-time make a commitment over the three or four years of their programme to attend lectures on a daily basis and free up any outside commitments during the semester lecture times.  Attending a part-time course is different as these programmes are offered in the evenings or on the weekends. Many of our courses are offered on a modular basis, to take into account the demands made on mature students. This means that you are given manageable amounts of learning, which you can combine with your work and family commitments.

Some courses are taught using blended learning (a form of distance learning), which allows you to study at times that suit you best. It is a combination of self-instructional learning materials, traditional face-to-face lectures and workshops, online discussions, self-assessment activities, assignments and formal examinations.


Mature students can apply for most of the undergraduate degree courses for the purposes of full-time study at NUI Galway. The University also offers Adult and Continuing Education courses for adults who are returning to learning.
We offer full-time, part-time and modular courses so you can choose a course with a schedule that works for you.

For a full listing of courses offered on a part-time basis, take a look at the Adult & Continuing Education programmes section.

Outreach Programmes

NUI Galway has developed a number of part-time outreach programmes in response to the need for local education in communities all around the Border, Midlands and Western Region (BMW). Students can attend lectures on Access, Diploma and Degree courses at these outreach facilities in their own locality, giving them an opportunity to talk face-to-face with the tutors and fellow students. The programme has been extended to include Counties Clare, Donegal, Offaly, Longford, Laois and Derry.
The University's access programme has also expanded its activities to enhance access and promote new lifelong learning opportunities across the Border, Midlands and Western Region and Co. Clare.


NUI Galway offers a number of supports to students who are parents.  Get more information on childcare at NUI Galway.

Entry requirements

Part-time courses

Many of the part-time programmes offered by NUI Galway have no formal entry requirements once students meet the part-time mature student entry criteria of 21 years of age or over, on January 1st of year of entry . Admission may be made on the basis of an application form and on occasion, interview.  Contact the programme coordinators for further information in relation to entry requirements

Full-time programmes

If you are applying for a full time undergraduate programme as a mature student through CAO, you must be 23 years of age or over on January 1st of year of entry.

Mature students applying for postgraduate taught or research programmes will generally need a third-level qualification. However, you should contact the Graduate Studies Office for more information.

Study support

If you have been away from formal education for some time, you may find the prospect of exams and assignments daunting. However, our staff is very supportive and will help you in any way possible. We generally offer additional study, examination techniques, applied writing, reading skills and memory technique workshops to students on our full-time and part-time programmes. These are provided outside of regular class hours and can help you prepare for your course assignments and end of semester examinations.

Contact us

Entry to full-time undergraduate programmes

Trish Hoare, Mature Students Officer
National University of Ireland Galway
University Road
T 353 (0)91 492 695
F 353 (0)91 494 505

Entry to postgraduate taught or research programmes

  • See how to apply for postgraduate programmes

Find out more

Mature Students Officer
NUI Galway
University Road
T 353 (0)91 492 695
F 353 (0)91 494 505
E trish.hoare

Adult and Continuing Education Office
NUI Galway
University Road
T 353 91 492062
E adulteducation