Should you get a master’s degree as a mature student?

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If World War II veteran Elizabeth Bernice Barker-Johnson could achieve a Bachelor of Science in Special Education at the age of 99, you could pursue a master’s degree at any age.

By Shekinah Kannan 

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Thinking of getting a master’s degree as a mature student? The saying “age is just a number” is especially true when it comes to learning and upskilling.

Whether you’re feeling burned out at your job, feel stuck in a career that you’re not particularly passionate about, or are eager to pivot to something new, a master’s degree will always be a good choice regardless if you’re in your 30s, 50s, or older.

While the thought of going back to university as a mature student might be daunting, there are many reasons why students with a fair amount of life experience have the upper hand. 


The upside to getting a master’s degree later in your career

According to UCAS, mature students are above the age of 21 at the beginning of their undergraduate studies, or over 25 years of age at the beginning of their postgraduate studies. UCAS also states that around 40% of postgraduates are over 30. 

The general benefits of a master’s degree cannot be understated. It’s a great way to develop specialised knowledge in a particular area of study. It may also better position you for a promotion or open the door to careers with higher salaries.

Ample work experience can look great on your postgraduate study applications, particularly if you’re planning to pursue an EMBA.

To boot, as a mature student, you’re like to have developed more emotional intelligence and have developed a better sense of resilience than your younger counterparts, which are important for academic success.

Mature students are also likely to have a clearer picture of how little decisions can make a huge difference in their lives and careers. They’ve written cover letters that secured jobs. They’ve executed tasks that led to a promotion. Going back to school with a proper understanding of the true value behind each and every element of coursework could mean more focus and drive.  


Better financial stability

Through years of savings, access to credit, or decades of professional experience, mature students may — generally speaking — be more financially stable than their younger counterparts.  

For those who don’t want to leave the workforce, there are many part-time postgraduate courses that will enable mature students to continue working while juggling part-time study too.