Mature students

The Department of History welcomes applications from mature candidates (those 21 or over). We usually admit around a dozen candidates annually from all walks of life.

We look for the same commitment to studying history that we seek in all our candidates, and recognise that maturity and experience can make mature students particularly successful and valued members of the department.

Entry requirements

We generally require mature students to have appropriate and recent qualifications – see below. However, everyone is different, and we do recommend that you contact us to discuss your background before embarking on preparatory courses. We consider every application on a case-by-case basis.

Most of our mature students come from the following groups:

  • Those who left school after GSCEs or A Levels (or equivalent). In this case we usually require applicants to take an Access Course in the Arts and Humanities at college. We look for 30 credits to be achieved from units awarded Distinction including a minimum of 9 credits from History modules and 15 awarded Merit or higher.
  • Those who have returned to study A Levels as mature students in the last few years and want to move on to a degree. We usually look for our standard entry requirements of AAA or A*AB.
  • Those who already have a degree in another subject, but want to return to university to study History. We usually recommend that these candidates take an an Access Course in the Arts and Humanities, as above, or an OU History module worth 60 credits.

Depending on qualifications and circumstances, we may also ask mature students to submit written work or come for interview (see below).

What makes a successful mature applicant?

We don’t only look at qualifications, but also at personal attributes and any relevent work experience.

We are looking for candidates who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, open-mindedness and analytical ability, the potential to analyse the past in a critical manner, and the ability to discuss a point of view and make a coherent argument both verbally and on paper.

Successful applicants show a genuine enthusiasm for the study of the past and potential for continuing intellectual development. This may be shown through their life experiences and motivation as much as formal achievements.

We have a sensitive admissions policy, and do take individual circumstances into account.

Application procedure

Please first contact us outlining your background and experience, any qualifications you may have, and your reasons for wanting to do a history degree at York. We can then advise you on what preparatory qualifications we require you to obtain.

Subsequent applications are then made through UCAS in the normal way. If appropriate, arrange for a recent academic reference which describes your work and potential as fully as possible. Otherwise have an employer or other acquaintance write on your behalf, telling us wherever possible about your organisational and analytical skills, your motivation and interests.

Find out more about how to apply to York.

Interviews and written work

We may ask you to send us recent examples of your writing; where appropriate these should be on history, but may be related to any of your work or intellectual interests.

We may also ask you to come along for an informal interview with one of our Admissions Tutors. This is an opportunity for us to ask about your experience and your reasons for wanting to study history at university. We will probably also discuss your interests and reading habits to assess whether you have the motivation that is needed to complete three years of intensive reading and writing.

Further information

You can find more information for mature students on the main university webpages.