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Adult learners

At Bradford, we use the term 'adult learner' to describe anyone who is considering applying to university after a break in education, and/or is applying with non-traditional qualifications.

Adult learners currently make up around a third of our undergraduate community and we welcome their contribution to life at the University of Bradford.

Our knowledgeable and friendly Outreach and Recruitment Team are on hand to support students in returning to education. They run a range of webinars for adult learners, providing advice on key topics such as study choices, applications, interviews and student finance.

This is where I want to be

Ken is an adult learner on our BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science course and returned to education after an 18-year gap. Find out about his experience of studying at Bradford in this video.

Progression Scheme

The progression scheme is designed to benefit undergraduate applicants whose personal and educational circumstances mean they could be less likely to receive an offer based on our standard entry criteria.

As part of the scheme, applicants will automatically receive a reduced offer of 8 UCAS points lower than our standard entry criteria.

Support for adult learners

We are committed to making higher education as accessible as possible for adult learners and can support you in a number of ways:

  • Step Up to HE: our Step Up to Higher Education (HE) programme provides the perfect opportunity to meet other students and members of staff, whilst beginning to develop some of the key skills you will need to make a success of your studies
  • Academic Skills: our team helps students with all areas of academic study and interpersonal skills, including maths and numeracy, note-taking, reading, time management and presentations
  • Career and Employability Services: experienced careers advisers can help you to decide upon your career direction, find job opportunities and develop your employability through accredited modules, seminars and one-to-one career guidance interviews
  • Nursery: our nursery offers affordable and high-quality childcare and educational experiences to children from 12 weeks to five years for University of Bradford students, staff and members of the public
  • Bursaries: we have a number of bursaries available for home students, providing financial support throughout your studies
  • Dedicated adult learner advisers: to offer support and guidance throughout your time at Bradford

The Family Study Room

Students who are parents can now study while watching their children play in the University library’s new Family Study Room. Located on the ground floor of the library, the room can only be booked by family groups with children under the age of 12.

After registering, students can book online for timeslots that can last up to four hours on weekdays between 9:00 and 17:00.

The dedicated room, filled with child-friendly furniture, books, colouring books and educational posters, can only be used by one family at a time. It also has a desk, power sockets and a chair which can be used for breastfeeding. 

Registration forms are available at the Library Enquiry Desk. 

Learn more about our library spaces

A woman and a girl sitting at a table with colouring books

Contact our Outreach and Recruitment Team

Caroline Priestley (Senior Outreach and Recruitment Officer) and the Outreach and Recruitment team are here to support you during the transition to Higher Education.

The team work with colleges to support students on Access courses, as well as people who are pre-qualified. The team can provide you with information on qualifications, course options and how to make your application stand out.

In addition, they can also organise personalised campus visits and answer any questions you may have about coming to Bradford as an adult learner.


To find out more about how Caroline and the team can support you in returning to learn, take a look at our Adult Learner support blog.

Caroline Priestley, Senior Outreach and Recruitment Officer at the University of Bradford.

Chat to our students

The best way to find out what it's really like to study at Bradford is to speak to our current students. 

Many of our students are adult learners who have gone on to become student ambassadors. They are happy to share their experiences and answers any questions you might have about returning to education.

Chat to our students

Meet our Adult Learners

Chris and Laura Smith

Chris and Laura Smith chose to study at the University of Bradford as adult learners after working for over 20 years in the catering industry in a cafe.

They enrolled at the University in 2021, with both Chris and Laura choosing to follow their passion and study BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult).

We caught up with Chris and Laura to chat about their experiences of studying at the University of Bradford as adult learners.

Chris' story

Laura's story

Two adult learners stand in nursing uniform facing the camera and smiling