Mature students

The Medical School encourages applications from mature students. Although we have no upper age limit, it seems sensible only to accept those who can provide a reasonable period of service to the Health Service after graduation. As will be seen from the comments below, we accept mature students from varied backgrounds and of differing ages.

Chris Burgin — aged 28 "For as long as I can remember it was my dream to 'go the route through medical school' and become a doctor. These dreams were somewhat shattered by a troublesome heart condition which meant that I was unsuccessful in obtaining a place at Medical School back in 1997. I decided that maybe I should give up my dream and follow my other passion, and began a four year music and teacher training degree. Shortly after starting my degree however, I realised that my passion for medicine was undiminished and to this end, I spent my holidays gaining work experience.

After finishing my degree I decided to work as a teacher for one year to achieve full registration and to financially prepare for the long road that lay ahead. Leaving the teaching profession was one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made, I had received awards for outstanding achievement for my teaching ability and had secured a wonderful job teaching ten year olds at a school in Nottingham. Despite this, the desire to be a doctor was too hard to ignore and I feared that if I did not follow this, it could be a decision I would regret for the rest of my life.

I began on the pre-med course in 2002 and have never really looked back! I have had experiences that I never would have had had I stayed as a teacher, I have travelled the world and met people from a such a diverse range of backgrounds, many of whom will stay friends for life!

Now at the age of 28 I am facing my finals and cannot believe that I am finally here!
I have always viewed my journey to becoming a doctor like an expedition to the top of a mountain and I have had many amazing experiences along the way, I have just taken a slightly longer route to get there!"

Marie Seymour – Aged 33 "I wasn't one of the people who can say they've always wanted to be a doctor. In fact, until 1995 it was the furthest thing from my mind. Whilst in my final year of a business management degree at Newcastle Uni, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I suppose the reason I´d never considered a career in medicine was because of my limited contact with the medical world – needless to say that changed literally overnight. For the next 18 months I saw, for the first time, the huge impact that good medical teams have on the lives of both patients & their families. I also saw the role was a lot more than blood, guts & sticking needles in people.

Although I worked in management for a national retailer in a number of roles, I grew increasingly disillusioned with my job. You need a passion to work in retail; it has to really matter to you to enjoy it. The truth was, to me, it didn't matter at all. It was only shopping & I wasn't interested in it enough to think of increasingly elaborate ways to get more money from people. Despite this, I continued to work in various management roles & by 2003 had saved some money (& plucked up the courage) to apply to study medicine. Most universities I approached wouldn´t consider me (at the grand old age of 29!) despite having the entry requirement A level grades & communication skills acquired in my career to date. I began to doubt myself & was wondering if I was doing the right thing. I applied to Sheffield after an informal chat with the undergraduate dean for admissions who assured me that I wasn't wasting my time & that Sheffield welcomed the broader skills that mature students bring. He seemed to recognise that as an older student, leaving a well paid job, moving 120 miles & returning to books, lectures & exams meant I was very sure in my mind this was what I wanted. I could not believe it when, after interview, I was offered a place.

To be honest I was very nervous on the first day but all my fears proved unfounded. About 10% of my year are mature students & there is no old-young divide, despite all of us leading very different lives outside university to our younger peers. I assumed I wouldn't be welcome being from a working class family, having not attended private schools & having the "wrong" accent to be a doctor. Wrong again & I realise now that these were my prejudices & stereotypes, not those of the other students or the medical school. I am now half way through the course (the medical school were very supportive when I took a year off to have my daughter) and whilst I can´t pretend it is easy to juggle placements, lectures, exams, coursework, housework & being a mum I've never regretted studying medicine for a second. I have found a career I am passionate about & am so glad I was brave enough to take the first few steps, rather than just spend my life wishing things were different."

Graduate applicants are not eligible to receive a loan for tuition fees or maintenance grants, therefore graduate applicants may want to contact Student Finance England for information and advice.