Mature students

UBC invites applications from mature students who can demonstrate high academic potential through a range of exceptional achievements and life experiences, beyond just academics.

As a mature applicant, you must be out of full-time formal education for at least four years and satisfy the English language requirement and degree-specific requirements.

Requirements for mature students

You must be outside of full-time education for at least four years

This includes high school and most post-secondary programs. If you have a prior undergraduate degree, you can apply as an unclassified student, or as a transfer student if you wish to complete a second degree. Students with a previous degree are not considered mature applicants.

Full-time study is three or more courses per term/semester, or nine or more transferable credits per term/semester. For example, if you are applying to start in September 2024, your last full-time attendance in school can have been no later than August 2020. Fulfilling this requirement simply permits consideration under the Mature Student category, and does not ensure admissibility. 

You can only apply to the following degrees

If you are seeking admission to a degree not listed below, you should enrol at another institution and then transfer to your program of interest.

Okanagan Vancouver
  • Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • Health and Exercise Sciences
  • Management
  • Media Studies
  • Nursing
  • Science (if you have not taken math or science courses in the last four years, you are strongly encouraged to take refresher courses before applying)
  • Sustainability
  • Applied Biology
  • Arts
  • Fine Arts: Acting, Creative Writing, Film Production, Theatre Design and Production, Visual Art
  • Food, Nutrition, and Health
  • Indigenous Land Stewardship
  • Kinesiology
  • Media Studies
  • Music
  • Natural Resources (Conservation, Bio-economy, Wood Products and other Forestry related majors)
  • Urban Forestry

You must satisfy the degree’s entry requirements

As a mature applicant you need to meet the University’s English language requirement and certain faculty- or degree-specific admissions requirements. These vary according to where you attended high school and/or post-secondary. If you do not meet UBC’s English language requirements through standard attendance or test requirements, an admissions advisor may suggest alternatives.

Degree-specific requirements include, but are not limited to, prerequisites, supplemental applications, portfolio, and audition requirements. For most degrees, if you do not have the requirements at the high school level, you can present them at the post-secondary level.

If you are missing degree-specific requirements, you will be expected to complete the prerequisites for admission at another institution by April 30.

The University reserves the right to determine whether or not you are eligible for the mature applicant category. Prior UBC students are subject to faculty regulations and procedures.

Recommendations for mature applicants

Applications will be assessed on a variety of factors that demonstrate preparedness for rigorous university-level studies. Be prepared to provide evidence of relevant accomplishments, intellectual curiosity, advanced literacy, and numeracy (particularly important for science, social science and management-related disciplines).

Secondary and post-secondary academics are also relevant.  If you have not had consistently strong achievements in university preparatory and/or transferable studies, consider taking part-time courses that are transferable to the intended degree program. Evidence of recent academic successes could strengthen your application. Ensure UBC Admissions is aware of what courses you are or will be taking, and that final grades are submitted by May 15.

Since the mature applicant category can be very competitive and admission is not routine, we recommend that you also apply to a local university transfer program. You can find out more information on the BC Transfer Guide.

Steps to apply as a mature student

1. Apply online

Follow the standard application process. Applications are accepted starting in October, and the deadline is typically January 15 (after that date, see what programs may still be accepting applications).

2. Contact admissions

Email In the subject line, include “Mature applicant” and the degree and campus you wish to apply to. An advisor will get back to you to discuss whether you may be eligible for mature applicant consideration (a preliminary review of the transcripts required under Step 3 below is often helpful). If you have a prior degree, apply as a transfer student.

It’s important to keep communication lines open with UBC. Ensure your contact information is up to date in the Applicant Service Centre and log in regularly, as this is how we communicate with you once you’ve applied.

3. Submit your required documents

After you submit your application, you’ll receive an email to let you know what documents to submit, and instructions for when and how to send them to our office.

As a Mature applicant, at a minimum, you will be required to submit:

  • Official transcripts of any post-secondary coursework you have completed or are currently taking
  • Official secondary school transcript (include proof of enrolment in any current courses)

4. Submit any additional documents

Once we review your application and academic transcripts, you may be required to submit additional documentation. Please do not submit these documents unless and until we ask you to:

  • A statement of academic intent outlining the area(s) of study that interests you and your readiness for successful university study
  • Your resumé with a full record of your employment and relevant personal history
  • Two written references from people who will be able to assess and describe your work habits, drive, and potential for academic success. Reference letters should not be from family or friends.

If needed, the additional documents could help us determine if standard English Language requirements can be waived. The faculty will then consider this information in addition to standard competitive and comparative criteria.

Please send all academic documents to UBC’s Undergraduate Admissions Office using the method(s) specified in the Next Steps or re-acknowledgement emails you will be sent after you apply. The sooner your application and documents are submitted, the sooner your application can be reviewed. In many cases, a decision will be deferred until space availability in your desired degree program has been determined.

Ready to complete your application?

Apply now