Planning your university studies as an adult learner

To start your university journey as an adult or returning student there are a few things you’ll need to work out – from choosing what you want to study to understanding what to expect at uni or what financial support you can get while you’re studying. Don’t worry; we can help you get started.

Choose what to study

Whether this is your first time studying at university or it has been a while since your uni degree, you can choose from a wide range of AUT programmes at all levels to help you achieve your goals.

We have programmes at our three campuses across Auckland, and many programmes are also offered part-time to help you fit study into your busy life.

Bachelor’s degree

Most common qualification if you’re new to university. Usually 3 years of full-time study

Diplomas or certificates

Pathway programmes that give you a taste of uni and prepare you for further study. Shorter; either 1 year or 6 months

Postgraduate study

More advanced study, suitable if you already have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field to help you gain more specialist skills

Graduate certificates and diplomas

A good option if you already have a bachelor’s degree and want to prepare for postgraduate study or gain knowledge in a different field

If you’re not ready to commit to the programmes above, you could also consider our short courses.

Check what financial support you can get

To help you with your course fees, course-related costs and living expenses, you can apply for a student loan, allowance, or extra help with childcare and accommodation costs. Check with StudyLink and WINZ what you can get.

There may also be scholarships you can apply for to support your studies (for example if you’re retraining as a teacher). And if things get though while you’re studying at AUT, we may also be able to help you pay for childcare, rent or transport – as an AUT student you can simply ask our friendly team at the Student Hub.

Useful websites:

Get credit for your experience

Already studied at uni or have some work or life experience related to your chosen course? You may able to get credits for it. Find out more about recognition of prior learning (RPL) and how it could help you achieve your goal in less time.


Know what to expect from uni

Not sure what to expect or how much time you’ll need for you studies? As a mature student you can often get through content faster, but how much time you devote to studying depends on your programme, and whether you study full-time or part-time.


Talk to us about your study options

summer at AUT

Thinking about studying at AUT? Book a time with us to discuss your study options, learn more about uni life at AUT or perhaps even check out our campus for yourself.


Tips for adult students starting university

adults are learners too

Not too sure how to make university study work and how to fit your studies around your life? Read our tips for adult and returning students thinking about university study.


Apply to study at AUT!

Ready to apply? You can start your application today – it’s easy!


University language explained

study at AUT

Bachelor’s degrees, courses… Feeling confused? Check out our glossary if you need help with any of the AUT language you’ve seen on this page.