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Summer Schools

Free Return to Study Programme

If you're aged 19+ and considering a career in a health, sport, psychology, or social care profession, take your next step with our free Return to Study course. This course runs 4th-13th July at Carlisle or Lancaster, or 10th-18th July at Barrow.

04 Jul 2023 - 13 Jul 2023

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Event Overview

Have you taken a break from your studies, and now would like to kickstart a rewarding career in a healthcare, social work, psychology or sport profession? Our free Return to Study programme offers a unique opportunity to explore your subject of interest, gain a taste of university study, and develop your skills, knowledge and confidence, with guidance from our friendly and experienced tutors.

Whether you’re considering returning to studies after spending time in employment, or you’re not yet sure whether degree-level study is for you, we want to support you to take the next steps towards fulfilling your potential.

And, at the end of the programme, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for one of our degree programmes, providing a pathway to your dream career.

Who is this for?

This programme is designed for you if you are an adult (19+) who's considering going to university after taking some time out since you last studied. You might meet the entry requirements for our degrees but still be deciding whether university is for you. Alternatively, you might not have the formal qualifications to apply for a degree but have relevant work experience, or be able to demonstrate the qualities and skills required in other ways. 

This programme provides access to the following degree courses:

Lancaster Campus

  • Adult Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Nursing Associate Apprenticeship
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Diagnostic Radiography
  • Sport Coaching and Physical Education
  • Sport Rehabilitation
  • Sport Conditioning and Performance Analysis
  • Health and Social Care

Carlisle Fusehill Street Campus

  • Adult Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Social Work
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Diagnostic Radiography
  • Psychology
  • Psychology with Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Health and Social Care
  • Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing

Furness College (Barrow)

  • Adult Nursing
  • Nursing Associate Apprenticeship

When is this programme running?

This programme will be delivered part-time face-to-face at either our Lancaster or Carlisle (Fusehill Street) campus over 22 hours on an evening, or at Furness College, Barrow. The times and dates for each campus are as follows:

Lancaster and Carlisle:

  • 4th, 5th, 6th July: 5.30pm-8.30pm
  • 10th, 11th, 12th 13th July: 5.30pm-8.30pm

Furness College, Barrow:

  • 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th July: 9.30am-12.30pm
  • 17th, 18th July: 9.30am-12.30pm

Which campus you attend the Return to Study programme at depends on the subject you’re interested in studying. Subjects are listed by campus above. Some subjects, such as nursing, are available at multiple campuses. In these cases, you can apply to the campus of your choice.

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Event Information

Course Content

Whether it’s been a while since you last studied, or you don’t have the standard course entry requirements, this course provides a supportive environment for you to refresh your learning skills and build your self-confidence, self-awareness and interpersonal skills.

We understand that degree-level study can seem daunting. That’s why we’ve designed this programme to break down the jargon and help you develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in applying for a degree, as well as prepare you for university study.

Our expert tutors will introduce you to your subject of interest, as well as help you gain academic skills such as academic writing and research.

Free Course

This course is entirely free.

If you complete the programme, we recommend taking your next step towards your desired career by considering progression onto one of our full-time degree courses.

If you continue to one of our degrees, a range of financial support is available. For students continuing to our nursing, radiography or occupational therapy degrees, this includes support from the NHS Learning Support Fund which provides £5,000 per year to students (or £6,000 per year for those studying specialist subjects, including mental health nursing). If you are a parent or guardian, an additional £2,000 per year could be available to also cover child support and travel/expenses.


As part of the course, you will:

  • Complete a 1,500-word essay. Submission will be by 12 noon on Wednesday 19th July 2023, via Turnitin.
  • Complete the online study skills units that accompany the course.
  • Need to meet the 90% attendance requirement.
  • Be considered for academic recommendation to progress to one of our full-time degree programmes.

Hear from Past Students

The Return to Study course helped me to gain some essential skills to progress into my dream career. The tutors were supportive and helpful throughout my time. It's a great opportunity for anyone. University of Cumbria is a lovely university with amazing support. It gave me confidence to use the university systems and what to expect in further education. Lucy Vaughan (Occupational Therapy) 

The course gave me clarity on my desired path and enabled me to attain the entry requirement for the nursing degree. The supportive environment and professional tutors made it an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in advancing their education. By the end of the course, I was digitally equipped, my academic writing had improved, and I was energised to embark on a journey of reaching what I had previously perceived as impossible. Cecilia Njoroge (Adult Nursing) 

I found the summer school really beneficial and a positive experience.  The course tutors supported the group throughout the course, and always answered questions and signposted where appropriate. The university staff were very welcoming and supportive, it felt very genuine as though we were wanted there as prospective future students. Fiona Simpson (Adult Nursing) 

After the Course

After completing this course, you will have the opportunity to apply for entry onto the degree programme you expressed interest in when applying for the return to study programme, provided you meet the entry requirements and eligibility. You will be notified of the outcome of your application on 4th August 2023. If you apply for one of the Allied Health programmes, you will be informed of an interview time between 24th and 31st July 2023.

If you do not meet the requirements for direct entry to our standard three-year degree courses, you may apply for the four-year degree which begins with an integrated foundation year. This foundation year will further support your transition to university study by enabling you to develop the academic skills, subject knowledge, experience and confidence to progress to the full degree programme.  

If you’d like to progress onto an Allied Health programme, you can apply for the Health and Social Care with Integrated Foundation Year programme. This course develops further the knowledge and skills required for entry onto Adult Nursing, Learning Disabilities Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Occupational Therapy or Radiography. Those wishing to apply for Social Work will be directed towards the Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing with Integrated Foundation Year programme. We will help prepare and support your application for these.