Clive Thomas studied MSc Project Management as a mature student and proves that you are never too old to study a masters.


How did you find the work/life/study balance?

It was extremely hard work, studying full-time and working full-time. I needed to be in Southampton twice a week and needed to use my annual leave to achieve this. It was important for my wife and children to help me achieve my goals, giving me the time and space to enable me to study. I also had to look at my social life and had to make some sacrifices, where the study had to take preference. I’m not sure I could have done anything different to make it easier. I knew it was going to be hard work and hoped it would be worth the effort. Two-thirds of the way through the course the UK went into lockdown and all remaining lessons were done online. Solent had that up and running within a few days – very impressive! The lecturers were always easy to communicate with and helped me through completing the remaining study successfully.

How did you find going back to studies after a break?

I was never worried about going back to study. However, as a mature student, the thought of going back into the lecture room with much younger students was a little unnerving. Yet, from the first session, it proved that I fitted in well, with some classmates a similar age to me. Getting back into learning only became ‘challenging’ when I had to go by what the ‘book said’ rather than using my real-life working experiences. Nonetheless, that experience did greatly help in class discussions, giving different aspects to the conversations. The Solent lecturers were superb. They were always there to help point me in the right direction. Overall, I really enjoyed being back in that study environment.

What advice would you give to other mature students who may be considering embarking on a PG course?~

Don’t hold back. You are never too old. Consider the study workload, consider your work/life balance, and what you think you might get from the course. I did the course over one year, but some of my contemporaries did it over two years. If you put in the effort, you’ll be greatly rewarded. Don’t think it’s easy, it’s not, but well worth it, I ended up with a distinction!

For me, it cost me time, money and effort – nonetheless, I’m glad that I have done it. Having completed the MSc I found a much better grasp on my skills, giving me greater capabilities within the office and, probably more importantly, it has given me a new confidence and peace in my abilities. So, if you are considering going to Solent University, talk to the lecturers, as I did, and then I expect you’ll never look back.

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