Mary Barnard

Graduate story

Mary took the plunge of going into higher education later in life and thanks to the flexibility of distance learning she has graduated with a Master’s degree.

Mary Barnard wanted to study for a degree alongside her job at Citizen’s Advice and found that Staffordshire University’s Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Studies distance learning course was the perfect solution.

Distance learning courses are taught online with students attending ‘virtual’ tutorials. Providing students have use of a computer with internet access, they can study from anywhere in the world.

“I saw the course for distance learning and as I was working full time it fitted perfectly with what I was doing.” Mary explained.

“It was a challenge because I’d not done any formal studying for a while and fitting it in with work it just meant I had to be disciplined with my assignments.”

After completing her undergraduate studies with first class honours, Mary continued onto the MA distance learning course. Now aged 66, she has graduated with Merit and received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the University.

“The support for both the BA and Master’s has been absolutely amazing. They set up a chat room and online seminars so you really are encouraged to engage with others students. I’m still in touch with people from the BA and we meet up so it obviously worked!”

“What was really great was that there was such a diverse range of people on the course –you wouldn’t have noticed the age difference in any of the seminars or chats.”

Mary continues to work for Citizen’s Advice and she now teaches others to become advisers.

“It’s helped every single day. I’ve now got the academic background and I’m marrying it with the practical which works really well.” Mary commented.

“If you can’t go to uni for whatever reason but you have the self-discipline and motivation to learn then distance learning is perfect.”

Course studied
Social Welfare Law
Year of graduation
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021