University of the Third Age (U3A) – Everything You Need to Know

University of the third age (U3A)

The University of the Third Age (U3A) is a unique, innovative and global educational organisation for people aged 50 and over. It offers older adults the opportunity to continue their learning and personal development in a wide variety of activities and subjects through part-time study and social interaction.

U3A offers opportunities for lifelong learning, social interaction and participation in the community. There are currently 1,600 U3A groups in 16 countries around the world with over 280,000 members.

U3A courses are designed by members for members and cover a wide range of interests, including arts, crafts, languages, history, science, philosophy, current affairs and more.

University of the third age (U3A)


How was the U3A Founded?

In 1972, Dr. Camille Limoges and a group of her colleagues founded the u3A in Paris, France. The u3A is an acronym for “Université du Troisième Âge” which translates to University of the Third Age. The u3A is a unique institution which provides adults over the age of 50 with access to higher education opportunities. The u3A offers non-credit courses in a wide variety of subjects and is open to anyone who wishes to learn.

U3A has now spread to dozens of countries around the world with the first branch opening in Australia in 1984. Membership is open to all adults over the age of 50, regardless of formal education or work experience.


Benefits of joining a U3A

When people reach retirement age, they often find that they have a lot of time on their hands. They may have been used to working all their lives and suddenly having all that free time can be daunting. This is where a U3A can help. A U3A, or University of the Third Age, is a group for retirees who want to continue learning and meeting new people. Joining a U3A can provide many benefits, including:

1) Meeting new friends – One of the best things about joining a U3A is that you get to meet new people who are in the same stage of life as you are. This can be really beneficial, especially if you are feeling lonely or bored since you retired.

2) Continuing your education – A U3A is a great way to continue your education without having to go back to school.

3) Stay mentally active – U3A is a great way to stay mentally active and engaged with the world around you.

University of the third age (U3A)


Types of activities offered by U3A

U3A offers something for everyone, with classes and activities that cover everything from art to history to current affairs.

U3A courses are typically self-directed, with students working together to learn about a particular topic or skill. This collaborative learning environment is one of the things that makes U3A so special; it allows seniors to socialize and learn from each other, creating a supportive community.

Many U3A courses are run by volunteers, who share their knowledge and expertise with classmates. Courses are usually offered in the morning or afternoon, and last from 2 to around 10 weeks. They cover a range of topics, from history to horticulture, from languages to law.

In addition to its educational offerings, U3A also provides members with opportunities for travel, cultural events, and volunteer work.

University of the third age (U3A)

How to Join a U3A

To join a U3A, you first need to find one in your local area. You can do this by searching online. Once you’ve found a U3A, you need to fill out an application form and pay your membership fee. Membership fees vary with a year’s membership costing $40 for U3A Perth, $75 for U3A Sydney to $95 for U3A Melbourne.


How Much Do U3A Courses Cost?

The cost of courses varies from branch to branch. The fee for each course varies depending on the location and duration of the class. For example, an eight-week course in Perth may cost $45, while a four-month course in Melbourne may cost $240.

University of the third age (U3A)

University of the Third Age (U3A) Branches Across Australia

U3A Australia now has over 190 branches, making it one of the largest affiliates in the world.

Each U3A branch is autonomous and run by a committee of volunteers who organise classes and social activities for members. While there is some centralised support from U3A Australia, each branch is responsible for its own curriculum, which typically includes around 30 different courses each term. Subjects range from history and philosophy to art and music, with most branches also offering language classes and computer courses.

Australia Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia

Western Australia




Overall, U3A courses are affordable and provide an excellent opportunity to learn new things and meet new people.

If you’re looking for an interesting and stimulating way to spend your retirement years, then U3A is definitely worth checking out.

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About Jennie McNichol

Jennie McNichol is the Co-Founder and Editor of Seniorocity and Buggybuddys. She lives north of Perth with her husband, 2 children, 2 Ragdoll Cats and 1 Maine Coon

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