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Mahmoud Mabad

You’re never too old to learn – Mahmoud’s story

Mahmoud Mabad, 35, from Sunderland has just completed his first year of his Biomedical Sciences degree after gaining a place at Northumbria University through Clearing last summer.


Originally from Palestine, Mahmoud moved to the UK seven years ago to study at university, but had to withdraw from his course due to personal circumstances. However, he was determined to return to university and last summer he decided to apply through Clearing.

He said: “I didn’t want to move away from Sunderland, so I knew I wanted to choose from the universities based in the North East.

“I spoke to Northumbria’s Clearing team who asked me about my previous experience overseas. When I explained I had spent four years studying pharmacy they said they would take this into account, and they offered me a place on the Biomedical Science degree which I accepted.

“The staff were incredibly helpful and when I informed them I was disabled, they told me that Northumbria’s disability team would be in touch. I was contacted shortly after I accepted my offer, and they arranged an assessment appointment. The team were great, as they listened to my concerns and put recommendations in place, such as extra time for exams and extensions on assessments to help me with my degree.”

Mahmoud has enjoyed his first year at Northumbria, making the most of blended learning and the online facilities offered by the University.

“I have been really impressed with the online learning and all of the materials available. It has been very helpful to be able to access all the resources, lectures and tutorials online, and I’m hoping that this will still continue next year. We were able to do some practical sessions in the laboratories once restrictions eased, and these were very well organised to ensure everyone’s safety.

“My degree is a four-year course as we have the opportunity to undertake a one-year placement in industry and I’m looking forward to putting the skills I’ve learned into practice. I am also hoping to use some of my previous pharmacy knowledge when I do my research-led learning in my final year.”

In addition to having support from Northumbria’s disability team, Mahmoud has also been supported by our wellbeing team due to his ongoing mental health problems.

He added: “I sometimes find it difficult to communicate due to my mental health, and I recently went through a tough period, so I was advised to contact Northumbria’s wellbeing team who responded very quickly. They arranged an appointment with me and have been very understanding – their support has been fantastic as they have been liaising with my wider care team. Everyone at Northumbria, staff and students, have been so supportive as they will find a way to solve your problems, it’s very encouraging.”

Northumbria University has a limited number of places available for students through Clearing this summer. For more information, visit or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.

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