Third Age - The stage in life when we are finished with the second stage.

Second Age - when we are raising a family or earning a living or both.

First Age - the early years when we are growing up, attending school and preparing for a career or job.

University

Only in the sense that no fields of learning are excluded, but

  • there are no academic entry requirements
  • no formal qualifications provided.
Origins

Toulouse France in 1972.

The first course was offered for retired persons. Success led to similar ventures in other parts of western Europe and Quebec in Canada.

In 1981 the movement spread to Britain. Here groups were formed by volunteers not attached to any university. They were keen to share their interests and learn together with others.

This model of U3A soon spread to other parts of Europe and Asia.

U3A movement reached Australia in 1985. Around this time it also spread to Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia. The number of U3As continues to grow rapidly. In Victoria it is well past the 100 mark with a total of more than 30,000 members.

 Watch a video showcasing U3A in UK

Australia's U3A Online pioneered provision of learning courses over the Internet.for U3A members. The cost for enrolling for one year is $25.

u3aonline  Visit U3A Online website.

u3anetlogo U3A Victoria website.

U3A Network advises and provides information to all U3A groups in the state, represents U3As in negotiating for funding with the responsible state government department.