Seniors Online logo


U3As provides low-cost learning to older people to encourage them to stay active and engaged, Australia wide.

What is a U3A?

U3As provides low-cost learning to older people to encourage them to stay active and engaged, Australia wide. There are also U3As around the world. The U3A is an incorporated non-profit voluntary community organisation.

Starting some 50 years ago, U3A stands for University of the Third Age. The Third Age refers to the age of active retirement. It follows the Second Age of employment and the First Age of parental responsibility.

What happens at U3A?

Designed for retired or semi-retired people over 50, the U3A provides:

  • an opportunity for people to try something new,
  • meet new people, and
  • share their knowledge and skills with others.

Courses range from physical fitness, to desk-based classes, language studies, art and craft classes, and more.

U3A Nunawading Bonsai class with their bonsai trees.

How much does it cost to participate?

Before you can participate in a course or activity at a U3A you must become a financial member. The membership fee – at U3A Nunawading, for example, for the 2024 year is $55. This fee enables you to attend classes with no additional payment (unless specifically noted in the Course Guide). Note that there may be some additional fees for excursions, most of which are around $50.

How else can you get involved?

Volunteering is an important part of being a member of a U3A. Positions are available for Committee of Management, office volunteers, various committees, and leading a class.

U3A Nunawading Archery class

Case study – Nunawading

U3A Nunawading is Victoria's largest U3A. Established in 1990, it has grown to around 2,500 members.

More than 250 courses with over 100 tutors are run across 11 locations, with four terms per year.

Valerie Conlon, President of the University of the Third Age in Nunawading talks about the education, lifestyle and physical fitness classes available to retired and semi-retired seniors at U3A in Victoria in the video below.

How do you find out more?

Reviewed 11 January 2024

U3A – University of the Third Age

The U3A movement is a unique and exciting organisation which provides, through its U3As, life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities. Retired and semi-retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward.