This study measured the readiness toward self-directed learning (SDL) of the 1994 Physiotherapy BSc (Honours) cohort (Cardiff, UK) and describes their learning preferences over the three-year course and the following six months. The results were analysed for change with time and maturity. On admission mature students were found to be significantly more ready for SDL (p < 0.05) than the school-leavers and this trend continued throughout the three and a half years. Changes in SDL were similar in both groups over time. Both groups' preference for concrete learning increased significantly during the course (p < 0.05), and persisted after graduation. Preference for student-structured learning was persistently low, although a slight improvement was noted towards finals. The results are discussed in terms of the influence of curriculum demands on the assessed measures and the implications for the lifelong learning capabilities of the new graduates. Physiotherapy educators should consider the implications for professional development.