The University of York is a campus-based university situated on the south-eastern edge of the historic city of York. The University took in its first students in 1963 and has grown to accommodate over 13,270 at present (9,105 undergraduates and 4,165 postgraduates). York is currently a member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities. However, York has recently accepted an invitation to become a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, it will come into effect August 2012 ending its membership with the 1994 Group.
In the relatively short time the University has been in existence it has quickly risen up the league tables for the outstanding quality of its teaching and research (similar to Oxford's) across most departments (including English, PEP, Chemistry and Computer Science) and is now held in very high regard amongst many academics around the world.
The University is mainly located on its Heslington campus, to the south-east of the city near the small village of Heslington. However, there is also a part of the University in York city centre, located at the historic King's Manor. King's Manor houses the Department of Archaeology and Centre for 18th Century Studies and Centre for Medieval Studies. The first phase of the Heslington East campus expansion has recently been completed. This includes academic buildings for the Departments of Computer Science and Theatre, Film and Television and the Schools of Law and Management, a new location for Goodricke, collaborative space for research and business and catering and social space. Other developments, including major sporting facilities, are still being planned. This project was initiated in 2008, and is aiming to be finished in the next ten to fifteen years.
The current Chancellor is former Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke and the Vice-Chancellor is Professor Brian Cantor.
The University is currently arranged in to eight colleges. The colleges mix together student accommodation and academic departments and every new student, whether they live in university accommodation or off campus is assigned a college when they become a member of the University. Though rare, it is possible on occasion to change college during your time at the University.
In order of their creation, the eight colleges are:
You can see all the undergraduate colleges at the University of York in this great film from York Student Television.
The main University Library is the J. B. Morrell library, located just north of University Road. The J. B. Morrell was the first major Library built at the University and houses the main collection of works. In 2003 a second Library was built adjacent to the J. B. Morrell Library. This was named the Raymond Burton Library and is a specialist humanities research library. The archive collection, known as the Borthwick Institute of Historical Records has also moved into this new purpose built multi-million pound building from its old city centre location. The Borthwick Institute contains many original important records and documents dating back hundreds of years which have importance both locally and nationally. The library has just been renovated and from 2012 will allow 24/7 access using your university card. During the refurbishment they have created the Harry Fairhurst building which has a large amount of study areas and computers to be used for work. As it can be accessed directly through the library you do not need to take books out to use them here. There are also private study rooms or group study rooms that are available to be booked whenever you wish.
IT and Computing
Computing at the University is run by IT Services. Their office is located in the Harry Fairhurst building which is near the Library and can be accessed through the library. The Service is responsible for most of the computer workrooms and computer classrooms throughout the colleges and libraries. Most colleges have at least one computer room/classroom while many have two. The size of these room ranges from about 20 right up to 60 computers.
Heslington, York, UK, YO10 5DD
Applicants per place:
There are also centrally located scanners and black and white printers in each college and the Library available for student use. Students get a printing quota each term and any printing beyond this quota can be purchased from the Computing Services office. Colour printing maybe diverted to a printer in Langwith College.
The University has a sports centre with numerous sports halls, a gym and a large area of playing fields. Students can become members of York Sport and join any of the sports clubs that have been created. A full list of sports clubs can be found here.
Clubs and societies
York has a very large number of student societies, catering for most popular activities. If you want, you can start your own and get it officially ratified with 3 people to make up the initial committee. YUSU also offers grants and other help to all ratified societies.
A full list can be found here.
The University has extensive welfare networks in place, from the central Student Union's Academic and Welfare office, including a full-time sabbatical officer and permanent welfare officer in the SU offices, to the part-time college welfare teams, to the college provost and your supervisor.
There is also a free campus minibus service, which runs at night, and access to contraception and personal attack alarms. Nightline is also available on campus, with a drop-in service, an email and a telephone service.
The Health Centre and Counselling services can also be located on campus.
The Careers Service is located in the Careers and Counselling building between the Central car park and Market Square. The Service offers a wide range of workshops throughout the year, based on developing skills, applications and employment possibilities. They also host a number of talks from a wide range of large businesses. There is also an appointment-based service for seeking advice with a large number of issues, and there is information and leaflets available there to assist.
This service is also accessible for recent graduates.
The current main shopping facilities on campus are located in the Market Square shopping complex, a two storey structure building completed in 2001 and currently housing around eight shops. On the ground floor is a large but expensive Costcutter supermarket and Your:Shop, the Student Union shop. The first floor contains Blackwells Bookshop, a student-focused letting agent and campus printing/copying services. The Building also houses the University Information Centre, Fees Office and other administrative departments.
Eating and Drinking on Campus
Most colleges have their own catering facility, with different foods on offer. Goodricke College does not have one since it moved to the new Heslington East campus and neither does Halifax College after JJ's shut in the summer of 2008. Food opening hours are limited, however most food outlets double-up as bars later in the day.
The Courtyard is separate from the other food outlets, as it is run by and profits go to the Student Union. Also, unlike other food outlets, it is possible to purchase food, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages simultaneously during opening hours.
There are 2 eateries on the Heslington East campus. There is a cafe in the Law and Management building and another (cheaper) cafe in the Ron Cooke Hub.
Heslington village has two pubs, both of which serve food, and a shop which sells freshly-made sandwiches.
The University has a Chaplaincy that offers information and advice to anyone and contact details about most faiths. It makes use of the local Church in Heslington and every year holds a welcome service towards the start of term.
There are numerous religious student groups on campus, the Christian Union being one of the more popular ones. They can often be seen around campus holding dinners and talks and invite any student or staff member to attend many of the talks.
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YUSU is the York University Students' Union and have their offices in James College in the Student Centre, along with the Graduate Students Association (GSA).
Unlike other universities, the Students Union does not run the majority of the bars on campus, however they do now own the recently renovated Langwith Bar, The Courtyard, with a central student venue pencilled in for 2012 as part of the Heslington East expansion. It runs YOUR:SHOP and YOUR:PRINT, a convenience store and print shop respectively.
The City of York
York has a wide range of food choices from different countries. For example, there are a range of British, Mexican, Spanish (Tapas), Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants to choose from, as well as other types of food and sandwich bars.There are also all of the main restaurant chains, such as Pret a Manger, Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Pizza Express.
There are a number of takeaways around the city, most of which deliver to campus. Leaflets for these are located in some of the information points on campus, as well as being distributed in accommodation.
There are more than 2,000 shops in the city itself. There are most of the main high-street brands in the town centre, alongside both designer shops and Boutiques. There is also an open-air market. On the outskirts of the city, there are three further shopping complexes - Monks Cross- containing highstreet chains such as River Island and Topshop, Clifton Moor- with stores such as Comet and Argos, and York Designer Outlet, part of the McArthurGlen chain.
There are also a number of supermarkets, although only a Tesco and Budgens in the city centre itself. Around the outskirts, there are two Tesco Extras, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Morrisons as well as Iceland, Aldi and Netto. Both Asda and Tesco deliver to the University.
The main campus is well served by cash machines. Market Square has HSBC and Barclays cash machines situated outside Costcutters, as well as two further cash machines at the entrance to Vanburgh and James College respectively.
In addition to this, there are four bank branches located in Heslington village: HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and Natwest. The city centre also has branches of all major banks and building societies.
There is a Health Centre, although there is not a disributing pharmacy, on campus. York District Hospital is located north of the city centre, and the NHS walk-in centre to the north-east. Dentists surgeries are located right around the city, but like many locations, NHS places can sometimes be hard to find.
Getting to York from the rest of the country is simple by train or road. The station is on the East Coast Mainline, and is served by Cross-Country Trains, Transpennine Express, Northern and East Coast Trains. Ticket prices vary depending on which route you take - the East Coast Mainline between London and Edinburgh is the most expensive per mile in the country for walk-up fares, but by booking in advance with East Coast Trains, ticket prices can be considerably cheaper. The Transpennine Express routes towards Leeds and Manchester are relatively cheap, especially when combined with the Young Persons Railcard and First's 'Student Getaway' tickets.
The number 4 bus service (branded FTR) runs from the University to the city centre, station and to Acomb on the other side of York. This operates a staged fee service with ticket sellers riding on board - the costs are £1.90 single, or £2.90 return (£2.50 with a valid student card) anywhere on the number 4 service. York Council spent several million pounds upgrading the roads to cope with the tram-like FTR bus, the first in the UK (now in Leeds also).
The number 44 (York Pullman) bus is more student friendly, with the final stop nearer the centre of the city. Costs are £2.00 return, and £1.50 single
Taxis to and from town, from campus, cost around £7 - £10 depending on the time, company and journey. There are a number of local taxi firms, a few of which offer student discount. Further details can be sought on campus, or from the college Porter's lodge.
York is cycle-friendly. There are plenty of places to store bikes on campus and in town, and on campus, thefts are no better nor worse than any other University campus; Colleges also have locked bike sheds for people living in halls. There are also a number of cycle paths around the city.
York is easily accessible by car, although if you're travelling to the city centre itself, parking can be very difficult.
York has lots of opportunities for part time work - bar work, shop work, office/temping work, and tourism assistants, due to York's being a major tourist attraction. You can often see jobs advertised around the city, but the Careers Service also advertises jobs. These can be in both the University itself and in private businesses, and can be both part time or temporary. You can see the adverts in the careers centre, or check them online by searching the listings on the careers services website.
The University also takes on casual staff to assist with open days and tours for prospective students, with good rates of pay.
Bars, Pubs and clubs
In the city, there are a large number of pubs and bars, some of which are popular not only for drinks, but also with a lot of history.
Clubs are not as common as in other comparatively-sized cities. The most popular, especially amongst students, are Tru (Toft street, off Micklegate), Gallery (Clifford Street) and Ziggy's (Micklegate). Each has student nights during term time - Tuesday, Thursday and Wednesday respectively. Additionally, there are many smaller clubs, including the new Club Salvation and bpm.
Priority is given to first years, disabled students, international students firstly, and then students returning from placements secondly. En-suite is generally oversubscribed, as is most accommodation on campus, so if you don't fall into the first category, you will be lucky to get on campus accommodation.
There are three types of room in York, standard, en-suite and UPP. UPP accommodation is run by a private company on behalf of the University and tends to differ in pricing and facilities from the normal rooms.
The University publish a private sector accommodation list to help with second or third years to find housing, and a good amount of housing in a variety of houses is available close to campus in Badger Hill, Hull Road, Tang Hall and Fulford. A few big companies specialise in student property in York, most of which are subscribed to the University's "Code of Best Practice", with the notable exception of Sinclair Properties, who number of Facebook protest groups about them. Sinclair Properties also start running a marketing campaign in December, although the University and Student Unions advice is to not start looking until much later.
Most of the original York is built using the CLASP architecture style, meaning a number of concrete buildings. The original University is set around a lake (at the time of its building, the largest man-made ornamental lake in Europe), overlooked by Central Hall. Green spaces and water was stated as the inspiration for the architecture, and planning permission restrictions mean only 25% of the land of the University can be developed. Covered walkways connect the original campus building.
The University of York is set in green-belt land on the outskirts of York near Heslington village. On many sides of the University, open space is either close by or only a short walk away. York, as a city, it a very pleasant place and is full of history and character. There has even been extensive building work in recent years to improve some of the worse areas and things are a still improving further. The people there are generally very nice too and in most areas there are good relationships between locals and students.
In the wider area York is set in North Yorkshire - a county with two National Parks. The North York Moors are close by but the Yorkshire Dales are a little further away (but still at an achievable distance for a day out). The Yorkshire coastline, with the towns of Whitby, Scarborough and Bridlington are also not far away. The coast is sometimes nicknamed 'The Jurassic Coast' owing to the exposed cliffs in some areas which have been known, even in recent years, to show ancient fossils from the time of the dinosaurs.
The University is split up into many departments of academic study. Each department deals with research and study in a just one or two specific areas. Most departments offer a range of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses to students. However, some, like the Centre for Women's Studies and the Centre for Medieval Studies, are purely research centres and only offer courses to postgraduates.
- Archaeology. Located at King's Manor.
- Biology. Located in the Biology buildings.
- Chemistry. Located in Alcuin College.
- Computer Science. Located in the Computer Science Building, Heslington East.
- Economics and Related Studies. Located in Alcuin College.
- Education. Located in Langwith College and Alcuin College.
- Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. Located in King's Manor.
- Electronics. Located in James College.
- English and Related Literature. Located in Langwith College.
- Environment. Located on Market Square.
- Health Sciences. Located in Alcuin College.
- History. Located in Vanbrugh College.
- History of Art. Located in Vanbrugh College.
- Language and Linguistic Science. Located in Vanbrugh College.
- Law School. Located in the Law and Management Building, Heslington East.
- Management School. Located in the Law and Management Building, Heslington East.
- Mathematics. Located in James College.
- The Hull York Medical School. Located in Alcuin College.
- Centre for Medieval Studies. Located at King's Manor.
- Music. Located in Vanbrugh College.
- Philosophy. Located in Derwent College.
- Physics. Located in the Physics Building, James College.
- Politics. Located in Derwent College.
- School of Politics, Economics and Philosophy. Located in Derwent College.
- Psychology. Located in the Psychology Building, near James College.
- Social Policy and Social Work. Located in Alcuin College.
- Sociology. Located in Wentworth College.
- Theatre, Film and Television. Located in the TFTV Building, Heslington East.
- Centre for Women's Studies. Located in Grimston House, Vanbrugh College.
In 2010, the Departments of Sociology, Social Policy and Politics began working collaboratively to set up a new School of Social and Political Studies.
Visiting the University
The University organises two university-wide Open Days each year, one in spring and one in autumn. People who have been made offers are often also invited to an additional visit day with their department later in the year. Parents/family members and teachers are also welcome to visit with prospective students.
Open days at York will allow you a chance to speak to students at the University and the staff who teach there. You can find out about student life, the courses and the admission process. You also have the opportunity to look around the campus, visit the departments you are interested in and have guided tours of accommodation.
The university likes you to book a place on an open day in advanceand you can do this online at . Booking closes approximately 2 weeks before the day.
The days run from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, though you are free to arrive and leave whenever is convenient for you. You do need to book a place as the open days are attended by over 9,000 people. Although this seems like a lot, it gives a good indication of what student life is like at York as the University has around 11,000 students.
If you completely miss an open day, it is advisable to make an independent visit at some other time if you are seriously thinking of going there. This will allow you to wander round the campus and get a feel for the place. Try to go during University term time, as that gives a better understanding of student life, and will allow ease should you have any concerns or questions (university term dates can be found here to help you plan the timing). The University also has a some information offering assistance to people planning independent visits.
Applying to York
Thinking of applying to York? Why not read some Personal Statements which were used for applying here?
Other York Articles
Why not read these other York Articles?
- University of York Students' Union (YUSU)
- York Student Television (YSTV) - student TV station
- University Radio York (URY) - student radio station
- Nouse - broadsheet newspaper
- Vision - tabloid newspaper
- The Yorker - independent news and comment blog
- The Lemon Press - satirical magazine
- York Student Cinema (YSC)
- DramaSoc - most active student drama society in the country, 48 shows a year