The Student Room Group
University of York
York

Is the University of York good?

So I’m applying to go to York Uni because they offer a great course that only a few other unis offer (social and political sciences with the specific modules I want to study) however I’m worried because my sister and few other people have told me that it’s not a good university and I’m better off not going. If anyone has been and specifically done a similar course, what are your honest opinions? What do you think of the uni itself, the accommodation, the people (is it quite diverse?), the help you get from lecturers/tutors, the classrooms and libraries etc
Don't make a huge decision based on hearsay, if I were you, I would use York's uni buddy because not only are they actually at the University, but they are also doing your course.
University of York
York
It's pretty reputable, although that by itself doesn't necessarily mean much.

I think @CoffeeAndPolitics is doing SPS at York and might be able to give some insight into the course and uni?
Hi, I go to York so I can answer some of your questions!

First of all, well done on researching module choices! Many people don't do this, and end up studying somewhere they're unhappy at because the module choices are a bit rubbish.

I know a few people who do SPS, and they seemed to quite enjoy it. It's an interdisciplinary degree anyway, no? So you have a wide scope of study.

The university itself is excellent, ranking in the top 130-150 in the world, so no question about academic reputation. It's also a stunningly beautiful campus (except for maybe Derwent College), and the city itself is beautiful too. Accommodation wise, I thought it was kind of expensive but there's a lot to choose from. York's also a collegiate university, so there's a lot more involved within the actual accommodation like events, student bars, etc. York is not a very diverse university, it's majority white. In my College for my year, there weren't very many POC, however, there are plenty of societies one can join. Also, to my surprise, there was a quite heavy private school presence at my College as well, which might make some people uncomfortable, but don't worry!

The library is meant to be excellent, although I've not been much.
Reply 4
Original post by Desigirlremix
So I’m applying to go to York Uni because they offer a great course that only a few other unis offer (social and political sciences with the specific modules I want to study) however I’m worried because my sister and few other people have told me that it’s not a good university and I’m better off not going. If anyone has been and specifically done a similar course, what are your honest opinions? What do you think of the uni itself, the accommodation, the people (is it quite diverse?), the help you get from lecturers/tutors, the classrooms and libraries etc

Hey there! I'm currently studying Social and Political Sciences and just finished my second year.

To be brutally honest, York is a good university contrary to what others may say. I think what puts people off is the declining nightlife culture in York because we have lost quite a few clubs, but there have been some exciting developments as Kuda is re-opening under new management and I've read in the local press that Ziggy is coming back (apparently it was an iconic nightclub). There's also the option to travel to Leeds for the nightlife and which isn't far from York itself and the transportation links between the two cities are good - you can get there by either train or bus (CityZap) for a reasonable price.

On to the course specifically, the vast majority of lecturers/tutors are really supportive and helpful - I personally haven't had many negative experiences except in the first year when I changed seminar groups twice for two different modules as I wasn't happy with how I was being taught by the seminar tutor. Having said that such instances are rare and it also depends on who you have - as I said, the vast majority of academic staff are really supportive and helpful.

Additionally, I should point out (not sure if the course website has fully updated/is accurate) that you'll take 4 core modules in first year with Contemporary Issues in Social and Political Sciences being the newest - it's intended to introduce you to interdisciplinary learning within the social sciences. In second year, you get to choose 3 option modules from our feeder departments (politics, social policy, and sociology) and I should note that if you happen to miss out on a feeder department, i.e. sociology, then you must take at least one module from the feeder department you missed out on in third year. In third year, it's 2 option modules per term (20 credits) and the dissertation which runs across the academic year.

Accommodation: Uni + Private - Overpriced and I know the SU is working with a large number of partners to impact change.
Diversity: York itself as a city is predominately white and so is the uni tbh, but the uni is definitely keen to increase diversity in all forms - we're not just talking about race. See here

Classrooms vary depending on where you are - I don't mind the portacabins in James College which are used for seminars, they're alright. The best based on my experience so far has to be the seminar rooms in Spring Lane Building - it's modern, spacious, and comfortable.

Library: Not the most architecturally aesthetic building on campus, but it's relatively easy to find any books you're after and the staff inside are really nice and helpful - even for things like whether they have a stapler that I could borrow to staple bits of paper.

I hope this helps! :smile:

EDIT: I almost forgot to mention this... SPS is moving to a brand new building called Church Lane (between Campus West and East) with Social Policy and Social Work (SPSW) and the Management School in September 2021. Sociology is taking over the vacated space in Campus East in what was formerly called the Law and Management Building - it will now share the building with Law from September 2021.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by Desigirlremix
So I’m applying to go to York Uni because they offer a great course that only a few other unis offer (social and political sciences with the specific modules I want to study) however I’m worried because my sister and few other people have told me that it’s not a good university and I’m better off not going. If anyone has been and specifically done a similar course, what are your honest opinions? What do you think of the uni itself, the accommodation, the people (is it quite diverse?), the help you get from lecturers/tutors, the classrooms and libraries etc


I think your sister might've been a little salty. The university is great, its reputation is great, and has a nice Russell Group branding to it - though that should matter very little overall.

One of the greenest; prettiest campus in the UK
If reputations matter to you, then I see York
Like this

It’s not Cambridge, Oxford or St. Andrews which IMHO are the premier U.K. uni’s

Then you get, Durham, Imperial, UCL, LSE

Then you get a group of very similar exceptional unis and this is where York fits in. Some of the unis excel in areas and are weaker in others, like Warwick is excellent for maths and York is a top research uni. But overall I see it this way - but it’s just my opinion.

It’s in the same bracket as Warwick, bath, Lancaster, Loughborough, Bristol, Edinburgh, Southampton, Exeter, Nottingham….and a few others.

So make your choice based on your course and the feel you get from the uni when you visit. I loved York when I visited and it had the best course for me. But I also had offers from uni’s higher in the spurious league tables like bath and Loughborough. But I still chose York.

It’s an incisional choice and an important one. Don’t let others impressions influence you al- go see for yourself.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Art vanderlay
If reputations matter to you, then I see York
Like this

It’s not Cambridge, Oxford or St. Andrews which IMHO are the premier U.K. uni’s

Then you get, Durham, Imperial, UCL, LSE

Then you get a group of very similar exceptional unis and this is where York fits in. Some of the unis excel in areas and are weaker in others, like Warwick is excellent for maths and York is a top research uni. But overall I see it this way - but it’s just my opinion.

It’s in the same bracket as Warwick, bath, Lancaster, Loughborough, Bristol, Edinburgh, Southampton, Exeter, Nottingham….and a few others.

So make your choice based on your course and the feel you get from the uni when you visit. I loved York when I visited and it had the best course for me. But I also had offers from uni’s higher in the spurious league tables like bath and Loughborough. But I still chose York.

It’s an incisional choice and an important one. Don’t let others impressions influence you al- go see for yourself.


Basically this, but I'd be more inclined to replace Durham with Edinburgh, Manchester, Warwick, and even Bristol. Durham really isn't that special and if we're talking about international repute the ones I just listed do much better. Loughborough is in the same boat as not fitting in that International category in that cluster either.

York is in the tier of Very Good/ Great Unis.
Original post by Art vanderlay
If reputations matter to you, then I see York
Like this

It’s not Cambridge, Oxford or St. Andrews which IMHO are the premier U.K. uni’s

Then you get, Durham, Imperial, UCL, LSE

Then you get a group of very similar exceptional unis and this is where York fits in. Some of the unis excel in areas and are weaker in others, like Warwick is excellent for maths and York is a top research uni. But overall I see it this way - but it’s just my opinion.

It’s in the same bracket as Warwick, bath, Lancaster, Loughborough, Bristol, Edinburgh, Southampton, Exeter, Nottingham….and a few others.

So make your choice based on your course and the feel you get from the uni when you visit. I loved York when I visited and it had the best course for me. But I also had offers from uni’s higher in the spurious league tables like bath and Loughborough. But I still chose York.

It’s an incisional choice and an important one. Don’t let others impressions influence you al- go see for yourself.


Hi! How do you think York compares to Exeter overall?
Original post by TexReddAcademia
Hi! How do you think York compares to Exeter overall?

In terms of academic reputation you could not find two universities more evenly matched. For whatever it's worth, both are Russell Group and both figure consistently in the top 25 of all the league tables (for example, Exeter is 19 and York 20 in the Complete University Guide for 2023). It's the consistently that matters.

Both are situated in smallish, historic and highly attractive cities. York is a collegiate university (and many students feel that this helps with making friends and joining in) while Exeter is not. Bear in mind also that York is about to move to a semester structure for the academic year.

Choosing between the two should be a matter of which has the most suitable course for you and whether you want to spend three or more years of your life in North Yorkshire or in Devon: two pleasant, largely rural counties at opposite ends of the country.
Original post by Supermature
Both are situated in smallish, historic and highly attractive cities. York is a collegiate university (and many students feel that this helps with making friends and joining in) while Exeter is not. Bear in mind also that York is about to move to a semester structure for the academic year.


I'll just add that York is due to move to a semester structure from the 2023/24 academic year and this will involve changes to how your course is structured to accommodate the new term structure and there may be new courses on offer then.

If anyone has any questions about the uni, feel free to ask here. I've just graduated in BA Social and Political Sciences a couple of days ago. :smile:
Amazingly good student support and general organisation. What are your other options? It's top 10 in the country in my opinion.
Original post by Desigirlremix
So I’m applying to go to York Uni because they offer a great course that only a few other unis offer (social and political sciences with the specific modules I want to study) however I’m worried because my sister and few other people have told me that it’s not a good university and I’m better off not going. If anyone has been and specifically done a similar course, what are your honest opinions? What do you think of the uni itself, the accommodation, the people (is it quite diverse?), the help you get from lecturers/tutors, the classrooms and libraries etc


Hi!

It's great that you are interested in studying with us! We have some really great blogs from SPS students who share their experiences of studying at York, including placement info, week in the life and so on. They might be useful for you to find out a bit more from our actual current students.

If you have any questions about student life at York, give us a shout!

Hazel :smile:

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