University of York


The University of York (abbreviated as Ebor. for post-nominals) is a research-intensive plate glass university located in the city of York, England. Established in 1963, the campus university has expanded to more than thirty departments and centres, covering a wide range of subjects.

Situated to the south-east of the city of York, the university campus is about 200 acres (80 hectares) in size, incorporating the York Science Park and the National Science Learning Centre. Its wildlife, campus lakes and greenery are prominent, and the institution also occupies buildings in the city of York. In May 2007 the university was granted permission to build an extension to its main campus, on arable land just east of the nearby village of Heslington. The second campus, known as Heslington East, opened in 2009 and now hosts three colleges and three departments as well as conference spaces, sports village and a business start-up “incubator”.

York is a collegiate university and every student is allocated to one of the university’s nine colleges. The ninth college was founded in 2014 and was named Constantine after the Roman emperor Constantine I, who was proclaimed Augustus in York in 306 AD. There are plans to build two new colleges in the near future.

In the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, York was named as the 14th best research institution in the United Kingdom. The university also places among the top 20 in the country, top 50 universities in Europe, and ranked 131st in the world, according to the 2016 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. York is described as a “genuinely world class” institution by The Times and The Sunday Times. In 2012 York joined the Russell Group, which represents some of the UK’s most prestigious universities.

The first petition for the establishment of a university in York was presented to James I in 1617. In 1641 a second petition was drawn up but was not delivered due to the English Civil War in 1642. A third petition was created in 1647 but was rejected by Parliament. In the 1820s there were discussions about the founding of a university in York, but this did not come to fruition due to the founding of Durham University in 1832. In 1903 F. J. Munby and the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, amongst others, proposed a ‘Victoria University of Yorkshire’.

In 1963 the university opened with 216 undergraduates, 14 postgraduates, and 28 academic and administrative staff. The university started with six departments: Economics, Education, English, History, Mathematics, Politics. At the time, the university consisted of three buildings, principally the historic King’s Manor in the city centre and Heslington Hall, which has Tudor foundations and is in the village of Heslington on the edge of York. A year later, work began on purpose-built structures on the Heslington Campus, which now forms the main part of the university.

York’s first two Colleges, Derwent and Langwith were founded in 1965, and were followed by Alcuin and Vanbrugh in 1967 and Goodricke in 1968. In 1972 this was followed by Wentworth College.

The university was noted for its inventive approach to teaching. It was known for its early adoption of joint honours degrees which were often very broad such as history and biology. It also took an innovative approach to social science introducing a five year long degree in the subject.


York is a collegiate university and has nine colleges. Every student is a member of a college and staff may choose to join a college if they wish. All colleges have equal status, and each has its own constitution. Other colleges however combine undergraduate and postgraduate representation together into student associations. The colleges are deliberately assigned undergraduates, postgraduate students and staff from a wide mixture of disciplines. The university plans on building a tenth college which would be located on Heslington West.

The 9 Institutions are:

  • Derwent College
  • Langwith College
  • Alcuin College
  • Vanbrugh College
  • Goodricke College
  • Wentworth College
  • James College
  • Halifax College
  • Constantine College

The university hosts a number of interdisciplinary research centres, including the Borthwick Institute for Archives, Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Centre for Modern Studies, the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Institute for Effective Education and the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past. The Department of Politics hosts the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit and the Centre for Applied Human Rights.

The Heslington West campus hosts the National Science Learning Centre which opened in March 2006, it serves as the hub for a £51 million national network of centres dedicated to revitalising science teaching in schools. It is operated by the White Rose University Consortium (which comprises the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York) together with Sheffield Hallam University.

The departments are:

  • Department of Archaeology
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Economics and Related Studies
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Electronics
  • Department of English and Related Literature
  • Department of Environment
  • Department of Health Sciences
  • Department of History
  • Department of History of Art
  • Department of Language and Linguistic Studies
  • York Law School
  • The York Management School
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Hull York Medical School
  • Department of Music
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Politics
  • School of Politics, Economics and Philosophy
  • Department of Psychology
  • School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Department of Social Policy and Social Work
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Theatre, Film and Television


A/AS level

They recognise that the planned changes to the 16–19 curriculum will mean that, from 2017 entry on, the opportunities open to students to take combinations of A and AS level examinations will vary from school to school and college to college.

The University of York will not discriminate for or against students according to the practice in their school or college and they will continue to take into account all information available to them in the UCAS application, including past examination performance and predictions of future success.

Separation of science practical assessments 

The University of York recognises the value of practical work undertaken during the study of science A levels in contributing to students’ understanding of the curriculum, and in building skills for the future. When results in academic and practical work are separately reported, they will normally expect to see a Pass grade in the practical element of a science A level. Where a Pass grade is required, this will be explicitly stated as part of the applicant’s offer.

More information about entry requirements at the University of York in available on their website.


York academics are world-leaders in their field, undertaking research which has a global impact and is supported by an informal culture which fosters interdisciplinary collaboration. Students are taught by these researchers and benefit from their extensive knowledge and real-world experience.

A research-intensive Russell Group university, the University of York has the highest average score for teaching quality in the British university sector. It is also ranked 10th for the impact of its research. In recent years it has also performed strongly in commercialising its intellectual property and was a pioneer in developing the first co-located science park to develop strong engagement with business and industry, and to support the commercialisation of its research.

The doubling of the size of the campus now offers additional opportunities for further co-location of cognate businesses and to embed industrial teams into academic departments to amplify the translation of research.


York has had consistently high scores for teaching quality in the National Student Survey (NSS).


York offers opportunities to research career opportunities with an extensive range of online resources and help from careers staff. Students can also use the Careers Timeline to track their choices and access support during their student journey.

York students can learn about successful York graduates’ career journeys through talks, online case studies and mentoring schemes. York has a global network of over 100,000 York alumni, many of whom visit campus, share their stories and are there to offer support.

At York, students generate career ideas, access work experience and develop the skills portfolio they need with the unique Employability Tutorial tailored to each individual.

York students connect with mentors and business advisors and tap into the culture of enterprise and innovation at York in the dedicated Student Enterprise Space. The centre offers free hot-desking facilities and support, to help them put their ideas into action.

The York Award allows students to expand their key skills and experience through an innovative personal development programme.

YuStart enables students to crowdfund for innovative projects, events and ideas whilst developing transferable skills (York was the first university in the UK to establish a dedicated site for students).

York Profiles and Mentors Platform enables alumni and friends share their experience of the world of work and so support students in their career planning in a range of activity from simply providing a profile to read, answering questions or through mentoring.

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