The new School of Business and Society (which encompasses York Management School, and social policy and social work) has a new home to match in the university’s recently completed Church Lane building, which has a modern, flexible working environment and outdoor social spaces. In step with its vision for a 21st-century campus the university’s investment in facilities at the original Heslington West campus and the linked Heslington East campus continues. The Hull York Medical School has been redesigned and has new clinical skills spaces nearby.
Pushing the boundaries of research towards innovations such as driverless cars, the £45 million York Institute for Safe Autonomy has opened, housing specialist laboratories and testing facilities for assuring the safety of robotics and connected autonomous systems. Another recent launch, the Eleanor and Guy Dodson building, provides cutting-edge research facilities for determining protein structure.
Occupying a 200-acre parkland campus, York is one of only a handful of UK universities to operate a collegiate system. These student communities cross year groups and academic disciplines, and colleges are the bases for accommodation, social activities, sports competition and support networks. Anne Lister (York’s tenth college) opened in 2021 with 348 student bedrooms. Newer still is David Kato college, due to open in September 2022 on Campus East to host about 700 students. Applications to York increased by about 11 per cent in 2021 while enrolments rose by roughly half as much.
Rates of student satisfaction held up well at York during the pandemic and have continued to do so in 2022. The university maintains a top-40 position for satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience. It has lost some ground regarding its students' assessment of teaching quality but remains comfortably among the upper half of universities nationally.
For the 2022-23 academic year, York is ensuring that all students have in-person teaching, while also using a mix of online and in-person activities for some programmes. The university was already using blended learning and flipped classroom methods before the pandemic. A podcasting approach to recorded lectures is a new development.
Career planning begins early for undergraduates via a number of employability initiatives. The York Strengths programme kicks off in the first year, providing opportunities for students to work out what careers suit them and to build confidence around communicating their strengths. Another initiative, Your Career Journey, highlights the opportunities available throughout university life and maps students’ progress by year of study. Students of all academic disciplines have the opportunity to take a placement year and host organisations have included Amazon, Warner Brothers and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – as well as smaller digital and creative businesses.
Such efforts are paying off in high rates of graduate employment. The latest figures show that more than four in five (82 per cent) York graduates were in highly skilled jobs or further study 15 months after finishing their degree. The university's performance in the Graduate Outcomes survey earns joint 26th place in our graduate prospects ranking.
York’s efforts to develop employability skills and careers support were among the factors behind its upgrade to gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework in 2018. The panel found excellent academic support and a research-strong environment that engages students and provides outstanding levels of stretch.
York, founded in 1963, became a University of Sanctuary in 2020 to demonstrate its commitment to offering a safe place for refugees, asylum seekers and other forced migrants. The university ranks above all but four of its fellow Russell Group members in our social inclusion index and it was the first of its research-led peers to sign the Social Mobility Pledge — a coalition of businesses and universities that have vowed to put levelling-up at the heart of their operations.
The proportion of students recruited from non-selective state schools is approaching three-quarters (73.9 per cent) and almost 10 per cent of students are drawn from deprived areas (ranking York in the top half of UK universities on this measure). At 5.3 per cent, York's proportion of white working-class boys – the most underrepresented group in higher education – is just outside the top 50 nationally. About a quarter of British undergraduates and about 5 per cent of undergraduates from the European Union qualify for some form of financial assistance.
The £9 million York Sport Village features a 25m pool, trainer pool, 120-station gym, 3G pitch and five-a-side pitches. The university has the only outdoor velodrome in Yorkshire, a 1km cycling track and an athletics track, as well as its own boathouse on the River Ouse.
Legend has it that York’s historic cobbled streets have a pub for every day of the year, while the city also has its share of student-friendly nightclubs. Leeds is within easy reach for bigger nights out.
First-years who apply by the deadline are guaranteed accommodation – much of it catered (breakfast and dinner, five days per week) depending on the college.