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Overseas university spotlight: University of York (UK)

The University of York is located in one of the UK's most visited cities.


It features picturesque cobblestone streets, winding alleyways, the largest medieval Gothic cathedral north of the Alps and the longest Roman city walls in the UK.


But for a city with so much history, its main university is relatively young, founded in 1963.


It's also one of the younger Russell Group institutions; however, for students wanting to study archaeology and the past, it's one of the best.


Here are some of the highlights from my trip to campus in July 2023!


Manmade lake on campus

York city


In addition to being one of the top tourist destinations in the UK, York is also a safe place to live, with the lowest crime rate in England and Wales.


The Shambles is perhaps the most famous street in which buildings that date back to the 14th century appear to tilt out over the narrow walkway.


Little Shambles street
York's famous timber buildings
It's Christmas every day in York!
It's Christmas every day in York!

The main landmark in the city, however, is definitely the York Minster, which had started being built in 1200, was finished around 1470 and now looms over the city.


York Minster
York Minster
York Minster
York Minster
York Minster

The city also has two scenic rivers running through it, a castle on a mound and plenty of places to shop and eat.


River Ouse
York Castle
York Castle
coppergate shopping

Campus


York is made up of three campuses: one in the city centre and then two that are about 15 minutes on the bus from the city (Campus East and Campus West).


Combined, these campuses cover 500 acres (about 300 football fields) and serve about 22,000 students (6,500 whom are international and 200 who are from the U.S).


But one of the most unique features about studying at York is its college system, in which all students belong to one of its 11 colleges.


These colleges are residential and social (unlike Oxford and Cambridge, whose colleges are also academic), and provide an instant community of friends across disciplines.


Langworth College
Langworth College on Campus East

Campus East is the newer part, which is where students who study computer science, sociology, arts and creative technologies, business and law will study.


Computer Science department
Law and Sociology
School of Arts and Creative Technologies

In the School of Arts and Creative Technologies, you'll find England's oldest student-run TV station.


Inside the School of Arts and Creative Technologies
Production room
Student projects
Student projects

Perhaps even more unique is its BA Business of the Creative Industries degree, which is the only one of its kind in the UK.


This course combines high level business and creative skills and is industry-facing, with work experience built in.


Graduates go on to work in film, TV, business, media and music.


Recording studio

York also offers a BA in Film & TV Production, BA Interactive Media and BA Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance -- and the facilities are outstanding, with multiple performance spaces.


York performance studios
On-campus theatre
On-campus theatre

Campus East also has one of the most amazing places I've ever seen to study -- study pods on a lake!


Study pods on the lake

Students can book these study pods for a relaxing and peaceful place to work or collaborate!


Study pods on the lake
Study pods on the lake
Study pods on the lake
Ron Cooke Hub and the lakeside study pods
Ron Cooke Hub and the lakeside study pods

There are also plenty of places to grab a bite, with 19 on-site catering outlets across the campuses.


Inside the Ron Cooke Hub
Inside the Ron Cooke Hub
Inside the Ron Cooke Hub
Campus East grounds
Campus East grounds

Only a few minutes away by bus is where you'll find Campus West.


Heslington Hall (university administration)
Heslington Hall (university administration)
Derwent College
Derwent College

There are ducks and geese galore here!


Derwent College
Lots of green space
More ducks and geese
Norman Rea Gallery, a student-run gallery
Norman Rea Gallery, a student-run gallery
Courtyard Bar

Campus West is home to the departments of psychology, biology, music, environment and geography, English and history.


History of Art
Department of History
Environment and Geography
Environment and Geography
Environment and Geography
Lecture theatre
Lecture theatre

There are lots of works in process to upgrade the facilities here and the library, too.


Careers and Placements

In term time, students gather around the lake, which is manmade but still beautiful nonetheless!


Manmade lake
Central Hall auditorium
Central Hall auditorium
Campus Lake
More campus geese

Lastly, the city centre campus is by far the most beautiful, and it's home to the department of archaeology (ranked fifth in the UK).


The area right outside the city centre campus
The area right outside the city centre campus

Archaeology takes in about 100 undergraduate students per year and is one of the largest departments in the UK.


Archaeology department

The degree takes an integrated science and humanities approach and includes exciting field trips such as a visit to Skipsea Castle in the first year.


Archaeology department

My favorite area was the King's Manor Library, which is absolutely stunning.


King's Manor Library
King's Manor Library
King's Manor Library
Inclusive environment
Inclusive environment
Archaeology building
Archaeology building

Third-year archaeology students also get to design and present their own seminars on a topic, which are then graded.


Courtyard within the archaeology building
Courtyard within the archaeology building
Courtyard within the archaeology building
Courtyard within the archaeology building
Archaeology classroom and lab - an underground bunker!
Archaeology classroom and lab - an underground bunker!

University of York: Summary


For a relatively young university, the University of York has done well to rank 139th in the world (Times Higher Education, 2023).


Students love the collegiate system, in which they belong to one of York's 11 colleges throughout their entire degree.


The colleges provide their own social activities, clubs and sports and each have different personalities, too.


University of York

For high school students who want to get a taster of university life, York also offers a pre-university summer school for two weeks.


And whether it's the colleges themselves or the wider university network, students are well-supported, including the benefit of a free pickup from the Manchester Airport when they first arrive in the UK.


Best of all, students get to live in the charming and historical city of York -- which, with only 200,000 people -- is easy to navigate, safe and full of character.


 

Interested in applying for college or grad school overseas?