The College System

York was established as a Collegiate University so that Colleges could provide small, interdisciplinary communities within the wider university that would support and enrich the University experience for students and staff.

York students say that being in a Collegiate system offers a richer experience by:

  • providing an instant community with a rich programme of events that help them to settle in and make friends;

  • offering opportunities for leadership and engagement in sports and activities for people of all levels of ability and commitment;

  • a managed and supportive community that helps students to develop skills, resolve problems and overcome issues which could otherwise inhibit their academic success.

All students are members of one of our nine colleges.  Many staff join a college as well.

Nearly all first year undergraduate students and most international students are resident in college accommodation, as are some second, third and fourth year undergraduates.  Wentworth College is for Postgraduate students, though many postgraduates join other colleges.  Students are members of their college throughout their time at York and are encouraged to enagage with college activities, contribute to college life and use college facilities regardless of whether they live in college or off campus.

Although some colleges combine academic with residential and catering facilities, teaching is offered by academic departments at York and not by the college.

All Colleges contribute to enhancing the student experience and supporting students' success by striving to fulfill five strategic aims:

These are:

  • Stimulating academic attainment – facilitating social opportunities and creating a culture to enhance students' academic curiosity and motivation to learn. 

  • Creating cohesive communities – developing an environment which enables students from diverse identities and backgrounds to learn to live both independently and in a supportive and inclusive community.

  • Developing skills and employability – encouraging and supporting a programme of, largely, student-led activities, in conjunction with other departments in the University, which will help students to increase their skills and prospects and develop leadership qualities.

  • Promoting diversity, an ethical approach and intercultural and environmental sensitivity – providing opportunities for students to challenge themselves and each other, to discover new cultures and experiences, and to promote the University’s vision and values. 

  • Encouraging well-being – providing sporting, social and welfare activities and interventions that encourage healthy living and reduce mental strain, enabling students to develop self-reliance and resilience and, in conjunction with other sections of the University, supporting students in distress.

History, people, culture, traditions, location and facilities make each college distinct and different.  Students join a College during the process of securing a room in a college and enrolling.  All colleges offer an excellent community and support for students' success and wellbeing.

See for yourself our nine colleges and what makes each college distinct: