Skip to content Accessibility statement

Building work on Heslington East

Enabling Objective 1: To be sufficiently large to be excellent, resilient and financially sustainable

The University Strategy


In an environment in which research-intensive universities face increasing global competition for students, staff and resources, York cannot remain a small institution.  To remain competitive as a broad-based University, with the ability to invest in new initiatives and the capacity to innovate, York must continue to grow.  However, this must not be at the cost of quality – on the contrary, growth should serve to enhance academic excellence, to raise standards overall and to make the University more resilient.  It follows that the scale and pace of growth will be informed by the academic enhancement it can deliver. 

How will we achieve this?

  1. We will grow by recruiting more academics and admitting more students

  • We will increase student numbers in programmes that are strong and have the potential to recruit additional excellent students.  We will consider carefully how we can achieve an optimal balance between undergraduate and postgraduate students, and between home/EU and international students. 
  • We will encourage departments to develop new provision in subject areas that are attractive to the best students. 
  • Any significant increase in student numbers will be matched by academic appointments, to protect and enhance departments’ research capacity and to ensure that all students are adequately supported.  Where appropriate, we will also appoint additional support staff.

  1. We will establish a new International Foundation Programme on our campus

  • The International Foundation Programme will provide a pathway into higher education for able international students who do not yet meet the requirements for direct entry.
  • Possibly in collaboration with partner organisations, we will develop the programme as a vehicle for recruiting additional international students to the University.
  • In conjunction with the International Foundation Programme, we will explore how we can use the expertise in our Centre for English Language Teaching to support the recruitment of international students.

  1. We will grow our distance-learning provision

  • Where possible and appropriate, we will grow student numbers on our existing distance-learning programmes.
  • We will encourage departments to establish new distance-learning programmes.
  • We will establish a York Distance Learning School, which will oversee all our distance-learning provision, give it a strong identity, and provide a forum for sharing of good practice. The Distance Learning School will support departments and centres in the development of new programmes.

  1. We will increase our income from sources other than regular student fees to give us additional capacity for investment

  • We will grow research income (see Key Objective 1).
  • We will grow income from our commercial activities.
  • We will maximise our income from economic development funds and related sources.
  • We will encourage departments to grow income from academic-related activities, such as CPD courses, summer schools, consultancy and spin-out activity.

  1. We will ensure that we have the physical infrastructure to support growth

  • We will continue to develop the Heslington East campus to support expansion of the University through a mix of academic, residential, economic and amenity buildings.
  • We will build a dedicated teaching building on the Heslington West campus.
  • We will replace the remaining poor-quality buildings on the Heslington West campus.
  • We will aim to achieve an optimal balance between investment in academic capacity in departments and investment in infrastructure.  We will ensure that capital planning proceeds in close conjunction with academic planning.  We will develop and secure sufficient financial resource to fund the capital programme requirements.
  • We will continue to invest in the six programmes of our Information Strategy and in its implementation plans, including the IT Strategy.