Accessibility statement

Personal development

As well as a good degree, employers also look for other appropriate skills and qualities. We take a keen interest in the personal development of our students, and provide a structured and supported programme of personal development planning (PDP) to help you reflect upon your learning, performance and achievements, and plan your personal, educational and career development.

You meet with your supervisor specifically to discuss this at least once a year. We encourage you to widen your experience and skills and to develop your non-academic interests during your time at University. You can take advantage of the many extra-curricular activities on offer, both within and outside of the Department. Here are some examples of what’s on offer:

Student representatives

Student feedback is sought on all aspects of our teaching and learning environment, and each year-group has student representatives on the teaching boards and the staff-student liaison committee.

York Biosciences Society

There is a friendly student-run Biosciences Society for anyone studying or interested in the biosciences. There are lots of ways you can get involved, with regular activities ranging from guest lectures to sports and social events, or you could put yourself forward as a member of the committee.

York Award

You can sign up for the "York Award" scheme, which recognises and rewards personal development, offering a structure to help you gain skills for employment and life, and encouraging you to make the most of your university experience.

Outreach activities

You can help with our outreach activities, for example demonstrating scientific experiments to visiting schoolchildren either in our teaching laboratories or out in neighbouring schools.

York Students in Schools (YSIS)

Many of our students take part in YSIS, a voluntary programme that enables you to help in a variety of ways in schools, from classroom support to sports coaching.


There are plenty of opportunities to extend your range of skills and experience through other volunteering schemes. Whichever scheme you choose, the Students' Union will give you advice and support when you’re finding a suitable role, as well as during and after your placement.

Languages For All (LFA)

Why not learn a new language or continue with another, from beginner to degree-level standard?

University clubs and societies

The University clubs and societies cover pretty much everything, from sporting and musical activities to cultural, religious and political groups. There’s something for everyone!

Part time jobs

Many students work part-time to support themselves during their degree course. This can be a valuable and positive experience, as well as helping financially. Careers provide a guide to part-time work and the interactive careers service, for students looking for term-time jobs on campus or in the city.