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Postgraduate talent

Seven students studying outside the Berrick Saul Building on a nice spring day.

At York, we have a vibrant community of over 5,000 talented postgraduate students. Not only do our postgraduate students have a range of specialist skills and knowledge to offer your organisation, but many have undertaken professional work experience prior to returning to university and/or alongside their studies. 

Many of our postgraduates represent an international community that is incredibly diverse and our students have different motivations for undertaking postgraduate study. These include:

  • the opportunity to enhance their skills and advance in their career
  • specialising in a particular area of their chosen discipline
  • training for a new career
  • the opportunity to bring their knowledge up-to-date

The availability of our postgraduate students will vary depending upon the type of course that they are undertaking: 

  • Postgraduate Taught (PGT): these postgraduate degrees, such as Masters courses, are recognised by the QAA as Level 7 (undergraduate degrees are Level 6). They are structured in a similar way to undergraduate degrees, whereby students complete a series of modules and are taught through a range of lectures, seminars and practical sessions.  Students are assessed on a modular basis and often conduct a substantial research project or dissertation in the final months of study. Our Postgraduate Taught qualifications include MA, MSc, PGCE, PGDip and PGCert.
  • Postgraduate Research (PGR): these postgraduate degree programmes are more independent in nature as students undertake their own self-directed research. Research students work alongside leading academics to conduct an in-depth and original research project that contributes innovative ideas and knowledge to their field of study. Postgraduate Research qualifications include Masters by Research (MRes), typically 1 year and a PhD, which could take 3-4 years of full-time work. 

Find out what our postgraduate student, Esther, said about her Masters degree.

What can our postgraduate students offer employers?

  • Knowledge: York postgraduates have up-to-date, subject specific knowledge and have been taught by leading professionals in their field.
  • Experience: many postgraduates have professional work experience relating to their study programme, so they have first-hand knowledge of what is expected in the workplace and have been able to put their theory into practice.
  • Commitment: pursuing a postgraduate degree demonstrates a high level of determination and perseverance, as well as the desire to develop knowledge and skills.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: when conducting research, our postgraduates will have encountered many obstacles where they will have had to re-evaluate their approaches and respond to critical feedback.
  • Time management: Our postgraduate students take responsibility for their own learning, often balancing studying with part-time employment, extra-curricular activities and other life commitments, while working under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • Advanced research and data analysis skills: York postgraduates are required to complete a dissertation or thesis, which provides them with advanced research and data analysis skills that will be invaluable to your organisation.
  • Communication skills: York postgraduates have the ability to synthesise complex research and articulate this through written and verbal formats in a clear and concise manner.
  • Project management: postgraduate study requires the ability to conduct a detailed independent research project, which means our students can successfully plan and deliver the aims of their project within a particular time frame.

Our postgraduate taught students

Our postgraduate taught students are seeking a range of opportunities that will enable them to apply their specialist knowledge and skills and gain valuable work experience that will help them advance their career after graduation. Depending on their programme of study, our postgraduate students may be seeking:

  • a part-time internship or work experience programme to allow them to further develop their transferable skills and apply their subject knowledge in the workplace
  • a place on a graduate programme
  • an opportunity to build work experience prior to applying for a PhD 
  • a graduate level role that offers the opportunity to apply the skills and experience gained from postgraduate study 

When are our taught postgraduates available to work?

  • Start of the year: September
  • Semester 1: September - January
  • Semester 2: February - June
  • Summer Semester: June - September

The final semester of postgraduate courses is dedicated to completing a dissertation or research project. This means that most postgraduate taught students look for work experience that is flexible and able to fit round their studies, for example a part-time internship or placement.

Our postgraduate research students are not ruled by the same semester dates as our Postgraduate Taught students and therefore are seeking opportunities all year round.

York postgraduate students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week if they are a full-time student. Part-time postgraduate students may be able to work longer hours. Please be aware that international students are usually allowed to undertake part-time work alongside their studies but will have to abide by the requirements of their Tier 4 (student) visa. 

If you would like to advertise your opportunities to our postgraduate taught students, please see the information about advertising your vacancies on Handshake. 

Our postgraduate research students

Our postgraduate research students specialise in a range of disciplines across our three faculties:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Sciences

While working alongside world-renowned  academics in their field, our postgraduate Researchers are at the forefront of new ideas and innovations and have high level research skills. These skills can help employers develop new services, enhance quality and identify potential new markets.

In addition to this, some postgraduates endeavour to use their innovative skills to start their own business, while other students are keen to pursue a career in academia and research.

When are our postgraduate research students available to work?

The majority of our Postgraduate researchers start their courses in September, but others begin in January. This means that there is no ‘fixed’ course completion date and as a result, our researchers seek opportunities all year round. Availability in terms of hours of work may depend on the terms and conditions of their research agreement. Our postgraduate research students seek opportunities that are flexible and can fit around the academic commitments. 

If you would like to advertise vacancies to our postgraduate students, please see the information about advertising vacancies through Handshake.

How can I engage with postgraduate students at York?

At York, we offer a wealth of opportunities for organisations to engage and work with our postgraduate students and these are outlined in our employer brochure. These include:

  • Careers fairs
  • Delivering skills workshops
  • Advertising vacancies on our careers platform, Handshake
  • Setting competitions and challenges
  • Working with us to arrange other opportunities to suit your recruitment needs. A Knowledge Transfer Partnership, otherwise known as KTP, may also be a useful programme for you to explore.

Contact to discuss how you can engage with our postgraduates and how we can support your recruitment needs.