Our approach to online and distance education

Berrick Saul Building - Photo (cc) Matt Cornock

Online and distance learning courses at the University of York allow you to study flexibly, anywhere in the world, and receive a recognised and respected qualification from a leading international university and member of the Russell Group of top UK universities. 

We only offer online and distance learning courses where we have a particular strength. Our courses provide high quality, research-informed curricula, combined with personal academic support. Studying with us, you'll be part of a collaborative learning community and have access to excellent learning resources.

Professional development

Professional development

Many of our courses have been designed to enable work and study to be combined, providing professional development within an international peer group. This approach brings benefits to both work and study:

  • Insights, ideas, skills and good practice acquired through the course can be immediately applied at work.
  • Shared professional experience will enrich your studies.
  • Study can be undertaken at any time and place within the structure of the course.
  • Most courses do not require time away from work.

How our online and distance learning courses work

Structure and support

All our online and distance learning courses have been designed from the outset with distance learners in mind and our staff are active in the field of online and distance learning pedagogy

  • You will follow a structured learning programme with access to a virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE is an online classroom and comprehensive resource centre that is available day and night from a computer or mobile device.
  • To complete your course you will need a  personal computer with a broadband internet connection and Office software suite, compatible with Word and Excel formats. Several courses also require students to have a webcam and microphone to facilitate online discussion. Please check individual course details for exact requirements.
  • You will not be studying on your own: expert academic support is provided by course tutors and you will also interact with, and learn from, your fellow students.
  • Some courses are wholly 'asynchronous' (so you don’t have to be online at the same time as your tutors and fellow students), while others include some real-time contact, either online or face-to-face. View the course details for more details.

Online and distance learning courses are not an easy option and they are as academically rigorous as our campus-based courses. To be successful requires hard work, determination and time management skills but we will provide a high level of academic support and the rewards can be huge, as our student testimonials demonstrate.

The difference between an online and distance learning course at York and MOOCs (massive open online courses)?

Interaction with others and academic staff, individualised feedback, support

MOOCs can be a useful way of testing your interest in a particular subject area. MOOCs are however, typically rather impersonal, provide little or no opportunity to interact directly with academics, have limited support structures and do not generally lead to recognised qualifications.

In contrast, on an online and distance learning course at York you will be part of a small cohort, will get to know and interact with your tutors and fellow students, receive individualised feedback on your performance and be able to access additional support if you run into difficulties. Crucially, if you successfully complete your course you will receive a recognised and respected qualification from a leading international University.