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Pre-University Summer School

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Learn from experts, make friends and explore Yorkshire through our unique programme.

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10th in the UK

for our research, The Times Higher Education's REF ranking, 2021.

15th in the UK

in The Times Good University Guide 2024, with 14 subjects ranked in the top 10.

Joint 17th

in The Complete University Guide 2024, with 13 subjects ranked in the UK top 10.

19th in the UK

in The Guardian University Guide 2024, with 6 subjects ranked in the top 10.

Applications now open

Dates and subjects

Our Pre-University Summer School takes place in two, two-week sessions between 30 June and 3 August 2024. 

You'll choose one academic subject from the options below.

Session 1: 30 June - 13 July 2024

Arrival day: Sunday 30 June

Departure day: Saturday 13 July

Exploring the Universe and Engineering the Future

From the most fundamental building blocks of the universe to cutting edge technologies, physics and engineering help us to both understand the world around us and make positive changes to our environment.  

On this short course, you will explore the full scale of the cosmos, from the smallest particles to stars and galaxies. You will learn about cutting edge research that may offer solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing issues, from climate change to healthcare. You will discover how new technologies are changing our everyday lives, from immersive audiovisual experiences to space robotics. You will also have the opportunity to put your learning into action with hands-on lab experiments and engineering challenges, giving you an insight into what studying physics and engineering at university is like.

This course is offered by the School of Physics, Engineering and Technology, which brings together physicists and engineers to push the frontiers of knowledge, foster innovation and meet the grand challenges facing society.

Literature on Location: Exploring Literary Yorkshire

Yorkshire has an extraordinary literary history that stretches from before the medieval period right to the present day. How has the county and its spectacular landscapes influenced some of the most important works of English literature? And what does it mean to think about novels, poems, drama and more in the place they were imagined and created?

On this short course, you will learn about literature written in and about Yorkshire, taking in the poems and fiction of the Brontë sisters, Wilkie Collins’ Victorian detective novel, The Moonstone, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Anne Lister’s coded diaries, and contemporary writing by Kate Atkinson and A. S. Byatt among others.

This course is offered by the Department of English and Related Literature, 7th in the UK for English, according to The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Feeding the Future

As the global population grows, we face a range of challenges, including an increasing demand for food and other resources. Scientists are working to develop solutions to the problems that threaten our food supply, such as unsustainable farming practices and a changing climate. We need more nutritious and resilient crops, alongside circular processes where food waste is used to make valuable products to reduce the demand for non-renewable resources.

On this short course, you will learn about recent research that aims to better understand and tackle these challenges. You will hear from the people carrying out this important research and gain hands-on experience of laboratory work. As part of a small team, you will also have the opportunity to develop possible solutions to these global challenges.

This course is jointly offered by the Department of Biology, a UK top 10 department and the Department of Chemistry, 7th for Chemistry in the 2023 Complete University guide.

Session 2: 21 July - 3 August 2024

Arrival day: Sunday 21 July

Departure day: Saturday 3 August

Developing Solutions to Environmental Challenges

There’s never been a more important time to study environmental issues. Climate change is having major impacts on agriculture and wildlife. Air pollution is affecting human health and reducing life expectancy. Plastic waste is clogging our waterways and disrupting ocean ecosystems.

On this short course, you will learn about pressing environmental issues and the ways in which we are trying to solve them through research, education, policies and innovations. You will participate in discussions about the best ways to solve environmental problems, and what we need to do now to protect and repair our planet.

This course is offered by the Department of Environment and Geography, a top 15 UK research department, ranked 2nd for research impact in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences.

Exploring the World with Psychology

Psychology can be found within all aspects of daily life and society. Join us to explore just a small part of what psychology can tell us about the worlds of technology, health and wellbeing, neurodiversity and prejudice.  

On this short course, you will learn how technology has changed the way we interact with one another and how psychology can help us to understand these new interactions. You will take a look at the psychology that explains why people have negative attitudes towards others and what we can try to do about this. You will investigate the impact that our gender, childhood, personalities and stress levels can have on our health and wellbeing. You will also discover what it really means to live and grow up being neurodiverse, trying to navigate the world with, for example, dyslexia or ADHD, and why listening to lived experiences can help improve research and our understanding.

This course is offered by the Department of Psychology, one of the world’s top psychology departments, excelling in both teaching and research.

Who can apply?

Our international Pre-University Summer School is open to all students aged 16-18 who are currently in secondary or further education. You may be planning to enter higher education within the next couple of years and be ready to get a taste of student life at a Russell Group university. 

You must have had your 16th birthday before your programme starts.

The application deadline is 17 May. 

Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Early application is advised to secure availability for your chosen academic option.

York’s Pre-University Summer School is designed for students with a keen academic interest. We do not have formal academic requirements and will not ask for a school transcript, however, you will be required to demonstrate your interest in the programme and the academic option you choose through your application form and an informal interview with our staff. Interviews take place online by video call. 

Students are expected to have the required motivation, independence and maturity to participate in an intensive academic and social university-level programme. 

The programme is suitable for both native speakers of English and for students who have been learning English as a second/foreign language.

We do not ask for proof of your English language proficiency, however, to ensure all students receive the full value of the programme, we strongly recommend that applicants have a good upper-intermediate level of English (at least around CEFR B2 or IELTS 5). 


  • First, complete the online application form. After you have submitted the application form, please allow five working days for your application to be assessed.
  • Then, attend an informal interview with one of our team members. If your application progresses to the interview stage, you will receive an email asking you to choose a time slot for a video call with one of our team. We ask that you book an interview within two weeks of receiving the invitation.

Interviews are an opportunity for you to expand on the statement you made in your application about why you are applying for the programme. Tell us what interests you about the programme, the academic option you have chosen and studying at the University of York. 

You are also invited to ask our team any questions you may have, although please be mindful that interviews are allocated 15-minute time slots. If we run out of time, and you can’t find the answer to your question on our website, please email us at

Following an interview, we aim to inform applicants of the outcome of their application within 3 working days. 

If your application is successful, you will receive an Offer Letter by email. This letter confirms the programme and academic option you have selected, the start and end date, and the payment deadline. An Acceptance to Study form will also be attached to the email where both you and your parent/guardian will be asked to consent to the terms and conditions and policies of the programme. 

In order to accept your place on the programme you will be asked to: 

  • Return the Acceptance to Study form
  • Pay the programme fee in full via the University’s online store by the indicated deadline. Please refer to the terms and conditions regarding payment. 

Please allow at least three working days for our team to confirm receipt of your payment and documents. On confirmation of your place, you will receive an Acceptance Letter by email.  

Please note, your place on the programme is not confirmed until payment has been received and the Acceptance to Study form is returned. 

Programme details

Study programme

Develop knowledge and skills that will help you get to university and beyond with our workshops, lectures and more:

  • 21 hours of core subject content per session, designed and delivered by York academics and teaching staff.
  • Co-curricular sessions on academic skills, university preparation and intercultural communication. 
  • A taster of the University’s flagship York Strengths employability skills programme and an introduction to some of the pioneering research happening at York.
  • Complete a final group assignment typical of undergraduate-level study in your chosen subject area.

Extra-curricular activities

Enjoy cultural visits, day excursions and fun-packed activities:

  • Two full-day excursions to places of historical, cultural and geographical interest around Yorkshire and the north of England. 
  • Explore your new home with sightseeing visits and tours in York 
  • Daily free time activities led by University of York students

Download the timetable for the 2024 Pre-University programme

Programme fees

Our fees  
Programme fee per session £3995

The programme fee includes all tuition and course materials, accommodation for 13 nights, catering, transport and entry fees for trips and visits, free time activities, certificate of completion, Wi-Fi on campus and in York city centre, and 24/7 staffing and support.

*Apply now to take advantage of our early bird rate for all applications received before midnight on 29 March 2024. Subject to availability at the time of application. Programme fee from 30 March 2024 is £3,995.


Accommodation and catering

You will be staying in a single room with a shared bathroom (usually one bathroom per 5 to 6 students) in one of our 11 colleges situated on our wonderful parkland campus. Your fellow students will be staying in the same accommodation block, but you will have the privacy of your own room. 

You will be assigned in groups to a resident assistant on arrival. Resident assistants are current University of York students who are there to support you throughout the programme. Summer School staff will live alongside students in the accommodation to ensure 24/7 support is available. 

Catering includes three meals per day, except on the day of arrival when only dinner is provided (for arrivals prior to 6pm), and on the day of departure when only breakfast is provided. 

Dietary requirements will be catered for. Please give relevant information where prompted on your application form.

Getting to the University of York

Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the University, including any necessary visas or immigration permissions. 

If you need to apply for a passport or renew/replace your passport, you should begin this process as soon as possible after you have been accepted onto the programme. 

We advise that you do not start to make travel arrangements until you have received your Acceptance Letter and the programme is confirmed. We also strongly advise that you invest in a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers cancellations, personal possessions and healthcare. Please see our terms and conditions for more details.

If you are not a UK or Irish citizen, you may need immigration permission to enter the UK and take part in the programme. 

Overseas students who will be studying in the UK for 6 months or less can do so on a Standard Visitor Visa and this will likely be the most appropriate route for most of our students. 

You can check if you need a visa and how to apply at the UK Visas and Immigration website. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct immigration permissions to participate in the programme.

If you need a visa, you should apply after your place on the programme has been confirmed and you have received a Letter of Acceptance. Your Letter of Acceptance will include your passport number so please make sure this is valid and correct.

An optional group airport transfer service will be available to book by YGSS students. The service runs at select times between Manchester Airport (MAN) and the University of York on arrival and departure days.

More information will be provided after you have accepted your place on the programme and you will be able to book a service through the University’s online store. The fee per student for a one-way journey is £100.

Get a guaranteed offer at the University of York

If you successfully complete our programme, we guarantee that you will be invited to interview or receive a typical offer for a place to study on an undergraduate programme at the University of York.


This offer is only available to international students (including EU). To be eligible you will need to:

  • have successfully completed the Pre-University Summer School programme of York Global Summer Schools
  • have the potential to meet the typical entry requirements (academic, including any essential subjects, and English language) for your chosen programme
  • complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) by the January equal consideration deadline within two years of completing York Global Summer Schools.

Excluded courses: