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First students of new online degrees graduate at the University of York

Posted on 8 February 2021

The first students to enrol on innovative online flexible degree programmes at the University of York are celebrating after graduating.

The courses enable greater flexibility of study. Credit: University of York/John Houlihan

The 45 students graduated from the two-year, part-time postgraduate programmes run by The University of York Management School and the Department of Computer Science.  Graduation ceremonies took place online at the end of January.

Middlesbrough footballer Duncan Watmore was among the first cohort to choose an online degree designed so that people can balance their studies around work and personal commitments.

Professional football player

Duncan started his MSc in International Business, Leadership and Management in 2018 and juggled it around a full-time career in professional football.

He said: “I feel very lucky to be a professional football player but it’s always important in this game to have an eye on the future.

“I really enjoyed my Masters at York. I enjoy learning and had finished my undergraduate degree while playing football and I was delighted when in 2018 I heard about the course at York as I was looking to carry on my studies.  Being able to study online and flexibly made it possible to fit it around my football.” 


Professor Tracy Lightfoot, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Students said:We are delighted to see our first students graduate from these programmes, which are designed to allow greater flexibility of study, enabling access to learning at a time and place that suits their own individual circumstances. 

“Their achievements are testimony to their hard work, determination and commitment to their studies, often alongside full-time work and family responsibilities, which have undoubtedly provided even greater challenges over the last year. 

“Our University vision is to widen access to learning and enable more people to return to study and re-skill mid-career and we are excited by the expansion of our portfolio of online programmes over the forthcoming year.” 

The courses are run in partnership with Higher Ed Partners (HEP) who support the creation of one-to-one interactions between students and academics online, discussion forums, video lectures and guided reading lists.


Another MSc International Business, Leadership and Management graduate Nick Geary said: “The course has been incredibly flexible.  Before the pandemic I was able to study at home in my own time and also while I was deployed with work to locations in other countries.

“Access to reading materials and course content was easy and the self-paced nature of the modules, along with the course videos meant that balancing studying with work and life was easy.”

There are six start dates for the new courses every year, allowing students to begin studying at their convenience. Students can also spread the cost of their degree by paying their tuition course fees per module. They can take up to six years to complete their studies. 

Further information:

To find out more about The University of York’s innovative online programmes, click here. 

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