Accessibility statement

York Award

The NEW York Award is here! Let York Award shine a light on everything you've done at university, even through a global pandemic.

We appreciate that getting experience and accessing opportunities is more difficult at the moment. However you’ve found the last 12 months, York Award can help you to find value and meaning in the things you have done.

University life is about much more than just your degree. There are so many opportunities to develop your strengths and enhance your skills to make you more attractive to employers.

The York Award recognises participation in some elements of Your Career Journey. Everything required to make an application is accessible online. We will also ensure any support materials can be accessed remotely.

The York Award provides a helpful framework through which you can reflect on your personal and professional development within and outside your programme of study, and recognises and rewards your contribution to college life, societies, volunteering, employer events, work placements and internships. Use York Award to find the positives from last year and shine a light on everything you’ve done at university.

We will be accepting applications for York Award at the end of Spring term 2021 for final year undergraduates, with further application opportunities for penultimate year undergraduates and postgraduates later in the year.

Taking part in York Strengths is a great place to start, further support and information is also available via our Covid-19 page on the Careers and Placements website, including how to book an appointment and further resources. 

Whatever you've done during your time at York, make it count with York Award.

"The York Award was a brilliant way to motivate myself to get involved. It's great that I get recognition for all the time I committed to the University and the city of York!" 

- York Award Graduate

Explore more about what the York Award is, who it’s for, how to apply, and answers to our most frequently asked questions in the pages below:

What is York Award?

The University of York was the first in the UK to offer an employability award, with the original York Award launched in 1997.

In 2019/20 the York Award was reviewed, and consultation undertaken with key graduate employers, current students and academics of the University of York. As a result, we made some changes to incorporate the best bits of our previous York Award and York Award Gold programme, added some new elements, and rolled everything into one new award that’s open to everyone and generally completed at the end of your time at York - the NEW York Award!

The York Award is a formal award of the University that demonstrates how a student has taken a proactive approach to life at university, and recognises personal and professional development within and outside your programme of study. It is a great addition to your CV, helping you to pull together and reflect on your experiences. Participating in the York Award can help you articulate the positive characteristics you have to offer in a way that appeals to employers and future study providers, and supports your next steps after graduation.

The York Award provides an opportunity to record and reflect on:

  • Your personal strengths - which you will have the opportunity to explore through the York Strengths programme
  • Work experience; including internships, part-time work, work shadowing and insight days
  • Volunteering; getting involved in giving something back to the community
  • Involvement in University life - including participation in your college, clubs, sports, societies and more
  • Professional development through your course - such as integrated work placements 

Who can apply?

York Award is open to all students of the university, you’ll normally apply towards the end of your programme

You can prepare for the York Award from your first day at university by taking part in York Strengths and getting involved in different activities to develop your skills and experiences.

The York Award is for you - an opportunity to celebrate your achievements during your time at York and reflect on your personal Career Journey as you head towards graduation. The York Award will provide you with a record of your strengths, work experience, and involvement in university life that you can use to support job applications and your future career.

You will also receive your official York Award certificate alongside your degree at graduation - perfect for sharing with your network on LinkedIn!

What’s required?

To make a York Award application you'll be expected to have engaged with some of the key elements of Your Career Journey including York Strengths, have an up to date CV, and meaningful work experience. You'll also be asked to give examples from your activities which evidence your strengths and your personal/professional growth whilst a student at York.

Find out more about what's required and applying for York Award (log in required).

When to make your application

Most students will apply for York Award towards the end of their final year at York, but you can be preparing for the York Award from the day you start.

Undergraduate students

  • Undergraduate final year students - Apply late Spring Term, early Easter vacation in your final year. Successful applicants will receive their York Award alongside their degree.
  • Undergraduate second/penultimate year students - there is an early bird window for students who intend to apply for graduate training schemes at the start of their final year. Apply Late Summer Term, early Summer vacation and receive your York Award by the start of your final year.

Postgraduate students

  • Applications invited during July each year for most postgraduate students. We encourage you to apply during your final year if your programme lasts longer than one year.
  • A small application window during Autumn term for students who started their programme in January 2021.


Discover York Award

We will be delivering Discover York Award sessions in week 8 and 9 of Spring term, please visit Handshake to view our events schedule and book a place! 

Week 8 - Thursday 4 March 2021 2-3:30pm (This session is hosted by the Academic Skills Community)

Week 9 - Wednesday 10 March 2021 2-3:30pm (This session is for current final year undergraduate students only)

Getting experience

We appreciate that getting experience and accessing opportunities is more difficult at the moment.

Regularly updated information, advice, tips and news is available from Careers and Placements to help you during this uncertain time.

Reflective writing

In reflecting on your experiences you may wish to refer to the Gibbs model of reflective learning. Gibbs philosophy is:

‘It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.’ (Gibbs, 1988)

Find out more about reflective writing using Gibbs in the reflective writing skills guide

In articulating your examples we advise that you use the Context, Action, Result (CAR) approach. 

  • Context - explain the situation/context briefly
  • Action - describe what you did, how did you go about the task/solve the problem/challenge
  • Result - what was the outcome of your actions? How did you or others (e.g. society/group) benefit?

Watch this short video to find out more about CARYou can also practise using the CAR model in York Strengths Online

York Futures Scholarship

All undergraduate and integrated masters students are eligible to apply for a York Futures Scholarship to support their participation in personal and professional development activities. Find out more about the York Futures Scholarship.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to prepare?

You can start to prepare for York Award by getting involved in activities, thinking about what you’ve achieved already and building a bank of experience.

The York Award recognises participation in the key elements of Your Career Journey. Your Career Journey will help you plan your time at York, review what you have achieved and move towards a career that you'll thrive in. Participating in York Strengths is the first step in achieving the Award.

I want to apply but I don't feel like I've done enough

Make the most of your time and think about where you can build on your experiences. Take a look at Your Career Journey for some ideas on where to get started. The key elements of Your Career Journey required to make an application are all accessible online. We will also ensure any support materials can be accessed remotely. 

Further support and information is also available via our Careers issues during Covid-19 page, including how to book an appointment and further resources. 

I didn’t do York Strengths in my first year/I haven’t done York Strengths, can I still do it?

Yes! York Strengths Online is available to all students (undergraduate, postgraduate taught, postgraduate research and distance learners) throughout your time at the University.

If you haven’t already completed York Strengths Online (or attended a York Strengths Development Day prior to Summer 2020) then this would be really good preparation for making a York Award application, as well as providing you with useful insights to support your skills development and career planning.

I completed (old) York Award in my second year, do I need to do it again?

If you have completed the (old) York Award in the academic year 2019/20 (or earlier) this will remain on your record.

We would strongly encourage you to complete the NEW York Award, as it most closely resembles the old York Award Gold. If you have completed the old style first stage York Award this will give you a really firm foundation to build on in completing the NEW York Award.

I was hoping to do York Award Gold, is that still available?

The NEW York Award replaces York Award Gold. It contains many of the elements of York Award Gold that students found particularly valuable.

I’m a distance learner, can I access York Award?

Yes! York Award is completed online, and is open to all students of the university. The key elements of Your Career Journey required to make an application are all accessible online. We will also ensure any support materials can be accessed remotely.

I’m a postgraduate student, is this for me?

Yes! York Award will be open to all students of the University. The requirements and questions will be the same, but your answers will reflect your student experience.

Can I use experiences from before University in my application?

In the application we will ask you to tell us about the key activities you have undertaken during your time at the University of York (or the last three years) that you feel have significantly contributed to your personal and professional development. You can include any activities you feel are relevant including work experience, activities as part of your course, college life, sports, hobbies and interests, societies, volunteering, additional training/courses/qualifications outside degree, anything else. 

In the final part of the application we will ask you to reflect on experiences solely based on your time as a student with the University of York. You will be asked to use examples that you would choose to talk about in a job application/interview.

Can I get support with writing my application?

Yes, Careers will be running a series of 'Discover York Award' sessions. This is a chance to find out more about what the York Award involves and tips on how to write a good application. More information on booking a place at a Discover York Award session will be available from Week 6 of Spring Term 2020/21. 

Is there funding available to support my future development goals? 

Yes, all undergraduate and integrated masters students students can apply for a York Futures Scholarship worth £250, £1,000, £3,000 or £6,000 to access experiences and activities that support their personal and professional development. Check the deadlines and find out more about York Futures Scholarships

What do I do if my query is not answered here?

If you have any other questions not covered here, please email us

Chancellor’s Leadership Award

Every year a gift of £1,000 is awarded to the top three York Award candidates in their undergraduate final year of study. Applications will be considered during the assessment process and if we require further information we will get in touch.

Whilst participation in the York Leaders programme is not a requirement; if you’d like to be considered for this award we would strongly encourage you to take part. Students on the York Leaders programme will have the opportunity to demonstrate and gain certified recognition for their leadership qualities.

The prizes will recognise the most talented, ambitious and driven students who excel in York Award.

The gift has been donated by Sir Malcolm (University of York Chancellor) and Lady Grant.

"The York Award is a great way to look back at everything you've done since starting university. It's so easy to rush on by and not take the time to stop and reflect. The York Award helps you do that. It has also helped me stand out in applications and interviews when applying for internships and I look forward to talking more about it when I apply for graduate roles this year!"

- Chantelle, Social Policy and Social Work, York Award applicant 2018

"Receiving the York Award felt amazing because I finally had some official recognition from the University for all my extracurricular activities. For simply reflecting on how you've developed over the course of your time at York, you get something to put on your CV - what's not to like?"

- Joe, Chemistry, York Award applicant 2018

"Being able to take part in the York Award was a wonderful experience. It allowed me to showcase my strengths, skills and experiences and recieve official recognition from the University. As someone who has struggled with learning difficulties in the past, the York Award is a great achievement and is a tremendous asset to have on my CV"

- Sophie, Language and Linguistic Science, York Award applicant 2018

York Leaders

York Leaders is an exclusive opportunity for second (and middle) years to explore and develop your leadership potential - find out more and apply today!

York Strengths

Taking part in York Strengths can help you find out more about yourself, and how to make the most of what you have to offer. Completing York Strengths will support your application for York Award.