Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate research>Why York

Why York?

Explore ideas at their deepest level and change our world

10th in the UK for research excellence

in the Times Higher Education ranking of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Russell Group member

one of 24 research-intensive UK universities

A global community

Over 2,000 research students from across the globe

York is an excellent choice for your research degree, as you'll be working with world-leading academics carrying out pioneering research. Together you'll collaborate on innovative research and make new discoveries that could help improve the world we live in.

Dynamic research environment

Our research staff collaborate across departments and around seven interdisciplinary themes. These themes align our research in order to meet the biggest scientific, social and environmental challenges of our time.

In the most recent assessment of our research quality, Times Higher Education’s ranking of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021):

  • York was ranked joint 10th for research excellence.
  • Four of our departments were ranked in the top five for their subject, with a further eight in the top ten.
  • Particular recognition was given to the way research is supported at York, through facilities, mentoring and career development, and we were ranked 11th in this category.

Discover our outstanding research facilities

Find a research degree

Pioneering researchers

You'll work with exceptional academics to push the boundaries of knowledge and solve some of the biggest issues that face our planet today. Our Inspirational Research Leaders strengthen our academic community, spearheading new research approaches and our Research Champions lead research collaborations informed by our research themes.

Stained glass workshop at York Minster

Professor Pratibha Gai (Physics)

Here are some examples of recent collaborations:

  • Virtually breaking the sound barrier: Dr Gavin Kearney and his team focus on spatial audio - the creation of immersive 3D sound fields that give you the impression of hearing sound all around you. Their work has been adopted within Google apps
  • Fish and microchips: Dr Betsy Pownall is leading a team of researchers who are currently using Zebrafish to model Parkinson’s and study the movement disorder
  • Driving creativity to calm traffic chaos: Dr Steve Cinderby and Howard Cambridge are using creative research techniques to tackle one of East Africa's most deadly and prolific killers: road traffic accidents
  • Stained glass apocalypse: research by art historians at York has shaped and enabled the conservation interpretation of the Great East Window of York Minster, highlighting scenes from the Apocalypse that are unique in stained glass history.

Helping you make an impact

The York Graduate Research School looks after our community of more than 2,000 research students from around the world. Alongside your Department, the School will help you make the most of your research degree.

They will help to ensure you receive consistently high quality supervision and training. It also plays a big part in sharing and celebrating the work of our research students, and making sure you feel part of the broader research community at York.

You can also take part in exciting and engaging research events, such as YorkTalks, a series of 15-minute talks on our most innovative research. There's also the Three Minute Thesis competition, where you'll be challenged to present your research to a non-specialist audience.

York Graduate Research School

Developing your professional skills

You'll have access to skills training as well as expert advice and support for making the best of your qualifications in a global marketplace.

You'll learn valuable skills such as the ability to analyse complex data, develop conceptual frameworks and conduct creative problem-solving, as well as gain the expertise to write a detailed thesis.

You'll have access to teams of experts who can support your professional development as a researcher, as a Graduate Teaching Assistant should you choose to teach while you study, and generally assist you in achieving your career ambitions.

There are also lots of opportunities to showcase your innovation, highlight your discoveries to a broad audience and make connections with other researchers and potential collaborators through competitions and events.

How we can support your career ambitions

York has excellent libraries, conference facilities and teaching spaces – it’s a wonderful research environment and I’ve had some brilliant opportunities during my research. I was selected for the European Doctoral Summer School and I was a finalist in York’s Three Minute Thesis competition. The unique challenge to find a snappy way of answering ‘what’s your PhD about?’ really helps you to clarify that for yourself!

Joe, PhD Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media

A new way to achieve your doctorate

Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training provide an innovative learning environment and the opportunity to work on a pre-defined research project, often with the chance to collaborate with industry through internships or placements.

Based in multidisciplinary centres of expertise, they offer funding opportunities, training and development.

Find out more about Doctoral Training

Supporting you

You'll have access to a range of support to help before, during and after your time at York, ensuring that you have the best possible learning experience.

This support includes:

  • Research skills training - support with specific research skills
  • Academic skills support - develop a range of skills to help you succeed in your studies
  • Open Door- support for students experiencing psychological or mental health difficulties
  • Disability Services - advice and support for students with a long-term health condition or disability
  • Student hub - guidance and support with practical matters
  • 'Surviving your PhD' workshops - peer-to-peer support activities
  • PGR Liaison Officer - encourages and supports research students, as well as with coordinating peer-to-peer activities
  • TalkCampus - support for mental health and wellbeing
  • Careers and Placements -access to a dedicated postgraduate research careers consultant
  • Building Research and Innovation Capacity Team - provides researchers with support and development opportunities

Find out more about our support services

Study, work or volunteer abroad

Add an enriching dimension to your research through a cultural experience like no other. It may be possible for you to study or work abroad as part of your degree; a truly life-changing opportunity that will give you a whole new perspective in your field.

Explore your options to study abroad

Living and learning

We're home to a large number of world-renowned research institutes, centres and facilities which act as a focus for specialist and interdisciplinary research.

On our vibrant campus, you'll meet new people and make connections from day one. You'll also be within walking distance of our impressive and historical city centre.

Discover more about graduate life at York