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Why York?

Explore ideas at their deepest level and change our world

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.

10th for research impact

Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014)

Russell Group member

one of 24 research-intensive UK universities

A global community

Over 2,000 research students from across the globe

Dynamic research environment

Our research staff collaborate across departments and around seven interdisciplinary themes. These align our academic strengths to maximise our research potential best to meet the grand scientific, social and environmental challenges of our time.

In the most recent assessment of our research quality, the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014):

  • York was ranked 10th for research impact (excluding all institutes that have submitted in three or less units of assessment)
  • The proportion of our research of world-leading four-star status was among the highest of any UK university
  • Eight of our departments were ranked in the top five for their subject, while 12 were in the top ten for research impact.

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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. 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.

Professor Callum Roberts with a BioArch PhD student.

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.

The School helps 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.

Developing your professional skills

You'll have access to skills training from our award-winning Research Excellence Training Team (RETT), 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.

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.

"Without my PhD and the enriched experiences that went with it, I would not be able to do my current job, both in terms of knowledge and professional skills, but also having the confidence and experience to succeed in the challenging modern environment of the heritage sector."

David Roberts, Archaeological Project Manager at Historic England (PhD Archaeology)

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.

"I’m less than a year into my PhD, but I feel like I’ve already learnt so much and grown as a researcher. My supervisors have been really supportive, I’ve had the opportunity to meet excellent scientists from around the world, and I benefit from facilities and expertise at both the York Plasma Institute and the UK's national fusion research laboratory in Oxfordshire.”

Lena, PhD Plasma Physics (Fusion CDT), and previously MSc Fusion Energy

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 friendly campus, you'll meet new people and make connections from day one - benefiting from our dedicated Graduate Students' Association. You'll also be within walking distance of our impressive and historical city centre.

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Careers and skills

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Living and learning

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Graduate life

York Graduate Research School

Our community of more than 2,000 research students.

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Research environment

Our world-renowned research institutes, centres and facilities.

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