Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Study at York>Student life>Student societies

Joining a society is a fantastic way to meet new people, indulge your interests or try something new. Our Students' Union supports over 200 student societies at York.

Explore our societies A-Z

What's a society?

Societies are student groups who meet to take part in an activity or share an interest. From astronomy to aerobics and politics to poetry - we have over 200 student-run societies and more than 60 sports clubs for you to get involved in. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can even start your own.

As well as having fun, you can develop skills highly valued by employers. For example, joining a society committee is a great way to develop your leadership or teamwork skills. You can also get your skills and experience recognised through our employability certificate, the York Award.

Over 200 student societies

all entirely organised by and for students

England's longest-running student TV station

YSTV has been broadcasting since 1967

Britain's first independent radio station

URY was first DJed by John Peel in 1968

Music and performance

Watch, direct, play or perform in more than 20 societies. You could:

Academic and educational

Expand your subject knowledge, enhance your employment prospects and take part in fun activities with our academic societies.

Our Environment Society is open to anyone with a passion for green issues. You could also make your start-up dream a reality with the Entrepreneurs Society. Whatever your interest, we have societies for many subject areas taught at York.

Faith and international

The friendly faces of the International Students' Association at Freshers' Fair.

Discover and celebrate world cultures and religions with societies such as Christian UnionIslamic SocietyJewish Society, African Caribbean Society or Russian Speaking Society to name just a few. All of the groups are open to all students. You can get informal language support, try different foods and meet people from all over the world!

You could also join our International Students' Association (ISA). They organise a variety of events and trips throughout the year such as food fiestas, cultural celebrations, coffee afternoons and day trips.

Campaigning and political

Attend talks, interviews and debates from distinguished public figures with the York Union. Every major political party is represented on campus, as are UNICEF and Amnesty International.

Find your purpose and make an impact. Join one of our student activist groups to campaign, fundraise and spread awareness on issues from the refugee and asylum crisis in Europe to the environment.


Write for a newspaper or an online magazine, produce or direct films, or become a radio presenter. Getting involved in our award-winning student media is a great way to enhance your CV and impress potential employers.


York Student Television (YSTV) is an award-winning TV station run entirely by and for students.

Have a go at writing, producing, directing or presenting. If you’ve ever wanted to get your face on screen, try out your skills behind a camera, or you have a brilliant idea for a show - YSTV is the society for you.

Watch on YouTube

Are you a wannabe television producer? Find out more about York Student Television. They made this video along with a series of other student society videos (

Students at Freshers' Fair 2019


Our well-respected student press is a great place to hone your journalistic skills. You could take part in the production of:

  • Exposure, a magazine showcasing film and TV reviews
  • HARD Magazine, an online magazine covering fashion, culture and photography
  • The Lemon Press, a satirical magazine
  • Nouse, a broadsheet newspaper published three times a term
  • The Yorker, providing online features, reviews and news
  • York Vision, a tabloid-style newspaper, first published in 1987


Our student radio station University Radio York (URY) was Britain's first independent radio station. Their first show was DJed by John Peel in 1968.

They broadcast 24 hours a day during term time and can often be seen around campus covering events. They've won lots of awards over the years, including 'Best Journalistic Broadcasting' in the Student Radio Awards 2015.

Listen live

University Radio York (URY) studio


Photography Society is dedicated to developing your photography skills.

As a member, you can join like minded individuals and take part in training sessions, experience days, socials and events throughout the year. They even have a photography studio on campus that you can use once you're trained.

Read more about PhotoSoc 

From the inspiring teaching staff in the Department of Politics to the invaluable experience I gained at York Student Television (YSTV), my time at York set the course for my career. YSTV gave me fantastic experience of presenting and pulling together a show ,and the experience I gained in political research was a huge asset to me while working in documentaries.

Creator Strategist at YouTube, Google UK (BA (Hons) Politics, 2005)

Arts and cultural

Getting crafty with the knitting club!

Express yourself, or simply be inspired by the art on offer around campus.

  • Art Society runs life drawing classes and workshops, and holds termly exhibitions and trips to art galleries.
  • Enjoy learning how to use henna by painting beautiful and intricate designs on yourself, with Henna Society.
  • Norman Rea Art Gallery is run entirely by students. They curate the art made by students and professional artists in exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Hone your creative writing skills with Inklings.
  • Beginners, experts and everyone in between can enjoy all kinds of needlecraft with Sewing Society.
  • Try your hand at spoken word with Slam Society.
  • Watch and discuss films from around the globe with the World Cinema Society.

Gaming and fandom

Freshers' Fair is where you'll get to meet with and sign up for societies such as SwiftSoc!

We have over 20 societies dedicated to gaming and popular culture obsessions. We even have a society dedicated to Taylor Swift - SwiftSoc!

Other gaming and fandom groups include:

  • weekly socials and workshops welcoming players of all skills to the adventure of Dungeons and Dragons
  • Quidditch with the York Horntails - grab your broomsticks and go!
  • screenings, socials, games nights, meals and quizzes with Doctor Who Society - allons-y!
  • competitive or casual gaming - join Chess Society and hone your game in good company.

Special interest

Explore what interests you the most or try something new.

  • Build body strength, flexibility and peace of mind with Yoga Society
  • Try fighting, costuming, camping, crafting, dancing or feasting - channel your inner Viking in Re-Enactment Society.
  • LGBTQ Social hosts twice-weekly socials in a friendly, safe environment for all non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgendered students.
  • Experience the great outdoors in good company with Outdoor Society's weekly walks (pub stops optional)!
  • Meet like-minded travel enthusiasts and take part in fun, affordable trips around the UK and Europe with Travel Society.

Outdoor Society trip to Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales.

I joined the Mountaineering Club in my first year, and I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’m now the club Secretary. Climbing is a really rewarding and social activity that lets you have a break outside uni work, and it’s had a huge impact on my student life. York is full of clubs and societies similar to this, which present a great opportunity to try something different and meet new people.

Kevin, BSc Computer Science, Secretary of the University Mountaineering Club