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York St John University (originally established as York Diocesan College) is a public university located on a large urban campus in York, England. It achieved university status in 2006.

York St John University
York St John University logo.svg
Motto Ut Vitam Habeant et Abundantius
Motto in English
They may have life and have it more abundantly
Type Public
Established 1841 (The Diocesan College in York)
1974 (College of Ripon and York St John)
2006 (University status)
Chancellor The Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. John Sentamu
Vice-Chancellor Karen Stanton
Administrative staff
Students 5,980 (2015/16)[2]
Undergraduates 5,265 (2015/16)[2]
Postgraduates 715 (2015/16)[2]
Location York, North Yorkshire, England
Campus Urban
Affiliations ACU
Cathedrals Group

It is one of several higher education institutions which have religious foundations; others include Canterbury Christ Church University, Liverpool Hope University, St. Mary's University College, University of Chester, University of Chichester, University of Cumbria, University of Derby, University of Gloucestershire, University of Winchester, and Bishop Grosseteste University.

As of 2015/16, there were 5,980 students, reading a wide variety of subjects, in nine Schools: Art and Design; Education; Health Sciences; Humanities, Religion and Philosophy; Languages and Linguistics; Performance and Media Production; Psychological and Social Sciences; Sport and York Business School.[3]



The university descends from two Anglican teacher training colleges, which were founded in York in 1841 (for men) and 1846 (for women). In 1862, the women's college relocated to Ripon. Over the next century, the colleges gradually diversified their education programmes. The colleges, St John's College and Ripon College, merged in 1974 to form the "College of Ripon and York St John".

In 1990 the combined institution formally became a college of the University of Leeds; this arrangement allowed it to award degrees in the name of the latter, while remaining in practice largely autonomous. Between 1999 and 2001, all activities were transferred to York and the college received the name "York St John College".

In February 2006, the College was granted the right to award degrees in its own name and the right to call itself a University College. On 10 July 2006 the Privy Council approved a request from the college to become a full-fledged University; the name became "York St John University" on 1 October 2006 once granted by Tony Blair, and the first Chancellor (installed at a ceremony in York Minster on 7 March 2007) is the Archbishop of York John Sentamu.


The university occupies an eleven-acre city centre campus on Lord Mayor's Walk, close to York Minster and the city walls.

Fountains Learning CentreEdit

The Fountains Learning Centre, opened in 2004, is located at the Clarence Street entrance to the campus. It provides access to resources of all kinds including books, journals, DVDs and videos, media equipment, approximately 400 computers and a 200-seat lecture theatre.[citation needed]

De Grey CourtEdit

York St John University's £15.5 million De Grey Court was designed by leading architects Charles Thomson of Rivington Street Studio Architects in London. It has won many plaudits, including the highly lauded Lord Mayor's York Design Award and a Royal Institute of British Architects award.[4]


Academic profileEdit


Around 100 degree course options are available to students at foundation and undergraduate level, including film and television production (see filmmaking), media production, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, literature, linguistics, psychology, counselling, business management, marketing, tourism, history, music, music production, art, design, theatre, drama, dance, sport related programmes, psychology, theology and primary education.

At postgraduate and post-experience level, York Business School offers a suite of Masters programmes including a new MBA programme. Other subject areas offered at postgraduate level include theology, education, theatre, fine art, film production, music composition, counselling, health, linguistics and TESOL.[5]

Research rankingEdit

(2018, national)
The Guardian[7]
(2018, national)
Times/Sunday Times[8]
(2018, national)
Teaching Excellence Framework[9] Bronze

The University was ranked 90th in the Guardian University Guide in 2011 and 96th in 2012.[10] In 2005, the university was included amongst 74 other academic institutions which were permitted to use the wording "centre of excellence" in its publicity and other material.[11]

Graduate employment rateEdit

94% of graduates (2015) were in employment or full-time study six months after graduating.[12]


In recent years York St John has developed its research capacity in Allied Health Professions & Studies; Psychology; Education; Sports-related Studies; English Language & Literature; Theology & Religious Studies; and Drama, Dance & Performing Arts. Over 30% of research was ranked as world-leading and internationally excellent in the last Research Assessment Excellence (RAE).

Average student debt on graduationEdit

In 2010, the average student debt on graduation was calculated at £16,335. For comparison, students at Huddersfield University face an average debt of £8,309 while Hull University students face an even higher £21,290.[13] Overall, student debt at York St John was second highest in the region.

Students' UnionEdit

Many activities are organised in association with the Students' Union and the university offers several sporting and other interest groups in which students can become members. The Students' Union is led by three full-time sabbatical officers, SU President, Vice President Education and Vice President Welfare and Diversity.

Reducing antisocial behaviour amongst studentsEdit

In 2010, the University's Student Union began a programme of action designed to combat the growing antisocial behaviour amongst its own students. Private security staff paid by the local council were reported to be on patrol until 3 am, 2 evenings a week; Wednesday & Friday, in areas where record numbers of complaints had arisen.[14] In 2002, a campaign entitled "SSHH – Silent Students Happy Homes" was initiated to combat local residents' fears of studentification. This has subsequently been adopted by other students' unions around the UK, although in many instances the expansion of the abbreviation has been dropped, leaving campaigns called "Shh", "Sshh", or variants[verification needed]. In 2005, the Students' Union launched another community-friendly campaign called 'Pick It Up'. This campaign was designed to reduce litter levels on campus and in the surrounding community.

In October 2009 the Student Union was awarded a Bronze Students' Union Evaluation Initiative award, one of 16 institutions to receive this accolade. Awards are made from bronze (lowest) to gold (highest). The scheme is administered by a former manager of Sheffield University Student Union. Currently Sheffield University shares the gold award with the nearby Leeds University.[15]

In 2012 the Students' Union was awarded silver in the Students' Union Evaluation Initiative, making it the only small Students' Union in the country to receive the award.

In June 2014 the Students' Union was short listed for Small and Specialist Students' Union of the Year at the annual NUS Awards.


The Students' Union has many sports clubs.

York St John University Rowing Club was founded 11 years after the college in 1852 and caters for all levels of experience; from competent rowers to complete beginners.

The biggest club is the rugby union club founded in 1883, it's is current manager Pat Neal, ex players amongst its alumni England International Peter Squires, England Grand Slam Manager Geoff Cooke, Internationals Jack Harrison, Tom Danby and Swiss International Tristan Bernard. There is an active Old Johnsmen Rugby Club.[16]

The football club play soccer at Heworth Green: one team competes under the name York St John University in the York Football League (they are currently in the Premier Division of that league system); their reserve team also feature in Reserve Division A, which is the top reserve league. Its origins date back to 1872 when J. Morton persuaded the Sports Association to take up association football.

The cricket Club is probably the oldest club – the first record of cricket being played was in 1848 just seven years after the opening on the Training College. The club has strong links with its Old Johns Cricket Association, whose president is ex-student Harry Gration.

The hockey club is one of the biggest clubs within the university, offering 1st and 2nd men's and ladies teams and a mixed team. The men's 1st team are the last ever BUSA National Plate champions, having won the competition in 2008.

The badminton club is also present and represents York St John in BUCS too.


YSJSU houses around 30 different Societies ranging from Musical Production, Drama, Geek Society, and course based societies too such as Physiotherapy, Psychology, Primary Education and many more. The societies work together on many projects in the year[citation needed] and all have the opportunity to win the title of Society of year at the annual Societies Awards Dinner.

Democratic structuresEdit

As of September 2016, the Students' Union moved to a new democratic structure in order to further student engagement with the Union. The Students' Union is led by a student executive of 12, including three full-time officer trustees and 9 Chairs of Schools representing each of the university Schools. The current President of York St John Students' Union is Laurie Illingworth. The current Vice President of Education is Izzy Tooke. The current Vice President of Welfare and Diversity is Katie Irving.

The executive all hold seats on Senate and the other seats are filled by elected members of each of the six Students' Union 'Zones' (student forums).

Any student can submit a motion to Senate and it be on any issue regarding life at university. The motion is then debated by members of Senate and either passed or not passed as policy.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Facts, figures & corporate documents : Staff profile". York St John University official website. Archived from the original on 11 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c "2015/16 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Lewis, Haydn (28 July 2009). "York St John University's £15.5 million De Grey Court building scoops Lord Mayor's York Design Award". York Press. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Study at York St John University". York St John University official website. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "University League Table 2018". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "University league tables 2018". The Guardian. 16 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2018". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes". Higher Education Funding Council for England. Retrieved 22 June 2017. 
  10. ^ "University guide 2012 – University league table". The Guardian. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Complete list of funded CETLs". Higher Education Funding Council for England. 19 May 2008. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  12. ^ "York St John". York St John. 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Students face £25,000 debt burden, shock report warns". Yorkshire Post. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  14. ^ Bean, Dan (1 February 2010). "York St John University patrols combat bad behaviour". York Press online. York. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Students' Union Evaluation Initiative". SUEI. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ Doughty, Eleanor (15 January 2014). "'Will polling stations at unis make a difference?'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "York St John University". The Independent. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  19. ^ "Hockey and Rugby veterans receive sporting honour". Durham University. 10 June 2004. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  20. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (10 August 2012). "Julia Davis: laughing in the dark". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  21. ^ Lewis, Haydn (18 November 2016). "Julia's back to get St John gong". The Press. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  22. ^ Battson, Francesca (22 September 2016). "Scarlett Moffatt: Everything you need to know". Closer. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 

Further readingEdit

  • G. P. McGregor (1991) A Church College for the 21st Century? 150 years of Ripon & York St John, 1841–1991: A study of policy and its absence. William Sessions Ltd, York, England. (ISBN 1-85072-079-7)

External linksEdit