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 2019 logo.svg
MottoLatin: Ut Vitam Habeant et Abundantius
Motto in English
They may have life and have it more abundantly
Established1841 - The Diocesan College in York
1974 - College of Ripon and York St John
2006 - university status
ChancellorThe Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. John Sentamu
Vice-ChancellorKaren Stanton
Administrative staff
Students5,940 (2016/17)[2]
Undergraduates5,115 (2016/17)[2]
Postgraduates830 (2016/17)[2]
Location, ,
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, Leeds Trinity University, University of Winchester, and Bishop Grosseteste University.

As of 2016/17, there were 5,940 students, reading a wide variety of subjects, in nine Schools: Art, Design & Computer Science; Education; Health Sciences; Humanities, Religion & Philosophy; Languages & 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.[4]

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.[5]


Academic profileEdit

National rankings
Complete (2020)[6]111
Guardian (2020)[7]119
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[8]81
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[9]Bronze


Around 100 degree course options are available to students at foundation and undergraduate level, including mathematics, data science, biology, biochemistry, nutrition, biomedical science, computer science, 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, 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.[10]


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).

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.

As of academic year 2018–19, the biggest club is the dance club, which stands at 119 members, of which 18 compete at a national level. The club offers 10 types of classes (including ballet, jazz and street) to all its members and six to those on the competition team.[13]

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, 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 [14] 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 George Coombs. The current Vice President of Education is Steph Foxton. The current Vice President of Welfare and Diversity is Annie Severn.

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 "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  3. ^ https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/
  4. ^ "York St John University - Fountains Learning Centre". jiscinfonetcasestudies.pbworks.com/w/page/27464399/Welcome. September 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  7. ^ "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  8. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  9. ^ "Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes". Higher Education Funding Council for England.
  10. ^ "Study at York St John University". York St John University official website. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  11. ^ Bean, Dan (1 February 2010). "York St John University patrols combat bad behaviour". York Press online. York. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  12. ^ "The Students' Union Evaluation Initiative". SUEI. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  13. ^ "Dance". YSJ SU. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  14. ^ "SOCIETIES". York St John Student's Union. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  15. ^ Doughty, Eleanor (15 January 2014). "'Will polling stations at unis make a difference?'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  16. ^ a b "York St John University". The Independent. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Hockey and Rugby veterans receive sporting honour". Durham University. 10 June 2004. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  18. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (10 August 2012). "Julia Davis: laughing in the dark". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  19. ^ Lewis, Haydn (18 November 2016). "Julia's back to get St John gong". The Press. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  20. ^ 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