It’s no secret that starting a PhD is a big commitment and, for me, like many others, that meant that choosing where to carry out my doctoral research was a big decision. Luckily though, it was a choice that I certainly got right! So why York? From its outstanding reputation in my subject area and strength in interdisciplinary research to the opportunity to be part of a friendly and exciting research community, York ticked all the boxes. So here are my top five reasons for choosing to carry out my research at York:
One thing that really grabbed my attention when deciding where to study was the facilities available for research students at York, particularly the number of different research centres across different disciplines. The library has a huge variety of study spaces including the Research Study which is a dedicated area for postgraduates and some of the most generous lending allowances I’ve seen.
But researchers are by no means confined to the library! As a PhD student working on eighteenth-century literature, I’m also able to access the resources, communities, and study and social spaces in the English department, King’s Manor (a building in the heart of the city, housing a library and the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies among other departments) and the Humanities Research Centre on campus which acts as a hub for all researchers in the humanities.
To get the most out of my PhD it was important for me to choose a university that offered opportunities beyond research and on this count York really delivers.
The training provided by the Research Excellence Training Team (now Building Research and Innovation Capacity Team) allows me to build my skills with courses in a wide range of areas, from networking and using social media to getting published and teaching.
York’s teaching opportunities were also attractive. As well as more traditional teaching, PhD students can apply to be tutors in the Maths Skills Centre or, in my case, the Writing Centre. There are also a lot of opportunities to get involved with public engagement, like the Festival of Ideas which runs public events every summer.
The University’s impressive reputation for research also made York a clear choice for where I wanted to complete my PhD.
York offers you the chance to work surrounded by cutting-edge scholars, with researchers from all over the world and academics who are leading in their field.
There’s nothing more inspirational than seeing shelves filled with books written by my supervisor and other members of staff.
York’s location was definitely a selling point. Being nearly halfway between London and Edinburgh means it’s easy for me to get just about anywhere in the UK for conferences and research trips.
The University is also just a short bus ride away from the British Library at Boston Spa where I can access the millions of resources held by the British Library.
The city has everything I could need, including a great nightlife for taking a break from work, but is compact enough to walk or cycle around. Between the historic architecture in the city centre and the lakes and trees on campus, York is a beautiful place to live, work and study.
The final reason why I chose York for research was the people.
When I was considering where to do my PhD one thing which concerned me was whether I would be lonely or have no time to socialise. York’s welcoming and vibrant community of postgraduate students quickly dispelled these worries.
Whether it’s events or trips offered by the Graduate Students’ Association, coffee (and cake) breaks in the Humanities Research Centre or just a trip to the pub after an academic event, there’s always something going on to help everyone take a well-earned break from research.