Favourite thing about studying in the Department of Biology?
I could spend hours listing the many, many reasons I love studying in the Biology Department: the great facilities, the fantastic teaching, the awesome cookies from the Department’s Café (also called Cookies). However, my favourite thing about studying in the Department is, without a doubt, the people. The department is made by the people within it.
For one, the students studying in the Department are the best bunch with a real love for the subject. I’m a Biomedical Sciences student; I specifically chose a degree that didn’t require me to learn anything more about plants, a topic I found seriously boring at college. However, my friends that study Biology and Ecology, have somehow managed to convince me -a die-hard biomedical scientist- that sustainable agriculture is interesting! Everyone is so passionate about their subject and it really shows through during lectures and tutorials.
Next, the support staff, I would not have finished my degree without the guys in Student Services. Be it supporting me through health issues affecting my degree or career support and helping me find what I actually want to do after I graduate! There is risk in large departments of getting lost in the sea of students, but not in Biology. I have always felt that the people in Biology really care about your wellbeing and giving you the opportunity to succeed.
And finally, the teaching and research staff. People who are so enthusiastic about their subject that they have spent their career learning more about it and sharing their knowledge with us students. They are forever coming up with new and often pretty inventive ways to keep us engaged in lectures. However, tutorials are where they really shine; small group sessions led by an academic focused on their area of expertise.
Studying an Integrated Masters
I chose to study an Integrated Masters as part of my Biomedical Sciences degree. This gave me the opportunity to spend a year researching and furthering my understanding of something I am really passionate about.
The integrated masters year requires you to take what you’ve learned over the past 3 years of your degree and apply it to an independent research project. The skills you acquire including paper critiquing, data analysis and lab skills all come together to allow you to conduct research from conception to report.
The Biology Department at York makes sure you have had all the training you need in order to excel during your final year. And of course, there is plenty of support along the way, be it journal clubs helping you to present and critique research papers in your research area to support from your project director on what direction to take your project. The Integrated Masters gives you the freedom to do real science and to hone your skills as a scientist and is a great choice for anyone considering a career focused on research.
I honestly love the Biology Department and I will be so sad to leave. It really has become home.
The beautiful city
While you, of course, choose where to study at university based on the course content, it’s also important to consider that this is a place you could be living for 3 (or more) years.
It was very important to me when choosing a university that I loved the city itself, and I really do love York. The city is so beautiful, with so much history. York is full of medieval architecture, from the grand, gothic cathedral overlooking the city to shops on the shambles dating back to the 1300s. These, along with the river and green spaces throughout the city, make York a beautiful place to live and study in. It’s also incredibly well connected. Being able to travel to Leeds, the coast or the countryside in a short space of time has meant I can easily have days out at the seaside in Scarborough, rambling through the North Yorkshire Moors or dancing the night away in Leeds.
However, if music and bars are your thing you are not missing out in York. There is live music every night of the week, be it at venues like the Barbican for concerts or small venue gigs and open mic nights in York’s very wide selection of pubs and bars. There is a rumour there is a bar in York for every day of the year, although I haven’t verified this myself.
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, and there is plenty to enjoy in York for every interest.