I first chose to study at York in 2017 and I have absolutely loved every minute here since. One of the things that drew me to study at York was the fantastic facilities readily available to us in the labs. At that point, they were just a year old so it really felt like I would be getting the best possible experience with practicals and they were certainly a step up from anything I had seen at school!
The next three years went by like a flash and I enjoyed them so much I’m still here! I decided to stay in York to complete a masters as after three years I certainly feel like I can call York my home for now and I have definitely settled in within the department, building strong relationships with both staff and peers I didn’t want to lose, plus the 10% tuition fees discount York alumni receive definitely appealed to me from a financial point of view.
What studying a masters is like
So far this year I’ve found studying a masters course is pretty different to an undergraduate, the main difference being there is a lot more free time in the timetable for you to complete wider reading for workshops and research for projects. This has been something I have really enjoyed having the time to do, as it’s allowed me to expand upon what I already know as well as delve into areas of biology I am less familiar with. Then being able to attend (through zoom!) workshops feeling confident in understanding a paper and eager to discuss it with course mates.
Overall I would say one of my favourite things about the course is the contact time, where we typically meet as a cohort with our project director, or sometimes with all postgraduate taught cohorts in the department. Here we have the opportunity to discuss papers or work upon our writing skills together, which is both a good opportunity to make friends and build some crucial academic skills.
Things to do in the department
The department boasts one of the largest academic student societies on campus, the Biosciences society (Biosoc). This is fully student lead and is a great way for department members of any cohort to meet like-minded biology students through all kinds of events – from lab coat bar crawls to David Attenborough streaming nights as well as lately some covid safe zoom quizzes. Having this society was a great way for me to make friends within my large course at undergrad and I would absolutely recommend the events to all new students within the department (it’s open to undergraduate and postgraduate students).
This year, within the department, I have also been able to get involved as a course rep. This gives me the opportunity to provide feedback to staff about students’ thoughts on the teaching, assessments and the course overall. Again, it’s something to get involved in if you’re interested in helping shape your course for future years.