The University of York has announced changes to the structure of the academic year and the formation of three new academic schools.
Tracy Lightfoot, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Students, said: “Following an extensive period of consultation with staff and students, we have agreed an approach that we feel will benefit our students and allow us to offer a more unique teaching and learning experience at York.”
Beginning in September 2023, the current three term academic model will be replaced by two semesters; splitting the academic year “into two teaching periods rather than the three we currently have”.
“This approach balances out teaching and assessment loads for our students, and helps align our start and end dates with other institutions allowing for greater flexibility and opportunities.”
This change affects the division and duration of holiday periods, with the email saying: “we have built into the first semester a week-long break (with no work or assessments) […] a three week break over the Christmas period. […] two weeks vacation over Easter […] we will also be lengthening the summer holidays.”
From the start of the 2023-24 academic year, the vast majority of modules will be standardised at 20 credits.
Lightfoot said this would “deliver a consistent size and shape across our courses” with all 20-credit modules being one semester long and with the “typical student studying three 20-credit modules per semester including an assessment period”.
The email also confirmed an August 2022 launch of three new schools formed of current departments.
These schools are being formed by the University of York Management School and the Department of Social Policy and Social Work; the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive media, and the Department of Music; and the Department of Physics and Department of Electronic Engineering.
The purpose behind this decision is detailed as a common departmental “vision for the opportunities and benefits to students, and research potential that will be gained through closer disciplinary collaborations”.
A University of York spokesperson said: “The new schools, which are expected to launch in 2022, are the result of extensive collaboration and will inspire new areas for multidisciplinary teaching, learning and research.
“Disciplines and teaching programmes will remain distinct but the new schools will have unique aspirations and bring a combination of disciplines closer together. In doing so they will offer future students a greater choice of study programmes across subjects.
“Current students will not see any change to their education as a result of the plans, but there will be plenty of opportunities for students to shape the future of the new schools over the coming academic year.”