Our Heritage.

Ut Vitam Habeant et Abundantius (that they have life and have it more abundantly)



York St John University has a long and distinguished history. It is the oldest higher education institution in York and can trace its roots back to the establishment of its founding institution in 1841.


Our University is located at the very heart of the historic city of York and our graduation ceremonies are held each year at the magnificent York Minster.


For more than 175 years we have served as an important and influential place of learning and research, and as an anchor institution within our City and the wider community.


Opening of York Training School by the Diocesan Boards of education Ripon and for York, St John’s College.


Opening of Ripon College for Young Women’s Teachers, St Margaret’s College.


St John’s College establishes first links with the University.


A crest, incorporating the eagle of St John and the Crossed Keys of the Arch Diocese of York, and the College motto ‘Ut Vitam Habeant et Abundantius’ (that they have life and have it more abundantly) are both approved by the College of Heralds.


The Separate colleges of Ripon and York are merged to form the college of Ripon and York St John, the teacher education curriculum begins to diversify into the liberal arts, with degrees awarded through the University of Leeds.


The College incorporates the York School of Occupational Therapy.


First York Minster degree ceremony.


Higher York Memorandum of Agreement is signed, between the University of York, York College, Askham Bryan College and York St John College, to widen learning opportunities and support the skills agenda for York and North Yorkshire.


Higher York secures designation and funding as a Lifelong Learning Network.


Taught Degree Awarding Powers are confirmed by Privy Council following detailed QAA security over a two year period.


The new name, York St John University College, is introduced. Privy Council approval to become a university was subsequently received and the official title of York St John University was implemented on 1 October 2006.


Research Degree Awarding Powers are confirmed by Privy Council, meaning that York St John University can now award research as well as taught degrees.
York St John Today

York St John University is an outstanding university, known for its academic excellence and responsive nature, always putting the student at the heart of everything it does. The magnificent campus is located in the centre of the historic City of York.

Our eleven-acre site on Lord Mayor’s Walk is in a stunning setting facing the world-famous York Minster across the city walls. Originally built around a quadrangle, newer buildings including De Grey Court and the Fountains Learning Centre which houses the library, IT facilities and a modern lecture theatre. The Foss Building houses our sports hall, a physiology laboratory, a biomechanics lab, a psychology lab, a fitness suite, physiotherapy labs and general teaching rooms.

In recent years the campus has expanded to include Nestlé Rowntree Park Sports Campus, one of the largest sports facilities of its kind in the country. This site is home to the School of Sport and includes 3G football and rugby pitches, tennis and netball courts, grass pitches, a sports barn, a strength and conditioning suite, social spaces and teaching facilities.

York St John University’s London campus.


With the expansion into a London campus, York St John University will continue to be at the forefront of contemporary practice in design and business, enabling students to gain competencies integral to their future successes.

Explore York St John University’s London campus.

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