How York Helps You Gain Experience While You Earn Your Degree

Posted by Megan on October 14, 2014

Journey to the Centre of York

It’s All About Flexibility

One of the most straight-forward ways that York helps you gain experience while you do your degree can be seen in the general flexibility of completing your program. York offers three starting times, September, January, or May. York also offers flexibility with course times ranging from morning, afternoon, and evening and weekday to weekend. Many programs allow for part-time or full-time progress, meaning you can balance your life responsibilities or even hold a job while you work on your degree. With the flexibility to create a schedule that works for your situation, you’ll have time to gain experience through the methods listed below.

In-Class Experience

Many courses at York offer the opportunity for students to apply the theories they’ve learned – either in class, or out in the community. York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LAPS) has a great list of such courses on their website. You can also read testimonials from students who have benefitted from these amazing courses. Here is one powerful quote:

“The one thing that truly stands out in the EE experience is the difference of theory and hands-on experience. Using the theoretical concepts and applying them to real life situations has been a challenge for us as a group and I feel it has better prepared us for post-graduate life.”
Mohammed T. Khalid, BAS Student

The Faculty of Health also offers a list of courses with a practical component that you might enjoy and you can also use the Course Search tool to find other courses in different faculties as the course descriptions usually highlight if practical experience is involved.

Research at York

Many programs at York can eventually lead into a research-based career. York is also home to 27 research centres which means that there are opportunities available to gain research experience while you complete your degree. The main qualifiers for a Research at York (RAY) position include: financial need (you can qualify by filling out our Student Financial Profile (SFP) once you are a student), satisfactory academic progress and related skills, and full time status (at least 60% of a course load). The best part is, RAY positions have a starting wage of at least $15 so you can help cover your educational or living costs at the same time as you are gaining experience.

Students at a past career fair conversing with a representative from Sun Life Financial.
Students at a previous Career Fair. Image Source.

Career Fairs

For some people, the two greatest difficulties of finding a job (or career upon graduation) are networking successfully and making a positive impression on an employer. Thankfully, York holds a number of Career and Volunteer related Fairs each year which are the perfect place to connect with potential employers and practice your networking and interview skills. For an added bonus you can also participate in any of the Career Centre’s free workshops for that extra skills-boost.


3rd year Honours students can also benefit from one of York’s Internship programs. 4 programs are currently available: Technology Internship Program (TIP), Business & Public Internship Program (BPAIP), Professional Accounting Internship Program (PAIP) and Human Resource Management Internship Program (HRMIP). The Career Centre Internship page lists which programs are eligible as well as the academic requirements. In general you need to have a GPA of 6 (a couple are listed as 5) or higher, as well as successful completion of some major specific courses. From there you only need to attend an Internship Information Session and then you can complete an application form. You can also read more about the benefits of an internship – one thing I found amazing was that the average internship salary is between $30,000-$40,000!

Join a Club

One of the easiest (and arguably funnest) ways of gaining relevant experience is to join a club. With over 400 + clubs to choose from, you have an exciting amount of options. I recommend sticking to clubs connected either with your program or future career OR one related to volunteerism or advocacy. Your best bet is to find a club or two that you really connect with in your first year. After a year or two of being a general member (or sooner if you wish) you can apply for executive positions. Positions often relate to communications, events, marketing, finances, and so on – all of which can help you gain valuable skills for your resume including improved leadership and communication skills.


Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

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