Academic Societies

Your SU is launching lots of new academic societies!!

Watch our Q&A to find out more (3.52)

Academic societies are led by students (you) and succeed by providing opportunities that enhance the content of your course.  Our current academic societies have connected members with industry contacts, they've travelled to international conferences and they've taken part in competitions with other Universities. 

We want every student*, at every level, to belong to a thriving academic community that links to their programme of study.  

You'll be automatically enrolled into the right one for your programme of study and then we'll get be in touch to tell you more about the society and how you can get involved.

We'll be looking for student leaders to support the new societies; if you are keen to develop employability skills and create interesting, engaging opportunities for other learners then you'd be exactly who we are looking for. 

For more information about leading a society check out our helpful guide here!

*At the moment the automatic enrolment is for students registered to study in Sunderland only. 

*Another exception is for Pharmacy students: Sunderland Pharmaceutical Students' Association (SPSA) is a independent society; long running and hugely successful. Find out more here

Being part of a society committee has many benefits:

  • You can gain and improve skills
  • You can boost your CV with real experience
  • You can support others

It can be flexible too – we all face lots of demands on our time – but a little bit of support can go a long way. We’ll provide full training and lots of support to all committees.

Find more about the roles that make up a society committee here

Or to register your interest in getting involved you could also fill in this simple form and we’ll get back to you.

I’m interested!

Why are Your SU launching academic societies?

We’ve seen the positive impact that academic societies can have for members and we believe that every student should have the opportunity to belong to a thriving academic community that links to their programme of study. The societies will bring students together into peer groups, increasing opportunities for interaction and peer support.

Additionally, academic societies can provide a route into the Students’ Union enabling more students to access and benefit from the many membership opportunities.

What are the benefits of membership of an academic society?

Academic societies are a hub for members; somewhere they can share learning opportunities and develop skills to benefit them now and well into the future. We have some really successful academic societies here at Sunderland already. They’ve brought lots of enhanced learning to their members such as through talks and events with guest speakers, co-curricular trips, additional learning sessions and networking into industry.

Do I need to join up?

You don’t need to do anything to become a member of the academic society for your course area. You will be automatically enrolled as a member of the society. You will receive an initial confirmation email and then a more detailed ‘Welcome’ email with lots of information about how you can get involved.  

Some of our academic societies have Standard Memberships alongside the Academic Membership so you may want to join additional societies to link with students from other programmes of study.

How will I know which society I’m in?

You'll be automatically enrolled into the right society for your programme of study and you’ll get a short confirmation email. Then we'll get in touch by email to tell you more about the society and how you can get involved. If you want to check then you can do this through our website  underneath your name click on ‘Account/Profile’ to see which societies you are a member of.

Will it be expensive?

Academic societies are free on enrolment so no they won’t be expensive. As a member you might want to get involved in society run activities that have costs involved but you can decide this based on each opportunity. Your SU provide funding to support society activities too. The society committee will be given information about funding when they join society training.

I don’t think I’m in an academic society?

If you want to check whether you are a member of a society you can do this through the Your SU website  under your name you click on ‘Account/Profile’ to see which societies you are a member of. If you aren’t a member of an academic society please email us at using your student email with information about your programme of study.

If you are a Pharmacy student you can join Sunderland Pharmacy Students’ Association, a long running successful academic community here at the University. You can access the website

I want to be in a different academic society than the one I’ve been enrolled into.

If you think we might have made a mistake with your society enrolment please contact us by email to with the details.

We’ve created the societies with lots of guidance from programme leaders so we hope everyone is in the right society for their course. Academic societies for all students are new to us so we’ll be looking closely at things throughout the first year and making changes where we can make things even better.

Quite a few of our academic societies have been operational for some time. These societies tend to have a Standard Membership option alongside the Academic Membership so that other students that are interested in that area of study can join us. You can be in multiple societies though we’d suggest that you manage your time carefully.

What if I don’t want to be in an academic society?

We believe that every student can benefit from being in an academic society but if you really don’t want to be part of your society, we’ve made it as easy as possible for you to Opt Out. There is a simple form on our website; fill this in and we’ll close your membership. It would be really helpful if you would answer the section about why you don’t want to be involved with the society so that we can work on improving things.

What if my society launches but doesn’t do anything?

Your SU, and the University, have worked together to identify the right societies and to allocate all students into these and to provide information about how to get things started but the success of any society relies on the membership mobilising to generate activity. Ideally each society will establish a committee to lead the ongoing development of the group. The committee will communicate with members, develop interesting activities and act as key contacts for Your SU and academic society champions. Your SU will be offering lots of support to anyone interested in being on a society committee.

How do I get involved in leading my society?

Its great news that you are interested in supporting the development of your academic society. Each society needs a great committee in place. Have a look at the Get Involved section of the Academic Societies webpage for information about the opportunities available and how to express an interest in getting involved. 

Will each society have an election to decide the committee?

Elections are a great way for a society membership to choose the committee they want to lead their society. Your SU would love to support every society to host a democratic election but for now we are going to work with each society individually to work out what’s best for them. It could be hosting an election or it could be that we identify a strong committee from the volunteers that want to support the society and they decide the roles between themselves.  Academic societies for everyone is new to all of us and we’ll be focusing on learning throughout this year.

I’m interested in getting more involved with the Students’ Union – how do I do that?

That’s great news. Here at Your SU our vision is to provide all students with opportunities to grow, develop and achieve throughout your life. We have a range of opportunities and programmes that you can get involved in to shape improvements and activities at Your SU and at your University. Society leaders are well placed to get involved as they connect lots of students together but everyone is welcome to get involved. Have a look at our website to find out more or speak to one of your Presidents.

Being part of an academic society is a great way to enhance your programme of study and we've worked closely with Programme Leaders to find the right society for every student but do we understand that you might not want to be involved at the moment.

If you’d like to Opt Out of your membership please complete this short form – Opt Out Here