The term York Rite is a term most often used in the United States of America to refer to a collection of Masonic degrees that, in most other countries, are conferred separately. As such, it constitutes one of the two main branches of Masonic Appendant Bodies in United States Freemasonry, which a Master Mason may join to further his knowledge of Freemasonry. Its name derives from the city of York, where, according to a Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place, although only the lectures of the York Rite College make reference to that legend.
The other principal branch of Freemasonry in the United States is the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Some obediences of the Scottish Rite, outside the United States where the York Rite is not active, may confer some of the York Rite degrees.
The divisions within the York Rite and the requirements for membership differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the essentials are the same. In all the workings, the one requirement is that all applicants be in possession of the degree of Master Mason (the third degree of Freemasonry).
The York Rite is not found as a single system in the majority of countries outside the United States, nor are any of the separate degrees subject to the local Grand Lodge jurisdiction. Each sovereign and distinct rite or "Order" elsewhere has some differences in ritual details to the York Rite system. However, provided that the Grand Lodge in question regards the parent "Craft" jurisdiction as regular, each distinct Order has recognised fraternal inter-relations with the respective Rite within the York system.