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University of Durham
Founded in 1832, Durham claims to be the third oldest university in England and its campus boasts Durham World Heritage Site with buildings include the 11th-century Durham Castle and the 1930s Art Deco Chapel. The University is collegiate with 16 colleges. In general the departments perform research and provide lectures to students, while the colleges are responsible for the domestic arrangements and welfare of students.
As a member of the Russell Group, Durham rates highly in both international and national league tables and is also known for its quality of student life, research and sporting prowess. It received a Gold award in the 2018 Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF).
With a population of around 48,000 Durham has a compact, friendly feel, but still provides the facilities of thriving city including excellent cafes, bars and restaurants. The city of Newcastle is only ten minutes by train and has a wide range of choices for entertainment, culture and shopping.
QS World Ranking
Times Higher Education
Complete University Guide
Guardian League Table
Teaching Excellence Framework
Graduates in Work or Further Study
Young vs Mature
Male vs Female
The university was granted a Royal Charter in 1837 by William IV, with the first students graduating a week later using Durham Castle as a college of the university. In 1846 Bishop Hatfield’s Hall (Hatfield College) was founded, providing the opportunity for students to obtain affordable lodgings with fully catered communal eating. Elsewhere, in 1852, the university expanded into Newcastle when the medical school there became a college of the university. It also integrated two teacher-training colleges in Durham and the College of Physical Sciences.
For most of the 19th century, University of Durham degrees were subject to a religion test and could only be taken by members of the established church. However, “dissenters” were able to attend Durham and then receive degrees from the University of London, which were not subject to religious tests.
After World War II, the university expanded rapidly, and by 1963 had divided to form the University of Newcastle as well as Durham University, now based solely in its home town.
In 1992 the University established a significant presence at the Queen's Campus in the heart of Tees Valley, reinitiating medical teaching and breaking disciplinary boundaries to enhance public health and social well being. From 2016 onwards, Queen’s Campus has been repurposed, in part as Durham University International Study Centre, where international students develop study and language skills in preparation for undergraduate and postgraduate study.
Durham operates a collegiate structure similar to Oxbridge, although there is no formal teaching at most of the colleges. However, the colleges do dominate the residential, social, sporting, and pastoral functions within the university. Each college has a unique identity and a variety of facilities for students ranging from computer rooms and libraries to tennis courts and gyms. Most have their own sports teams and compete in the collegiate leagues, and have their own theatre company and orchestra. Most students live in college in their first year, ‘live-out’ in their second year and have the option to move back into college in their final year.
Durham currently has 16 colleges located across Durham City, and a new 17th college is being built to welcome new students arriving in 2020. These communities range in size from around 400, to over 1,000 students. The colleges are made up of both undergraduate and postgraduate students, apart from Ustinov, which is a solely postgraduate community.
Faculties, Departments & Schools
Faculty of Social Science & Health
- Department of Anthropology
- Department of Sociology
- Department of Archaeology
- Durham University Business School
- School of Education
- Department of Geography
- School of Government & International Affairs
- Department of Sport & Exercise Sciences
- Durham Law School
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
- Department of Classics & Ancient History
- Department of English Studies
- Department of History
- School of Modern Languages & Cultures
- Department of Music
- Department of Philosophy
- Department of Theology & Religion
- Liberal Arts
Faculty of Science
- Department of Biosciences
- Department of Chemistry
- Department of Earth Sciences
- Department of Engineering
- Department of Computing Sciences
- Department of Mathematical Sciences
- Department of Physics
- Department of Psychology
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 83% of Durham's research was assessed as 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading' with world-leading research in every Durham University subject; 98% of its research environment “internationally excellent” or “world-leading” (3* or 4*); and 91% of impact case studies graded as 3* or 4*. In addition, more than 25% of subjects were in the top 5 subjects nationally with areas of strength including Anthropology, Archaeology, Chemistry, Classics, Education, English, Law, Music, Physics and Theology.
International & Industry Opportunities
Durham University offers a range of study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students. Study abroad allows you to spend part of your degree programme at an institution in a different country. You could spend a year studying or working at one of our European partner institutions through the Erasmus+ scheme or one of our Overseas exchange partners.
Durham University is a recognised institution in the Erasmus + programme and maintains links with over 200 partner universities across Europe. Durham also has exchange agreements with selected universities outside of Europe, including the USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan and Korea.
There are also opportunities to undertake a year in industry.
Fees & Finance
Scholarships & Bursaries
Durham has a number of scholarships and bursaries either funded by the University, through partnerships with external organisations or through generous donations from alumni and friends of the University. All financial support opportunities have associated eligibility conditions such as household income or academic achievement. Below are some examples the University is currently offering, but please see the University's website for all that are on offer.
TThe Vice-Chancellor's Scholarships for Sport, Music and the Arts is worth £2,000 per academic year to students who demonstrate an exceptional level of excellence in Sport, Music or the Arts; for example participation in sporting or musical events at a national or international level.
The Vice-Chancellor's Scholarships - North East are designed to support applicants from the North East who have been active in student and/or community life and who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills by undertaking a degree at Durham University. The applicant must have an income less than £30,000. The scholarships are worth £2,000 per year.
Durham University Military Scholarships are awarded to undergraduates who have served in the British Forces or who are immediate family member of an ex-service person. The award is £5000 up to four years as either maintenance support or payment towards tuition fees.
The University libraries hold over 1.5 million printed books as well as holding special and heritage collections. The Bill Btyson Library in Durham City is the largest of the libraries and provides resources for all of the subjects studied at Durham University. It provides a light, spacious study environment with a range of facilities including individual and group study spaces, bookable rooms for individual and group work, computer rooms, and a café. There are also specialist collections to support economics, finance and business programmes at the Business School Library and new group study rooms at the Leazes Road Library in the School of Education.
In addition to the central library system, each College maintains its own library and reading rooms which contain over 38,000 volumes. Many departments also maintain a library in addition to the subject collections in the central and college libraries.
All the University libraries open late into the evening during term-time so that you have access to the resources and study spaces you need, when you need them. The wireless internet is widely available throughout the university, while it also maintains open access PCs, which allows students 24 hour access to computers and printers.
Durham's online learning environment (duo) supports learning, teaching and research, and offers a personalised repository of your learning materials.
The Centre for Foreign Language Study offers various ways for students to learn or practice languages from taking outside classes, taking classes for credit, and through the Open Access Centre, which offers a large variety of print-based, audio and audio-visual facilities such as foreign language films, off-air recordings and published language courses.
Durham is an excellent sporting university, with over 90% of students taking part in sport on a regular basis. Within sport, the university focuses on three core strands of performance and leadership, participation, and community sport development.
The main sports centre, The Graham Sports Centre, has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment. New facilities include an indoor rowing tank, a world-class fencing piste, indoor cricket nets, and a performance analysis suite. There are also new facilities for athletes with disabilities, and a new-look, extended sports hall and changing rooms.
Other facilities include five football pitches, a high-performance weights room, four rugby pitches, two lacrosse pitches, two squash courts, three training pitches, a four-lane athletics track, a three court sports hall, one floodlit sand-based astroturf pitch, one floodlit water-based astroturf pitch, one floodlit rubber crumb surface, two netball courts, three playdeck tennis courts, three grass tennis courts, and two cricket pitches.
Durham Student’s Union (DSU) has around 200 student groups covering a range of activity. There are ten broad categories of student groups to choose from: culture, departmental, faith, general interest, hobbies and games, martial arts, music, outdoor and active, performing arts and political and causes. Joining student groups is one of the best ways to have fun, relax, make friends and also learn new skills.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to be involved in student media. Published since 1948, Palatinate is Durham’s student newspaper, issued every fortnight. Purple Radio is Durham’s radio station and runs 24 hours a day during term time, and The Bubble, launched in 2010, is the online student magazine of Durham University.
Durham has firmly established itself as the university where you can combine sporting and academic excellence. Alongside the university's exceptional academic reputation, Durham has finished 2nd in the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) leagues for five consecutive years, and has led the country for both league and cup points since 2014. The University has 50 sports clubs for you to participate.
Durham’s Student Community Action (SCA) runs 50 community, educational and recreational projects each year and offer additional support to many others. SCA is student-led and student-focused, matching volunteers to activities including sport, children's parties, conservation projects, and even prison visiting. It is easy to volunteer; there are SCA Reps attached to each college and in return for giving your time, you get to learn new skills and meet new people.
Durham University Charity Kommittee (DUCK) is the university’s equivalent of RAG week, with activities taking place within colleges and centrally. DUCK also organises a globe-trotting hitchhiking race, an intercollegiate tricycle race around Palace Green or one of the weekly RAG raids to raise money.
The Union’s Advice Service provides free, friendly and independent advice and information to all Durham University students. Advice and Help is independent from the University and all enquiries are dealt with in strictest confidence. The services they provide include housing, financial, academic wellbeing, student safety, harassment and complaints supports.
Religion & Spirituality
Durham University is a multi-cultural, multi-faith community that is committed to providing opportunities for its students to explore and follow their religious beliefs. The University provides a number of faith facilities for its main religious communities of Christian, Jewish and Muslim students.
Durham University Chaplains are committed to welcoming and supporting people of all faiths. All colleges have their own chaplaincy, which are devoted to Christian worship. However, many religions are also supported by societies of the Students’ Union, all of which welcome new members. If you want to find out more I would email the religious society that you are interested in or email the college you are applying to to see in more details what facilities they have.
Health & Wellbeing
Students are recommended to register with a doctor in the practice area of Claypath and University Medical Group, which covers the University and Colleges.
The University’s Psychological Wellbeing service offers advice, guidance and self-help resources for you to develop the skills to help you to manage your own wellbeing. The service includes: drop-in and individual sessions; themed workshops; and SilverCloud, an online themed psycho-educational programmes available on your phone, tablet and laptop. A Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner is available to help you identify the resources most appropriate to your need, and will keep in touch to monitor your progress and wellbeing.
The university’s Counselling Service has a team of trained and experienced practitioners to help you manage any difficulties that are impacting your successful engagement with your studies and with University life. The service is available all year round to registered students via self-referral and to staff members via a referral from Occupational Health. The counsellors can offer time-limited individual sessions to help you develop insight into your thoughts and feelings, and help build the skills to manage your wellbeing and make changes in your life.
The university’s Service for Students with Disabilities can advise you and organise special academic facilities if you have a disability and need some help. They will try to provide whatever support is necessary to enable you to study effectively and make full use of your opportunities at university, including support through the application and interview procedure, if required.
The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre (CEEC) provides a wide range of services to both students and departments, from its core functions of providing careers information, advice and guidance to students and graduates to promoting employability issues within the University. These are delivered in a variety of ways, including the provision of a comprehensive careers information service, individual careers advice and guidance, a career planning programme of talks, (some of which are delivered in colleges), the organisation of fairs and events and the delivery of subject specific talks, presentations and workshops in individual departments.
Catered and self-catered
Catered (per week)
Self-catered (per week)
Most undergraduate students live in college accommodation during their first year, with many choosing to return in subsequent years. Every college offers a variety of study bedrooms, some with en-suite facilities. Many rooms are single, others are shared, twin rooms. Each college has different types of rooms on offer, so for further information on the facilities of each college, please see individual college web pages.
Most of the accommodation in the colleges are fully-catered, while some are self-catered or part-catered. Accommodation is offered for 38 weeks, and if in catered accommodation it is fully catered for 29 weeks with access to a dining room in undergraduate vacations. The charge includes all meals during term time, energy costs and IT connections.
English Language Requirements
|IELTS||6.5 (no component under 6.0)|
|TOEFL IBT||92 (no component under 23)|
|CPE||176 (minimum of 169 per component)|
However, many departments and schools require higher levels for entry onto particular programmes of study. See the department and school of your choice for more information.
Scholarships are to be found within the college you are intending to apply.
The university’s International Office supports the university’s drive to Internationalise through supporting the development of links with international partners, diversifying the international student population and identifying funding sources for scholarships.
The International Office organises a free coach transfer service from Newcastle Airport to your College. During the Induction Week, the Colleges and Academic Departments hold induction activities and events to help you settle in and find your way around. You are encouraged to take the opportunity to meet staff and familiarise yourself with your department, by attending introduction sessions before your course begins.