Why Durham?

Outstanding Staff

Embrace innovation. Inspire change. Answer the big questions.  

Delivering cutting-edge, research-led education is at the very heart of everything university does. Academic staff are so much more than lecturers teaching from books. They carry out ground-breaking research that shapes departments, inspires courses, and directly informs teaching.  

You’ll actively benefit from the world-class research taking place right here at the University. You’ll have the opportunity to develop:  

  • The ability to think and to understand ideas and information beyond the classroom;
  • Enhanced skills for employment;
  • The ability to learn independently and problem-solve;
  • Creative and critical thinking skills;
  • Confidence and motivation;
  • The ability to become involved in research.

Whatever your interests, whatever your passion, university has got a course for you. 

At Durham, students are taught by academic staff who are acknowledged as experts in their fields and are at the forefront of developments in their subject area. 

University currently has 27 departments and schools, offering over 200 undergraduate courses, not to mention postgraduate degrees, both taught and research. University thinks you’ll be spoilt for choice. You can focus on one subject with a Single Honours degree, develop your interest in two areas with a Joint Honours degree, or take a broader approach with a Combined Honours degree in Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, or Natural Sciences. 

World-class Researchers

In 2020 Professor Carlos Frenk was cited as being Nobel Class for his contribution to physics.

There is a worldwide demand for Durham’s research expertise and researchers. University is placed at the forefront of global challenges from managing hazards that affect thousands of people worldwide to helping to address the world’s energy challenges as university switches from fossil fuels to clean energy sources. 

Unique Collegiate System

Collegiate system makes Durham exceptional. Here, every student is a proud member of a college, and every college has its own character and traditions. Each is an inspiring and supportive community. Most freshers choose to live in their college because colleges are where Durham’s outstanding student experience begins. 

College life 

Colleges are full of friends. You will feel at home from the moment you step through the door. Colleges are like extended families: safe, supportive, and inclusive. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed in a large university. But in your college, you’ll be surrounded by friendly faces and you’ll have the chance to get to know all sorts of extraordinary people.  

College experience 

In your college, you can take part in sport, music, theatre or volunteering. You can join clubs and societies, enjoy parties and dinners, and make friends for life.  

Your college will be your home from home, the centre of your life at Durham and a constant source of opportunities, challenges and the making of memories. Every college provides: 

  • A character and spirit all of its own.
  • Sports, clubs, societies and associations.
  • Events and activities.
  • Dedicated student common rooms.
  • Dedicated staff and support close at hand if you need it.
  • Accommodation at the heart of the University, either catering or self-catering, or a combination of both.

Discover new ideas 

A Durham education doesn’t stop with your degree subject. There are opportunities across the University to engage with ideas and learn from others. For example, in your college you might discuss the most pressing global issues with inspiring visiting speakers; you might go along to a dissertation ‘open mic’ night where your fellow students share their research; or you might edit a student scholarly journal.  

The University’s award-winning museums offer spectacular exhibitions, ranging from Ancient Egypt through medieval Durham to modern art; and its departments and research institutes host public lectures on cutting-edge research. 

An inspiring place to live and learn  

In your college you’ll be surrounded by all sorts of different people, studying a wide range of subjects. So, you’ll meet people who share your interests, and others who’ll inspire you to develop new ones. Each college includes students at all stages, from newly arrived undergrads, to graduates and professors. They’re strong, supportive, multi-generational communities.  

A choice of seventeen Colleges

Each college offers the full range of facilities you’d expect to find at a university and more. That means 17 times as many opportunities to develop your team-working, leadership, problem-solving skills, and initiative. And 17 more chances to get involved in sports, societies, music, arts, associations, and committees. 

No two colleges are the same – their architecture and settings are as distinct as their histories and traditions. One thing every college has in common, however, is its commitment to offering support, challenge, participation, teamwork, and leadership opportunities.

Your college will also have its own Student Support Office, acting as a point of contact for any welfare and pastoral support you might need during your time here. All that’s left is to decide which college you prefer. 

Download undergraduate or postgraduate Colleges Guide.

Find out more about College Communities 

University recognises that there is much more to student life than studying.

At Durham university provides an environment dedicated to delivering an unrivalled experience outside of your studies. Distinctive collegiate system, dedicated wider student experience organisations and Durham Students’ Union combine to enable you to create and shape your own individual student experience.

Live and learn with people from a diverse range of nationalities and backgrounds. Over 85% of students are involved in sport, music, theatre, volunteering or student enterprise. University has over 700 college sports teams across 18 sports, 86 music societies including 28 Music Durham, eight chapel choirs and 50 college societies. There are also over 200 student societies to join. 

As well as being the number one UK university for team sports, university has also invested £2.4m in the new Assembly Rooms Theatre. 


Find your place in the UK’s largest university sports programme. Sport is at the core of Durham student life. A huge range of sporting opportunities is available. Whether you are looking to keep fit or be part of a team, you will have the chance to join in and give it a go. From joining college teams to competing at University level and beyond, there is a place for you. Whether you are already experienced or a complete beginner, the University offers exceptional opportunities to get involved. You might even discover a sporting talent you never knew you had. At Durham, university is committed to your wellbeing too. University offers students every chance to participate in a variety of wellness activities, ranging from fitness classes to outward-bound clubs,and from pilates to movement psychotherapy.  

College sport 

College sport programme is the largest in the UK. Every week and whatever your level, you will have the opportunity to compete in 18 sports across more than 700 different teams. This helps you to keep fit and healthy. It is also a great way to make new friends and have fun.  

University sport 

Durham has 57 University Sports Clubs, with a collective student membership of over 2,500. Most of clubs compete in British University Sport competitions. University also has a growing National League programme. This allows many of most talented students and clubs to compete at the highest level of sport in the UK. 

If you’re a high-performing athlete, Athlete Support Programme will help you reach the next level. Support is available through strength and conditioning, performance analysis and injury rehabilitation. Sports psychology and a personal mentoring scheme will help you achieve your optimum performance and university currently supports over 50 internationally capped athletes annually. All this while studying for one of the best academic degrees in the country. It really is the best of both worlds. 


Try something new and make a positive impact in your local community. University encourages students to volunteer during their time at Durham. Through student-led, volunteering and outreach programmes, you’ll be able to take part in over 80 projects. These cover social inclusion, education, sport, the environment, and global citizenship. As well as making new friends and enjoying new experiences, you will help to strengthen your local community. You will benefit from outstanding training opportunities and have the chance to earn nationally accredited qualifications. 


Each individual college also has its own outreach programmes. So you’ll be able to get involved in a wide range of volunteering opportunities wherever you feel most comfortable. 


The perfect place to embrace your passion for music Whether you want to compete on an international stage, play for fun, or simply listen and enjoy, university has got a group for you. From chapel choirs to bands, and chamber groups to orchestras, thriving music scene embraces every style.  

Here you will find capella groups and world music ensembles, chamber quartets and rock operas. As well as local, national, and international performances, you’ll also have the opportunity to take part in masterclasses and outreach work, or join Music Durham’s student committee to learn new skills in leadership, event planning, and arts management.  

Each college is home to a host of ensembles and performance opportunities, while the Students’ Union runs music societies ranging from rock to folk music and jazz. If music production is more your thing, there’s even a DJ Society and a student-run record label, DH1 records. 


Play a part in one of the largest and most successful student theatre scenes in the country If you love theatre, Durham is simply outstanding. Here, students produce and perform an unparalleled range of eclectic and inspiring shows every year. You will be welcome whether you have a lot of experience or none at all. You might like to tread the boards, but you might prefer to help backstage, produce or direct a show. You could even start your own theatre company. Durham Student Theatre (DST) will support you to do what you love doing or want to learn to do.

With 30 theatre companies and its own dedicated 175-seat theatre, DST is always keen to recruit new members with a passion for performance and produces more than 100 shows every year.  

Durham Drama Festival  

Showcasing the very best that DST has to offer, Durham Drama Festival is an entirely student-run, annual festival, celebrating new student writing and student-created shows. National Student Drama Festival Year after year, DST is one of the most successful student theatre scenes of any university at the festival. In fact, for five consecutive years, Durham students have had multiple shows selected for the National Student Drama Festival. This is unprecedented and university is incredibly proud of this achievement. You can be part of it. 


Published every fortnight and available online, the student-run newspaper Palatinate offers students from all degrees the chance to learn about journalism and try their hands at writing, researching, editing, print and web-publishing.  

Purple Radio 

Student-run radio station offers plenty of opportunities to try presenting, production, journalism, technical marketing and more. 

Source: Durham University


European Higher Education Organization

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe. The EHEO general plan stresses that: Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected. The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders. Thus, EHEO plans: improve academic and scientific interaction of universities; protect the interests of universities; interact more closely with public authorities of European countries; popularize European higher education in the world; develop academic mobility; seek funding for European universities.

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