Durham University (officially named the University of Durham) is one of the world’s top 100 universities. The collegiate public research university is based in Durham, North East England, and has a second campus in Stockton-on-Tees. The schools is known for its excellent programmes that are open to talented students from all backgrounds and nationalities. Currently, more than 17,000 students from over 150 different countries decided to study at Durham University. The multicultural campus is the perfect learning environment for students that are aiming for a global career. Through studying at Durham, students gain valuable knowledge in their chosen fields of study. The teaching approach is research-led and transformative. Classes are held by high-level professionals and teachers who use the latest digital technologies, in order to provide an interesting and informative lesson. The university offers 200 undergraduate and 130 postgraduate courses, as well as many research programmes. The subjects range from the Arts & Humanities, to Sciences and Social Sciences. The course range is one of the broadest in the UK. The school wants to provide an environment of educational excellence where each student can gain their personal and academic goals and maximise their potential. Durham University encourages students to take part in study abroad programmes to broaden their horizons.
I had a great experience at Durham. It’s diverse yet integrated student body combined with the quality of teaching and beauty of the place made my experience incomparable. I have recently finished my 3 year undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Psychology but have decided to go back to Durham to pursue my masters in Management because of how great my experience has been.View more
As an international student, I can confidently say that Durham University has an excellent environment for students. This city, including the Uni, provides a comfortable atmosphere to live and to enjoy your uni life. You can never get enough of the stunning countryside view. The professors are kind and always welcome any questions related to the lectures. It’s a dream school that worth spending three years.View more
For me, Durham was definitely the right university to choose. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to study at a high-ranking and academic university but is not ready to live in a large and very busy city. Complete with a beautiful cathedral and castle it is also ideal for anyone who wants to be surrounded by history.
Durham offers a history degree which you can make your own. You are able to choose every one of your modules, within these choose essays on aspects you are most interested in. The modules on offer have a broad geographical and chronological range, providing you with the opportunity to discover new periods and types of history. I was able to study medieval and Chinese history for the first time. You can even choose which strand of historiography you would like to study, these range for gender history to the history of nativism to microhistories, giving you the option to specialise quite early on. Another way you can personalise your degree is by taking elective modules in another discipline, modules from English Literature, Politics and International Relations and Modern Languages combine particularly well with History. In the first two years of the programme you have to study at least one medieval, early modern and late module, so if you only want to study one period of history this course may not be for you.
The lecturers and seminar leaders are very passionate about their subject and are always ready to recommend reading material and primary sources for essays. They have weekly office hours which you can attend for extra feedback or advice without booking, and many are happy to arrange appointments at other times with you. History students have an average of eight contact hours a week, so self-discipline and organisation are key to stay on top of the heavy workload. If you need a more structured timetable or would like a degree with lots of teaching hours, you might want to consider a different course. Every week you have discussion-based seminars which you have to prepare for in advance, and lectures which provide an overview of the course content. The seminars reinforce your understanding of ideas and themes outlined in the lectures and prepare you for the essays and exams. You are assessed through both summative essays and exams. Often the summative essays are due around the same time, meaning that the workload can become particularly heavy for periods of time.
The ‘Durham Difference’
Durham, unlike most other universities, is a collegiate university. Being part of a college community makes the transition from being at home and in a school environment easier. Colleges are far more than just a support network, they have a range of facilities, including libraries, gyms, common rooms, music rooms, and tennis courts. They also host social events throughout the year which include formals, college days and balls. All colleges have bars with their own character and signature drink, which make bar crawls particularly enjoyable. Drinks are affordable, a single vodka lemonade costs around £1.50. College bars also offer a place for students to work, the hours are designed to work around their degree.
Each college is unique, they are of different sizes and are located in different parts of the city. The older colleges are in the centre, whilst the newer ones are on the hill, some are fully catered whilst others offer self-catering. Therefore, there is much choice and most students find one that they will feel comfortable in. However, getting your first-choice college is not guaranteed: the ones in the centre of town tend to be more over-subscribed than the ones on the hill. Moreover, the facilities and events offered at each college differ greatly, some have larger bars and multiple libraries, and the more traditional colleges have regular gowned formals, whilst some others have informal ones more infrequently.
Each college has its own sports and societies; you can continue to play or try out a new sport or activity in a relaxed environment. Equally, if you want to be involved in larger societies or play sport more competitively there are a plethora of teams and groups at the university level.
The Durham student body is predominantly white, middle class, and many are from private schools. International students, minorities or those from working-class backgrounds can feel isolated. However, I have found that most students find friends they feel comfortable with and communities or societies where they can meet like-minded students or those from similar backgrounds.View more
My experience at Durham has been a predominantly positive one. I would recommend the university to people who want to study at a collegiate university which ranks high but are not (yet) ready to live in a big city.
Liberal Arts is an incredibly flexible degree, which allows you to combine various subjects from the Humanities, as well as from the Social and Natural Sciences. This means that you can design your own degree programme for yourself, picking and choosing subjects and modules that interest you. Throughout my degree, I studied English Literature, Philosophy, Anthropology, and Business.
An additional bonus to Liberal Arts is that the staff is kind and helpful, you can turn to them with any problems you might have. They helped me immensely with my studies, module choices, year abroad applications, amongst others.
A disadvantage of this course is that it lacks the kind of community that single honours programmes have.
LECTURES, SEMINARS, RESOURCES
Having experienced the teaching styles of various departments, I can tell you that the style, quality, and workload differ tremendously across departments. Overall, all the departments are helpful, but teachers in certain departments tend to be more available than others. The lecturers are generally knowledgeable and passionate about their subject. The lectures and seminars are mostly useful and of a high quality, but this also differs across departments. Students studying Humanities and/or Social Sciences normally don’t have many contact hours. The workload throughout the academic year is manageable, but during exam season it becomes quite heavy.
The library offers a wide variety of books, although depending on your modules it might not have everything on your reading list.
Durham operates a collegiate system which assists students with the transition from living with your parents to living alone. If you have any mental health issues, difficulties with your studies, or any other problems, your college will help you solve them. Most colleges are catered, which means you won’t have to worry about cooking. Depending on your college you also have access to various facilities, like libraries, study rooms, gyms, common rooms, music rooms, etc. Furthermore, you can get involved in college sports and/or other college-level extracurriculars. You shouldn’t just think of your college as an accommodation which helps you with your problems. Colleges are communities with their own unique characteristics, and with fun events like college day, formals, and balls.
A disadvantage of the college system is that the facilities you have access to highly depends on your college and not all colleges have the same facilities.
Durham offers a wide variety of university-level extracurriculars. You can get involved with volunteering, sports teams, the film society, one of the many theatre or musical societies, amongst others. You will most certainly be able to find a society that offers something you are interested in. This will also give you the opportunity to make friends relatively easily and connect with people who have the same interests and passions as you.
University-level sport can be very costly, and not all university-level sports are on and are taught on the same level.
While you will most certainly find your people and community, Durham lacks diversity. Elitism is well and alive in Durham, as most students are posh, rich, and white. Internationals and/or minorities might feel excluded, discriminated against (by locals and students), and they might feel like they don’t belong to the elitist cliques students form. Nevertheless, in my experience, most students find their community and make plenty of friends.
Lots of interesting, fun and intelligent students, coupled with open and helpful academic staff. The university is well organised I believed compared to its rivals such as Exeter and Edinburgh. Needs to improve its diversity and also the cost of living is rising at an alarming rate.View more
The collegiate system means that there’s great pastoral care and a community feel. The city itself is small and homely with everything you could need. The work is just the right amount of challenging.View more
Durham University is one of the best leading universities for English Literature. It was for this reason why I applied. Commonly known as the University for Oxbridge rejects, it is not a bad thing. In terms of location, Durham is far from the South – which is where many students here originate from. The academic side of the Uni is a solid 5/5, the nightlife 3/5. If it weren’t for the collegiate system the Uni would not be as unique and quirky.View more
The college system is what really makes this university great. It’s perfect for bachelors as it becomes so easy to make friends and living in college is a completely different atmosphere.
Academically the workload is a bit heavy but focused only during exam time, so you can take it easy during the year. Economics did not have a lot of contact hours, around 9 per week including tutorials.
Overall is a very well ranked university and I had a great time, however if you prefer continuous and interactive learning, Durham is not for you.View more
Amazing university for sports-mainly rugby and rowing. However, there isn’t a Durham University swimming pool and students are made to use the public pool, which could be pricey. Lacked cultural diversity and cliquish students. Good welfare support within college.View more
Durham’s collegiate system gives a strong, intimate sense of community to incoming students, and also allows for a collective sense of connection to Durham as an active and personally accessible entity across all of its students. Sporting and extracurricular opportunities are both plentiful and leveled from amateur all the way to, in many cases, professional. Furthermore, many of Durham’s student led clubs offer trips around the country and the world that several other UK universities can’t conjure up due to their lower prestige. ____In terms of the academic and educational opportunities afforded to students, Durham is second to none. The library is great, and the lecturers are generally very well read and passionate about their disciplines. In terms of location, Durham is tiny: it’ll take you half an hour to walk from one end of the town to the other. Although a lot of city goers find it too small, very few deny Durham’s archaic charm. Durham is teeming with riverside walks and lush vegetation, so if you’re a nature lover Durham’s countryside feel should genuinely factor into your decision. Now, on to the big catch with Durham: if diversity was a rainbow, Durham would be grey-scale at best. Expect posh, southern elitism to permeate a lot of social circles. NOW, there is nothing wrong with rich kids who enjoy each others company, and if that’s your cup of tea then by all means sip away. BUT, if you’re from a lower socio-economic standing in the UK understand that social barriers and cliques run rampant in Durham, and you may fell categorized, and then ostracized seconds after hello. However, in my experience, I found that this makes making like-minded friends much easier, and if you can get past its lack of diversity and size, you should have more than enough to keep your time at Durham spontaneous, educational and enjoyable.View more