If you are thinking about applying to the university of Durham or are already set to go there this is the article for you. It will go through some of those burning questions that you want to ask.
Where can I find statistics about Durham University?
Sex ratio (M:F): 45:55
Full-time undergraduates: 10,380
Part-time undergraduates: 385
Postgraduate students: 2,190
Average course: 3yrs
Ethnic minoritories: 7%
State:private school ratio: 67:33
Flunk rate: 2%
Mature students: 8%
International students: 15%
Disabled Students: 61
Local students: 18%
Where can I find information about the Colleges?
Choosing a College.
The Durham colleges tend to be grouped into categories and sub categories. The categories are ‘Durham City’, ‘Stockton Campus’ and their sub categories are ‘Bailey’, ‘Hill’, ‘Hild & Bede’ and ‘Postgrad’. Durham City colleges are not surprisingly in Durham City.
The Bailey Colleges
Bailey colleges are the older colleges in the old part of Durham, surprisingly on the bailey, near the Castle. They are right in town and close to Elvet Riverside, where the language dept. is based.
- Hatfield College – 2nd oldest colleges, lots of traditions including regular formal meals, medium sized with about 650-700 undergrads. May have to share a room in 1st year.
- St Chad’s College – smallest college with about 300-350 undergrads, supposedly has the nicest food, has regular formals. May have to share a room in first year. Cheapest bar.
- St Cuthbert’s Society – not technically a college, has a bar with a beer garden that opens at lunchtime, which is very popular. First year students are housed in accommodation all over Durham. About 1,100 undergrads. Local students and mature students are usually placed here.
- St John’s College – small college about 400-450 undergrads. Has links with the Church. Well-stocked bar. May have to share a room in first year. Traditional.
- University College – oldest college, housed in Durham Castle. Medium sized, about 650-700 undergrads. Formals twice weekly, famed June Ball. First years may have to share a room.
The Hill Colleges
The second category of Durham City colleges is the ‘Hill Colleges’. They are based up on a hill that goes out of Durham and are about a 10 minute walk from the town centre. They are more modern than the Bailey colleges and are close to the Science Site and the library. The hill colleges are as follows:
- Collingwood College – large college, about 1,000 – 1,100 undergrads. The newest college. Has a large bar, a shop and a pizza bar. Sporty reputation. Modern accommodation. Backs on to botanic gardens. Has formal once a term, doesn’t wear gowns.
- Grey College – medium to large college with about 800-900 undergrads. Very close to the science site. Has netball courts. Modern facilities.
- St Aidan’s College – college that is furthest away! Has a lot of steps. Reputation for being the party college. Pizza Bar. May have to share a room in first year. Medium-largeish college with about 800-900 undergrads. Has formals twice a term???
- St Mary’s College – oldest and most attractive of all the hill colleges. As of October 2005 it will be going co-ed after being all-female since it was founded in the early 20th century. Close to science site and library. Worst bar. Regular formals. May have to share a room in first year.
- Trevelyan College – smallest of hill colleges with about 450 undergrads. Famed for its strange hexagonal architecture. Large, airy bar. Lots of nice daffodils in spring, formals every other week. May have to share a room in first year, trevs students move rooms every term.
- Van Mildert College – medium – largeish college with about 800 undergrads. Has a lake with ducks. College with the smallest amount of shared rooms. Modern accommodation. Has formals every two weeks, don't wear gowns.
Josephine Butler College was the first college in the UK to be created in 30 years. It opened its doors to students in 2006.
Butler College will have 800 students once it is fully established and houses 400 of these students. All rooms are self-catered, single & en suite rooms. The en suite pods consist of a sink, toilet and shower each. A kitchen is shared between six residents, with each resident receiving 2 cupboards storage space (one lockable) as well as a shared cupboard and a large fridge and freezer. Each kitchen is a large communal area with a dining table and six chairs as well as four sofa chairs. A hoover, iron & ironing board are shared between six residents.
Butler has the biggest bar in Durham, fitted with 35ml optics, 10 pumps, food facilities, hammock chairs, two pool tables, a hockey table, table football and 3 beds. There is also the JCR room, a chill out place equipped with life size bean bags, a 42" LCD screen and a PS2. It is hoped that more games consoles may be purchased/ made available in the future. It also boasts a modest library and an ITS suite fitted with six computers and a 67" interactive screen. The Howlands building provides a space for gowned formals and other events, as well as housing the laundry room and state of the art gym. The Howlands shop is also conveniently located by the main entrance to provide students with groceries and other amenities.
There are currently over 15 sports teams at Butler, ranging from Rugby & Rowing to Badminton & Ultimate Frisbee. There are also an abundance of societies, with the 'Butler Aeronautical and Space Administration' for the science orientated and the 'Film Society' and 'Drama Society' for the more normal students.
Many more details are available at the [www.butlerjcr.com Butler College JCR website]
Hild and bede
The next category of Durham City colleges is Hild and Bede, which is actually a college by itself.
- The College of St Hild and St Bede – largest college, with about 1,200 undergrads. 16 acres of grounds next to the river. Lots of facilities including a cinema and basketball and tennis courts. Not too near to the other Durham colleges. Has black tie formals.
In Durham City there is also Ustinov College, which is postgrad only.
Colleges on the Queen's Campus
Aside from the Durham City Colleges, there are 2 other colleges to mention. They are the colleges at Queen’s Campus, Stockton, which is a satellite campus of the University of Durham. The colleges are as follows:
- George Stepenson is the larger of the two. All rooms are ensuite and the Stockton Campus is very attractive and modern with lots of facilities.
- John Snow is slightly smaller. See http://www.dur.ac.uk/johnsnow.college/ for more information.
Does it matter which college I apply to?
You should consider all the colleges in the relevant pool when choosing your preferred college on your application.
You apply to the department, they accept you, and then they look at which college you've put down for. All colleges have quotas for each department; if that college has filled its quota for politics students you then get moved onto a college in the same pool that hasn't filled its quota. If all the colleges in the pool are full, you get moved to the 'general' pool. But you will definitely be allocated to a college if you hold an offer.
Pool A: Collingwood, St Hild & St Bede, Van Mildert Pool B: Hatfield, St Cuthbert's, Josephine Butler, St John's Pool C: St Chad's, St Aidan's, Grey, St Mary's, Trevelyan Pool D: University College and all colleges named in pools A to C The membership of the pools is reviewed on an annual basis.
At Queen's Campus there are two colleges: John Snow and George Stephenson. If an application cannot be allocated to one college at the Campus, then it will be allocated to the other.
Will I have to wear an Academic Gown?
The following Durham City colleges do wear gowns for formals:
- Grey College
- Hatfield College
- Josephine Butler College
- St Chad’s College
- St John’s College
- St Mary’s College
- Trevelyan College
- University College
NB Gowns are also worn at all of the above for matriculation.
The following Durham City colleges do not wear gowns for formals:
- Collingwood College
- St Aidan’s College
- St Cuthbert's Society
- Van Mildert College
- The College of St Hild and St Bede
N.B. Gowns are not worn for matriculation at the above colleges EXCEPT the College of St Hild and St Bede.
- For a description of an academic gown click HERE
How easy is it to travel to and around Durham?
- Trains: Mainline connections from Durham to London King’s Cross and handy trains to Newcastle (approx £3.15). Stockton is near Darlington train station, on the London-Edinburgh line.
- Coaches: National Express and Blue Line services to many destinations: London (£21), Newcastle (£3) and so on.
- Car: 5 mins off the A1, but the city operates a £2 congestion charge in the centre and around town, walking is easy enough (and the riverside paths are blissful). Stockton connects to the A1 via the A66.
- Air: Newcastle and Teesside Airports are close to both campuses – flights to London, Northern Ireland and Europe.
- Hitching: Not bad from the A1.
- Local: Good bus services that lazy students use to get up the hills in Durham. Fares from 32p. A service runs between Durham and Queen’s Campus.
- Taxis: Some of Britain’s cheapest taxis (min fare £1, Durham-Newcastle £30 usually, but I am eliably informed it can be haggled down to £20) make it a worthwhile share.
- Bicycles: Lots of Durham students own bikes, despite the numerous hills in Durham. It makes for quicker getting about, especially when you're at a Hill college.
- You can get a bus from Durham Tees Valley airport that takes you straight to Darlington Train Station for about £2, and then on the train Darlington - Durham is only 14 minutes (same as Newcastle - Durham), so it's not far far far far easier to travel to Newcastle. If anything, it may even be sslllllliiiiiiiightly quicker through DTV, as DTV to Darlington is only 15 minutes on bus compared to 20 minutes for Metro airport - central. As well as that, with Newcastle being the bigger airport, you can expect bigger delays, longer queues etc etc.
- Only operate in Durham town centre between 9am and 4pm. At all other times it's free to drive up the Bailey. They also don't operate on Sundays.
- The cost of the charge is £2.
NB the congestion charge is only to get OUT of the city centre, so don't worry about paying it to get in.
Whats the nightlife in Durham like?
Right, since Durham is notorious for having a lack of nightlife, I thought I'd give a quick overview of exactly what there is!
- Nightclubs: Klute (officially the worst club in Europe - plays cheese, is rediculously small), Rixies (bigger than Klute, free tequila on Tuesdays), Walkabout (Australian theme thing), Studio (actually good. Does RnB nights on Monday and 50p entry on Tuesdays when you get 50p chips at the takeaway over the road as well), Fishtank - plays more alternative music, has live bands, but be warned they sell their beer in cans apparently. Also Planet of Sound every Friday night at the union - a place where people can dance to stuff other than cheese.
- Pubs: Loads. Swan & 3 cygnets, Hog's Head, Varsity, Wetherspoon's, Shakespeare, The New Inn. Many more.
- Cafés: Hollathan's, Saddler's, Vennel's, Brown Sugar, Caffe Nero, Costa...loads of others!
- Bars: Jimmy Allen's, which is good. Chase - does nice cocktails
Also there are all the college bars to explore, where drinks are all really cheap! If you want proper club songs there's always Planet of Sound at the Union on a Friday night and the Union regularly puts on events like Back to School and I Can't believe it's not Cheese. If you're getting really desperate you can easily go for a night out in Newcastle, Sunderland or Middlesborough, but I have never felt the need to leave Durham!!
Tell me more about Durham Formals
Formals tend to differ from college to college. At some colleges, formals are held once a week or more often. Other colleges have them spaced out a little more, with one a fortnight. Collingwood tends to have termly Mega-Formals.
Dress at formal events is, surprisingly, formal. What this means depends on the college and the event. Usually, a suit or smart tie/jacket will suffice for men, while the ladies can get away with wearing a top/skirt combination. At the larger events such as balls, black tie tends to be the mandatory dress code. Of course, since we're students these dress codes tend to be rather relaxed. If you forget to wear a tie to some formals, then nobody really minds. Denim, however, is usually a no-no.
Drinking rules and games also very between colleges. Grey, in particular, have rather harsh rules about the amount of alcohol allowed to be consumed in formal. However, most colleges allow drinking games and formals tend to be a relaxed, enjoyable affair. Guests from other colleges/outside the uni are welcome, but usually have to be signed up and paid for in advance.
Applying to Durham
For those who are interested in exactly how Durham processes your application, passes it between colleges, departments etc have a look here. It is the flow chart for applications and although obviously intended for admissions office staff, publicly viewable and linked from the academic office website.
I don't know what all the abbreviations and acronyms are but I've deciphered some:
- "C" Conditional Offer
- "U" Unconditional Offer
- "I" Interview
- "R" Reject
- "Referral" Reject from Durham campus but consider for Queens Campus.
- "BANANA" is their computer system that handles admissions
Fee status codes
- "H" Home
- "I" International (at a guess)
- "E" EU (at a guess)
- "O" Other (at a guess, would include Channel Islands, Isle of Man)
I don't know what any of the SXAUCAT stuff is, but the overall flow of applications can be seen.
A couple of points this raises.
- Fail to get into Durham City and they'll consider you for Queens. The corresponding chart for Queens shows that the reverse is also true. I assume this covers both split depts such as Psychology/Applied Psychology and anyone who makes mistakes such as applying for medicine at Hatfield, or Law at John Snow.
- The department has the final say. If both colleges reject you but the dept still says yes then the Dean of Colleges forces a college to take you. This should happen rarely, because the second college is picked for you by the dept and they won't pick one thats full.
- If you apply for joint honours, both depts must say yes. If only one says yes then they'll consider offering single honours in that dept instead.
Durham will have sent you a three page letter with a login number and password at the bottom right hand corner of the letter.
Go [www.dur.ac.uk/aes/here] and follow the instructions on that page.
If you haven't received a letter from Durham yet saying your application has been received you won't be able to use the service.