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Our Wider Student Experience

Students singing in Gospel Choir at Durham Cathedral

Alongside the outstanding education we offer to students, we believe that participating in every aspect of university life is fundamental. The communities created by each of our 17 Colleges ensure that we always have a sense of community at the heart of everything we do. Our students participate actively in sport, theatre, music, volunteering and business enterprise.  

We have invested in our Student Support network to ensure our students feel well supported. We offer help through our Colleges, the Students’ Union and specialist support teams to enable our students to get the best out of their university experience.

Our transformative wider student experience helps our students develop team working and leadership capabilities.

University Strategy

What we are already doing well:

  • We have 17 Colleges, each with their own distinct identity. This variety ensures that we have something for everyone.  
  • Team Durham ensures that we are consistently a leading university for team sports. We were named as Sports University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023. 
  • We opened Hazan Venture Lab in 2021 as a dedicated entrepreneurial space designed to help students and alumni explore their business ideas. Over the past five years, we have helped to create 129 new startups – 31 in 2022/23.
  • Our large-scale, integrated sports park at Maiden Castle was re-opened in 2019 following an investment of £31.8m. Its world-class facilities support the University and the local community.   
  • Student involvement in music and theatre continues to flourish. Our student a-cappella group, Northern Lights, reached the International Collegiate A-Cappella Final in New York, and our Musical Theatre Troupe won the Inter-University Musical Theatre Festival in 2022.
  • Our student team won the BBC University Challenge national competition in 2023.
  • The Durham Inspired Award continues to encourage students to focus on their personal development and enrichment through undertaking activities that promote the accelerated development of key graduate skills. 

We will:

  • Provide a structure for students to develop a range of graduate attributes to help our diverse population of students build on their unique strengths and personalities to thrive in a rapidly changing world.  
  • Consolidate our strength as a collegiate university, maintaining a sense of community, personalised learning and an exceptionally supportive system for student wellbeing and self-development. 
  • Have a positive impact on the City of Durham through partnership, volunteering and community access to our facilities and shared activities.   
  • Seek funding for a step change in the support we offer to student entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to help retain more of our graduates in the North East and develop our students’ employability skills. 
  • Grow Durham University-owned or -managed college accommodation capacity to allow at least 40 per cent of full-time students resident in Durham to benefit from the residential aspects of a Durham college experience.