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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Will I have to move out during vacation periods?

No. Your license to occupy allows you to stay in college over the vacation periods. Students normally remain in their allocated room for the full academic year.

When do I apply for my accommodation?

Undergraduate students who have met the conditions of offer and have returned their AS12 confirming their place will be offered accommodation.

Students do not need to do anything about accommodation before A-level results are published. Once the student has confirmed their place with Durham University they will be sent a link to the accommodation preference form. The form will be used to allocate the student into flats so it is important that it is returned as soon as possible. If the accommodation preference form is not returned to us we will assume that the student does not want college managed accommodation.

Can I select a preference for flat type?

Yes, you can express your interest for flat type on the accommodation preference form which will be sent to you following A-level results.

We offer a variety of flat types:

  • Female Only
  • Male Only
  • Alcohol Free
  • Vegetarian/Vegan (Meat-free/fish free)
  • Dust Free (Student’s with a preference for a cleaner environment)
  • Nut free/coeliac/lactose Intolerant

*Please note this is a preference only and cannot be guaranteed.

How much does it cost to live in John Snow College Accommodation?

Please refer to the Undergraduate/ Postgraduate residence charges:

Undergraduate: Undergraduate

Postgraduate: Postgraduate

Residence charges are inclusive of heating, electricity, water and WIFI.

What is included in my accommodation?


  • ¾ sized bed (between single and double size) including under bed storage
  • Mattress Protector (bedding is not included)
  • Wardrobe
  • Desk
  • Desk light
  • Office chair/computer chair
  • Window blind
  • Additional plug sockets, light and shelf above the bed
  • Rubbish Bin


  • Iron & Ironing board
  • Dust Pan and Brush
  • Compact Vacuum Cleaner
  • Mop and Bucket
  • Every kitchen has a kettle, toaster, microwave, oven, fridge and freezer

Will I have Insurance Cover for my accommodation?

Durham University have arranged contents insurance cover from Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd for students who reside in College accommodation.

Is accessible accommodation available?

John Snow College have four wheelchair accessible en-suite bedrooms for those students who require this type of accommodation.  All accessible study bedrooms are located on the ground floor. The Mount Oswald site (which includes The Hub and the Heart buildings) are purpose built for accessibility, each have a lift and there are blue badge car parking spaces. If you have and special medical requirements please let us know so we can do our best to accommodate your specific needs.

Will I need a TV license?

You must provide your own television licence if you bring a TV to College. Your parents licence does not cover your television in College accommodation. The TV Licensing Authority has informed us that they may carry out checks on the premises.

Can I park my Car?

You are strongly advised not to bring a vehicle to College. Wherever possible, please use public transport, cycle, walk or share transport to and from the campus. Cycle stands are provided in College and across the university campus. The University car parking policy is available for further information.

Can I bring my bike?

Yes, there is bike storage on site and the City is cycle friendly, with lots of storage points across the estate. Colleges encourage safe use of personal cycles, including the use of cycle helmets and lights.

What are the laundry facilities?

There are pay-as-you-go washing machines and tumble dryers.

Will I find out my room number prior to arrival?

No, you will receive details on your arrival.

Is there internet?

DU provide free student Wi-Fi across the estate, including John Snow accommodation.

College Life

Where is John Snow located in relation to lecture halls and supermarkets in Durham?

John Snow College is positioned in close proximity to some of the other ‘hill colleges’ on the Mount Oswald site and is in walking distance to the main academic buildings for teaching and lectures.  There is also a really good shuttle bus service with a discount to students (by showing your student campus card).  There are local convenience stores in Durham City centre, a market and also a retail park (by taking the bus) with large retails stores and supermarkets.

Is John Snow an LGBTQ+ friendly college?

Yes we do pride ourselves on our inclusive attitudes. We have an LGBT+ agent on our welfare team and we have an LGBT+ society in college.

What is the JCR?

The Junior Common Room (JCR) is the College’s undergraduate student body. This group is represented by the JCR President and Committee. The JCR is responsible for student enrichment and providing the wider student experience.

What does the JCR do?

The JCR organises events, runs multiple sports teams and creates societies within College. Furthermore, the JCR Committee meet regularly to discuss issues within College, feeding back comments about their role and what improvements could be made to give our students the best experiences possible. The JCRs are run by students who are elected by their peers to run specific aspects of College life such as balls, welfare campaigns, socials and gowned events.

Could you explain what the JCR levy is?

In order to operate we ask students to pay an optional one-off payment that covers your entire time at John Snow College. Students that choose this (opt-in) are then offered the opportunity to get involved in the JCR in ways such as playing in our sports teams, joining our societies, attending our events, getting involved in various volunteering and charity opportunities and much more.

What societies could I join?

There are so many societies you can join at John Snow, it's a great way to meet people with similar interests as you. All of the societies are welcoming and inclusive, it does not matter if it's something you have never done before, if you haven't done it in a while or you just want to give it a try. There's something for everyone at John Snow!

Our Societies:

  • Art Soc
  • Baking Society
  • Blizzard Theatre Company
  • British Sign Language
  • Christian Union
  • Fem Soc
  • John Snow Book Club
  • John Snow Charity Fashion Show
  • LGBTQ+ Soc
  • Music Society (singing group, violin group, woodwind ensemble, jazz band and rock band)
  • Vegan and Vegetarian Soc

Our societies are slowly growing, with more and more added each month, if there's not something there for you and you have an interest, we can help you set up that society whether it’s a Disney Society, Jewellery making Society, or whatever you are interested in we can make it happen!

What sports could I do?

At John Snow College we have lots of sports that you can get involved in, either on a competitive level or just for fun. It is a great way to meet new people and take part in some healthy competition with friends. We have many talented students who take part in a number of competitive sports at both College and University level. The main sports played at John Snow College are as follows, however we do have other sports available and we are always interested in developing others:

  • Men’s Rugby
  • Women’s Rugby
  • Men’s Basketball
  • Men's Football & Futsal
  • Squash
  • Lacrosse
  • Volleyball
  • Netball
  • Women’s Hockey
  • Cheerleading
  • Badminton
  • Rowing
  • Cricket
  • Women’s Football

I haven’t had much experience playing sports before university, can I still join the College teams?

Yes absolutely, college sports are available for any student, whether they have played for 5 years or never before. All college sport captains are elected by the sports club and are very friendly and always thrilled to have new players join every year. We also really love coaching and training new players and having a more sociable and relaxed environment for people to enjoy sport.

Can I change colleges?

Durham University has an allocation policy that specifies once a college allocation is made then it is part of our broader offer and not something that would be changed at the applicant’s request. 

Does Mt. Oswald have a Chapel?

There isn’t a chapel on the Mt Oswald site but we do have a multi-faith/quiet room where anyone of any faith or no faith can go for private prayer, reflection or quiet time whilst the building is open. The room is also bookable space for small groups to occasionally meet in.

I’d like to get involved in charity work, could the JCR help with this?

We do organise fundraising events and volunteering projects and other charity work that JCR members can get involved with to help our local community and chosen charities. Involvement in this can range from playing in charity sports matches, helping local residents with any needs they have or even getting involved in big charity events such as our fashion show.


If I’m worried about something who can help me?

We have several people you can turn to. If it is an academic matter you will have an Academic Advisor in your Department who should be your first port of call. If it’s a non-academic issue, you can speak with our Assistant Principal (Student Support), Gini Bedford, or you might want to chat informally with the JCR welfare officers or welfare reps. If you require specialised support we can signpost you to the University’s specialised central services and in some case to external agencies. There is plenty of support available, all you need to do is ask!

What additional support is available for international students on arrival?

International students arrive a few days before students from the UK and Europe so that they can complete various admin procedures and accustom themselves to life in Durham and College. There is a specific one day event organised pre-Freshers Week to ensure all of the necessary enrolment procedures have been completed and that you have established contact with your Department. The JCR work hard to make sure that you feel at home in College and run various events to help you settle-in and make friends

University Life

Do freshers have the opportunity to mix with students from other colleges and courses?

Yes, you will meet many students from other colleges through your lectures and seminars. College Bars also have opening hours where students from other colleges can visit. College level sports teams can also compete with teams from other colleges too and inter-college socials have been arranged in the past across the year.

Is it hard to manage your academic studies whilst also playing in sports teams?

Almost all of the training schedules will be scheduled on an evening or even a weekend in order to avoid clashing with academic schedules. Lectures are from 9-6 so there may be sessions from 5 however college sports are very flexible and do try and accommodate for all their players. Similarly, if you have assignment deadlines coming up or exams, college sport captains are often very understanding of this and do not mind you missing one off training and matches. Matches are often on the weekends or Wednesday afternoons and there are no lectures Wednesday afternoons in order to accommodate sports teams.

What’s the nightlife like at Durham?

There are a variety of options for nightlife in Durham; there are multiple clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants in the town centres, which are always popular with students. Newcastle is also a quick 10-minute train ride away from Durham, which has access to other clubs. However, there are also a number of cinemas, theatres and even escape rooms to have a go at if you do not fancy going to a club. There is always something going on and to do in Durham to suit a variety of interests.

I don’t drink alcohol at events, does this mean I can’t participate in Fresher’s Week?

No event run by the JCR actively encourages anyone to drink alcohol – it’s everyone’s choice. We run events during fresher’s week and the rest of the year that are alcohol-free, so everyone has a choice as to what meets their preference. We’ve held roller-skating disco, escape rooms and Christmas games nights too!