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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the College allocation process work, and can I change Colleges? 

Once College membership has been allocated, it cannot be changed at an applicant’s request other than for exceptional circumstances such as a medical need that cannot be met by your allocated College. You can find out more about the Undergraduate allocation policy here and the Postgraduate allocation process here. 


Do all first year students live in College? 

New Undergraduate students are expected to live in College accommodation during their first year of study. There are a number of rooms in College reserved for Postgraduate students. We welcome “returning students” wishing to live in College in subsequent years. 


Do I need to apply for accommodation? 

New Undergraduate students are expected to live in College accommodation during their first year of study and therefore do not need to apply to live in. If for exceptional reasons, you wish to live out of College, you should talk to us about this by contacting . Postgraduate students can express a preference for membership and accommodation or membership only; for more information please see 


What room types are available? 

Stephenson offer varied room types for Undergraduate students – single en-suite, paired and standard rooms. Postgraduate rooms at Stephenson are single ensuite. Prices of these rooms differ: 


Can I select a preference of room type? 

We will be inviting expressions of interest for room type in the summer. We cannot guarantee to meet all requests and where a particular type of room is oversubscribed, we will allocate firstly by prioritising any medical needs and thereafter by lottery. 


How much is College Accommodation? 

University residence charges can be found by visiting: 


Do I have to move out during the Christmas and Easter vacation? 

Your license to occupy allows you to stay in College for the duration of the academic year with one exception: 

During the Easter vacation the College hosts Post Offer Visit Days. In order to provide these students with the full College experience we ‘buy back’ student bedrooms in certain accommodation blocks to accommodate them. The details of the scheme will be provided to students resident in those blocks.  


I have a disability/medical condition which requires special facilities in my accommodation. Who shall I tell? 

If you have special requirements for your accommodation, get in touch with the Student Support Office at Stephenson and let us know. Email us at or call us on 0191 3340560. You can also contact University Disability Support who can offer advice and support for applicants seeking to study at Durham. Contact details for Disability Support are available on our website at 


Is accessible accommodation available? 

The college have two accessible flats available, both located on the ground floor. The bedrooms are en-suite and can be fitted with auxiliary aids such as flashing alarms and vibrating pillows for students with sensory impairments. Kitchens within these flats have risers under the sink to allow the benches to be adjusted, if required. 

There is also a lift for public use located within one of the residence blocks. Accessible toilet facilities are located in Stephenson Central. 


What is provided in my room? 

Facilities in each bedroom include a single bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, study desk, chair and noticeboard. Standard bedrooms include a wash basin. WI-FI connection to the University network is available in all rooms. Bedrooms are arranged around a shared kitchen. 


What do I need to bring? 

There are a number of things that you should bring to College. If you are travelling from overseas, you may wish to buy much of this when you arrive. 

  • Clothes - bring clothes to cater for every eventuality including warm clothes and waterproofs! You’ll also need formal wear for Induction as well as for other events throughout the year. 
  • Bedding - Beds in College are single sized and you need to provide your own duvets, pillows and sheets. You should also bring your own towels. You may wish to bring some personal items such as photos to personalise your room. 
  • Crockery - The kitchens are fitted with a fridge/freezer, toaster, kettle and microwave. You'll need to bring all your own crockery i.e. mugs, plates, bowls, as well as pans, baking trays, utensils etc. 
  • Toiletries – You need to provide your own toiletries such as toilet paper, shampoo, soap etc. 
  • Food – You may wish to bring a small amount of food with you for the first few days. You can go shopping or arrange a supermarket delivery shortly after arrival. 
  • Electrical items from outside the UK.  
  • Please note: for safety reasons, electric appliance adaptors are not allowed in University residences. Please do not use your electrical equipment in the residences unless you have an undamaged British cable with a 3 pin plug, this must be stamped BS1363 to connect to the electrical supply. 
  • Electrical equipment can only be used in university residences if connected by a UK cable. Some electrical equipment, such as computer laptops, mobile phones etc. have separate cables for connecting to the electrical supply. It is possible to buy separate cables in the UK in order to use your electric equipment safely in your college. 
  • Kitchen items, including rice cookers can be bought locally at reasonable prices. 
  • The electricity supply in the UK has a much higher voltage than in some countries outside Europe. It is therefore very important that electrical appliances are used safely - an electric shock can be fatal! 

Further advice on what to bring for students travelling from overseas can be found here. 


What’s the internet like at Stephenson? 

A Wi-Fi connection to the University network is available in all rooms and communal areas in College. Students are advised to have anti-virus software on their laptop. More information can be found here. 

Students can connect their phones/tablets to University Wi-Fi. Please find more information here. 


If I bring a TV, do I need a Licence?

Yes. More information is available on the TV Licensing website.


Is Stephenson a self-catered College? 

Yes, Stephenson is a self-catered College, but we dine together often; informally with food from the cafe/bar, at College events such as our “Locomotion Dinners” (Informal Formals) and also, formally, at our Formal Dinners. 


Does Stephenson have Formal Dinners? 

Yes, Stephenson College hold Formal Dinners throughout the academic year which are larger, grander events.  We are the only college to also offer semi-formal dinners (‘Locomotion Dinners’) where we dine together in a smaller, more informal setting every other week.  And there are the special events which are real highlights in our college calendar such as a Winter Ball, Summer Ball and Stevo Day.  


What is a College? 

Durham is a collegiate university, with 17 Colleges across Durham City. All students at Durham are a member of a College and ‘live in’ during their first year. Colleges are diverse communities, welcoming students from around the world and studying across all disciplines within the University. Whilst no teaching takes place within the Colleges, they provide opportunities for personal development, extracurricular activities and a range of events for students to enjoy. Each College has common rooms representing its student body and designated social spaces and facilities such as a café-bar, study space and college-sized areas for arts and sports. 


What is the history of Stephenson College? 

Stephenson College is one of the youngest of Durham University's Colleges, founded in September 2001 and named after the railway pioneer, George Stephenson. Affectionately known as "Stevo", we are a modern, progressive, student focused college. We have a diverse community and we promote an environment where members can achieve greater than just academic success; supporting creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation. 


What is the JCR and MCR? 

JCR stands for Junior Common Room; the college-scale student organisation for undergraduate students at Stephenson. The JCR is headed by a President; a student elected to the position by fellow students to lead the JCR for a year, usually following their graduation. The President runs the JCR with an “Exec” of current students, also elected, and these are supported in their work by the “Non-Exec” and their committees. Undergraduate students are asked to pay a membership fee to their JCR when they join the College. 

MCR stands for Middle Common Room; the college-scale student organisation for postgraduate students in Stephenson. The MCR is headed by a President, who with their Exec, runs the MCR. Postgraduate students are asked to pay a membership fee for their common room when they join the College. 

The common rooms facilitate events, activities and opportunities within the College including sports, societies, socials, outreach and development as well as representing the student body in meetings with the College and University. 


What can I get involved in? 

The simple answer is absolutely everything! Stephenson has its own Connections Programme with opportunities to get involved in volunteering and outreach, hear from guest speakers and develop yourself as global citizens. The JCR and MCR also facilitate a range of events and activities in music, arts, sports and societies. There is a place for everyone at Stephenson.  


What if Stephenson doesn’t have the society or sports team I would like to join? 

We promote leadership and proactive and creative engagement and each year invite new and existing students to set up and develop clubs and societies based around their skills and passions. This is promoted by the College and both Common Rooms. With the assistance of the JCR Sports Officer or Societies Officer, opportunities can be underpinned with start-up and development grants. 


How many students are in Stephenson College? 

The College expects an intake of approximately 350 undergraduate students in October. Students are members of their College for the whole period of their degree, and Stephenson has approximately 550 ‘returning students’ studying in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years of study. 

The College has a community of postgraduate students studying on taught and research programmes. An expected intake of approximately 120 new postgraduate students will join the College in October. 


What faith provisions are there? 

Find out more about the different faith communities and provisions in Durham and the surrounding areas at


What local travel provision is there in Durham City? 

Most students walk or cycle to and from lectures. Stephenson College is located next to the Howlands Park and Ride site. Resident students can currently benefit from a reduced rate when using the Howlands Park and Ride bus service. The University also currently have an arrangement with Arriva, offering discounted bus travel around Durham City. Find out more: 


What transport links are there to and from Durham? 

Durham is easily accessible by rail and road and is about 30 minutes’ drive from Newcastle International Airport or 40 minutes’ drive from Durham Tees Valley Airport. More information about travelling to Durham is available at 


Can I bring a car to College? 

You are strongly advised not to bring a vehicle to College.  

The University policy regarding car parking can be found a 


Where do students do their shopping? 

The self-catered colleges’ students tend to use online shopping facilities for food and other provisions, and there is a local market in the City Centre which sells produce and groceries. 

We recently opened our own College Shop, run by students, which sells essentials.


When shall I arrive at Stephenson? 

You will receive further guidance about arrivals once your place is confirmed in August of your year of entry.