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Welcome to Ustinov

A Warm welcome from our College Principal

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Welcome to Ustinov College, Durham University’s sole postgraduate-only College, comprising a community of  scholars representing over 100 nationalities.

Renamed in 2003 in honour of the actor and writer Sir Peter Ustinov, who was Chancellor of Durham University,  Ustinov College was formerly known as the Graduate Society.

Our focus at Ustinov College is to provide a safe, supportive, motivating and enjoyable collegiate environment  that nurtures global citizenship and enables its members to grow intellectually and socially. Globally the College  is recognised as a friendly and welcoming place that openly celebrates the strength arising from diversity, inter-  disciplinarity and collegiality and applauds leadership, creativity, innovation, teamwork and excellence.

At Ustinov I trust you will have a truly unique experience as a ‘Ustinovian’ that will lay the basis for a life-long  mutually rewarding relationship with the College, University and the people and communities of the North East  of England.

On behalf of all staff at Ustinov I would like to extend a warm and hearty welcome. We look forward to meeting  you at one of the many events organised as part of the College’s social and academic calendar.

Professor Glenn McGregor (Principal, Ustinov College)

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College Handbooks

You can find the following College handbooks below:

Welcome from the GCR President

My name is Diana and as you might have figured out, I was the President last academic year. I chose to continue with the hard work so that you can have the best student experience at Ustinov College. Like last year, this one will be a little bit strange, but believe me, when I tell you that the Ustinov Graduate Common Room (GCR) is here for you, we take it very seriously. So do not hesitate to contact us or even get involved in our big committee. During your time in Durham, you will have the opportunity to live in close proximity to a renowned World Heritage site and one of Britain's best-loved buildings, to make friends from all over the world, and to develop yourself personally and academically. Plus, though you might experience all four seasons in a single day, you should not worry too much about the infamous British weather.

Nonetheless, you have chosen to be part of the one and only postgraduate college at Durham University. Ustinov College has a lot to offer to everyone and I would advise you to give it a go and immerse yourself in College life whether you live in College or in the city. In a "normal" year, it can be daunting when you start the year without knowing anyone. Now if you add this challenging period, I bet you might feel a little bit nervous, but you will discover that Ustinovians are the warmest and friendliest bunch of people you could meet.

Moreover, they are postgrads like you, and they will understand how you feel. Our best asset is our sense of community - a community of which you are now a part. This community is made with lots of international students, so whether you come from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Americas or even Antarctica, you will be very welcome. After all, our College motto is “Diversitate Valemus” — in other words, Diversity is our Strength.

Our mission at the GCR is to help you make the most of your time at Durham. You can become a member of the GCR by paying a levy, for the full year. For more information about the membership details, just check our website (

GRADUATE COMMON ROOM – Putting the 'you' in Ustinov

Covid-19 Update: as with the UK and most of the world, we are having to react to current events that are outside our control. As such, we are working to run a full social program – with government guidelines and social distancing in place. If you need help during this time, please take a look at our website ( or feel free to contact us. Details for committee members can be found on the website too, alongside a huge amount of useful information. We are preparing lots of activities for you during the whole academic year, and I hope that you are looking forward to them.

So, I have talked about the GCR, and you might be wondering how exactly does the GCR work? Well, the committee is composed of students like you who volunteer and make things happen, and they are elected by fellow Ustinov students. If you have an idea to improve the GCR or fancy helping contribute to this wonderful Ustinov community, then do run for a position. Details for positions can be found on the website or you can always ask a member of the GCR Committee and we will be more than happy to talk to you. There will be elections soon after you arrive (in October), so keep your eyes peeled for the nominations. Don't feel intimidated if you have never done such a thing before, there is always a first time for everything and we encourage everyone to get involved.

All that is left for me to say is: Welcome to Ustinov College and congratulations for getting into Durham University! The GCR is waiting to meet you!

Diana Martinez-Trejo (GCR President 2020/2021)

Connect with the Graduate Common Room

GCR Website

GCR Twitter


Facebook Page

Facebook Group

Peter Platypus - Ustinov College Mascot