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Frequently Asked Questions

Please explore the categories below for commonly asked questions about Ustinov and Durham.

If your questions remain unanswered, please contact Ustinov's Membership Office.

Arranging private accommodation

For private accommodation advice and guidance, contact the University's Accommodation Office. Further house hunting information can also be accessed through the Durham Students' Union. Please check out the private renting section, which includes a map detailing the areas of Durham.

College Transfers

  • Can I transfer to another College at Durham University?

College transfers are unusual, and are on the basis of exceptional need. Ensuring the provision of multi-disciplinary academic communities is important to the University's unique collegiate experience and the college allocation process is designed to ensure this balance.

College transfers are therefore limited to clearly defined criteria. Further information on college transfers and the process to be followed can be read here.

Some students initially request a transfer because they have friends in another college or wish to to participate in activities from other colleges. If you are open to new experiences and meeting new people from all walks of life, you will find that your circle of friends grows and your college experience is much richer as a result. You will still be able to meet friends from other colleges!

Additionally, the majority of activities in colleges are open to members of any Durham University college, so you can take advantage of and involve yourself in many events during your time at Durham

  • Can I transfer to Ustinov from another College?

We receive a considerable number of requests for transfer to Ustinov and adopt the same policy as outlined in the FAQ entitled 'Can I transfer to another college at Durham University?'.

The majority of Ustinov's activities are open to any member of the university and we welcome any student to take advantage of our academic and cultural activities.

Directions to Ustinov College's site

  • How do I get to Ustinov's Dryburn Court site?

By rail: 14 trains per day travel from London and Edinburgh to Durham. The journey takes less than three hours from London, one and a half hours from Edinburgh and forty-five minutes from York.

  • By bus: there are several express coach services daily from most major cities. Durham is well served by both regional express services and the local bus network. From the bus station in the city centre, there are frequent bus services that can stop opposite Dryburn Hospital (which is a short walk away from Ustinov's Dryburn Court buildings).
  • By road from the South: drive north on the A1(M) and exit at Junction 61. Take the A177 signposted for Bowburn. Follow the road for approximately three miles, past Maiden Castle. At the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit (right) on to Hallgarth Street. At the traffic lights, continue straight on down the hill, passing the Student's Union building on your left. At the next major roundabout (Leazes Bowl roundabout), turn left (but not up the ramp) onto the A690 and cross the River Wear on Milburngate Bridge. At the following roundabout turn right (3rd exit) onto the A691. Follow the A691 under the railway line and up the hill until you reach a roundabout. Take the 2nd exit following the A691. At the next roundabout, turn right. University Hospital of North Durham will be on your left. At the next small roundabout, turn right away from the Hospital. Take the first turning on the left to reach the car park for Brackenbury and Keenan House.
  • By road from the North: drive south on the A1(M) and exit at Junction 62, A690 signposted for Durham and Consett. At the roundabout, turn right onto the A690, signposted Durham city. Continue to the next roundabout and take the second major exit towards the city centre. At the Leazes Bowl roundabout, continue straight on and cross the bridge over the River Wear. At the following roundabout turn right (3rd exit) onto the A691. Follow the A691 under the railway line and up the hill until you reach a roundabout. Take the 2nd exit following the A691. At the next roundabout, turn right. University Hospital of North Durham will be on your left. At the next small roundabout, turn right away from the Hospital. Take the first turning on the left to reach the car park for Brackenbury and Keenan House.
  • By air: the nearest airports are Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley. Newcastle International Airport is also linked to Durham by rail. A taxi from Newcastle International Airport will cost approximately £35 one way, depending on the company used.
  • Durham University online map
  • How do I get to Ustinov's Sheraton Park site?

By rail: 14 trains per day travel from London and Edinburgh to Durham. The journey takes less than three hours from London, one and a half hours from Edinburgh and forty-five minutes from York.

  • By bus: there are several express coach services daily from most major cities. Durham is well served by both regional express services and the local bus network. From the bus station in the city centre it's possible to get a bus to Sheraton Park, Neville's Cross during normal operating times.
  • By road from the South: drive north on the A1(M) and exit at Junction 61. Take the A177 signposted for Bowburn. Follow the road for approximately three miles until you reach Stockton Road. At the major crossroads, continue straight on straight on until you reach a roundabout. At the roundabout, turn left and proceed up Potters Bank towards Neville's Cross. At the traffic lights, turn right and then take the next right turn into Sheraton Park (Dalton Crescent). As you enter the estate, turn right and Ustinov College is situated on the left. Please be considerate of local residents when entering and exiting the site.
  • By road from the North: drive south on the A1(M) and exit at Junction 62, A690 signposted for Durham and Consett. At the roundabout, turn right onto the A690, signposted Durham city. Continue to the next roundabout and take the second major exit towards the city centre. At the Leazes Bowl roundabout, continue straight on and cross the bridge over the River Wear. At the next roundabout take the second exit (straight on) and then at the next roundabout by the Viaduct take the second exit (A690). At the traffic lights, turn right and proceed to Neville's Cross. At the crossroads, turn left and continue on the A167 towards Darlington. Take the second left turning and enter Sheraton Park (Dalton Crescent). As you enter the estate, turn right and Ustinov College is situated on the left. Please be considerate of local residents when entering and exiting the site.
  • By air: the nearest airports are Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley. Newcastle International Airport is also linked to Durham by rail. A taxi from Newcastle International Airport will cost approximately £35 one way, depending on the company used.
  • Durham University online map

Fee Payment

  • How do I pay my accommodation fees?

If you are living in Ustinov College accommodation, the residence charge for rooms / flats includes reasonable use of utilities (gas / electricity), water rates and internet charges. The residence charge varies, depending on the room occupied. The amount is shown on the email containing your College accommodation offer

Typically there are three instalments for annual charges, usually on 1 December, 1 February and 1 June. New students will receive invoices approximately one month after taking up residence at Ustinov. You do not need to provide any information for this process.

For further details on paying your accommodation fee, please refer to the Ustinov College Handbook. For any finance queries, please contact Ustinov's Finance team.

  • How do I pay my tuition fees?

You will be charged an annual tuition fee for each year of supervised study at Durham University and doctoral students will also be charged a continuation fee if they have not submitted their thesis three months after the end of supervised study. Your tuition fee will differ depending on the programme you study and whether you are a home or overseas fee-paying student, and whether you are studying full-time or part-time.

Your tuition fee amount is quoted on your offer letter from Postgraduate Admissions. Further information for postgraduate students can be read here.

Please also refer to the information from the University's Finance Department about tuition fee payments. These webpages cover a range of topics from information on tuition fee charges to how to pay your invoice.

Living in Ustinov College accommodation

  • Can I have a friend to stay?

Government guidance allows for one or more guests from one household to stay overnight with one other household. If you have a guest, or guests, they must be prebooked
(where possible) and signed in at College Reception. This is critical for fire safety as well as a Covid-related requirement. One guest per household is able to stay in the
household at any point so we would ask that you discuss with your flatmates in advance of any guest booking (where possible), to ensure everyone has the opportunity to
welcome a guest if they wish to do so.

In line with Government restrictions, College will not be able to accept bookings if one is already in place on a specific date, for your household. We reserve the right to ask
additional guests to depart, if they arrive on dates that have already been pre-booked by another guest.
As per usual College rules, guest stays are limited to a maximum of 3 nights in any term period.To book for an overnight guest, please email ustinov.reception@durham.ac.uk or visit Reception in person.

  • Will I need a TV Licence?

Yes. You must have a UK TV licence if you, 1) watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or other device as they are broadcast or 2) download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer - either live or using a catch up service

Please refer to the College Handbook for more information.

  • Can I have a pet or animal in my room?

No. Animals and pets are not permitted on College premises under any circumstances.

  • Can I bring my car with me?

Durham University strongly discourages the unnecessary use of cars and other motor vehicles. This is not only due to environmental considerations, but also due to the lack of parking provision on the University estate. Durham is a small city and the majority of locations can be accessed on foot or by bicycle.

Students wishing to bring their car to Durham should familiarise themselves with the University's car parking regulations and permit application restrictions, which can be read here.

Students are not entitled to apply for a permit to park on University premises unless they:

  • Have an exceptional medical need and are in possession of a blue badge
  • Live in University premises and have academic commitments requiring them to travel to locations not easily accessible by public transport (eg: some PGCE students)
  • Have other exceptional circumstances
  • Represent the University in elite sports, in which case they will be eligible to apply for a permit for Maiden Castle / Queen's only
  • Can i smoke in College/room?

 No. Smoking is not permitted in any part of the University or College premises. As such, Ustinov operates a strict no smoking policy within the buildings (this includes e-cigarettes and shisha pipes).

In addition, smoking is not allowed immediately outside any College building and specifically is not allowed in the immediate vicinity (a range of 5 metres) of any entrance door or window.

Staff and students wishing to smoke may smoke only in the designated smoking areas.

Moving to Durham

  • Are their any specific arrangements for international students?

Yes. There is a Meet and Greet Service from Newcastle International Airport. Further information about the Meet and Greet Service can be found here.

The booking form TBC.

  • Is Durham a safe place to live and study?

Yes. Durham is generally a very safe place to live and study. The University has its own Police Liaison Officer who is very keen to help students with any concerns and offer advice about staying safe and secure.

To find out more about what life is like in Durham city and the surrounding area, as told by students, head to the student blog.

  • How far is Ustinov from the University?

Durham University is situated at various locations over the city. The table below summarises walking times to key locations from Ustinov's Sheraton Park and Dryburn Court sites:

 Walking time for Sheraton Park (Approx.) Walking time for Dryburn Court (Approx.)
Bill Bryson Library  20 minutes  40 minutes
Durham Market Place 25 minutes 20 minutes
DUBS 15 minutes 45 minutes
Palatine Centre  20 minutes 35 minutes
DSU/ Elvert Riverside 22 mintues  30 minutes
Dryburn Court 35 minutes N/A
Sheraton Park N/A 35 mintues
Train station 25 minutes 18 minutes
Bus Station 25 minutes 15 minutes

You can find the location of your department on this map of the University estate.

New student induction

  • I haven't yet recieved my online enrolment emails. What should I do?

You can find out everything you need to know about the enrolment process here. If you have yet to receive these emails, please contact our Computing & Information Service team on itservicedesk@durham.ac.uk / +44 (0) 191 334 1515.

  • When and where can I pick up my campus card?

Campus cards collection - To be confirmed. Check back a later date.

  • What is the GCR?

The GCR stands for Graduate Common Room and is the student representative body of Ustinov.

Other colleges take in both undergraduate and postgraduate students and hold two student bodies:

  • a JCR (Junior Common Room) - for undergraduates
  • an MCR (Middle Common Room) - for postgraduates

Ustinov's student body consists of postgraduates only, so we have no need for a JCR. Our GCR is the equivalent of other colleges' MCR.

The GCR Committee is elected by the student members of the college and meets regularly. All students, whether they live in or live out of College, are encouraged to become involved in running and/or participation in student events. As well as representing and providing a voice for Ustinov's student body, the GCR also runs the bar, social events and entertainment, and helps organise sports clubs and societies.

You can read more on the GCR, its aims and current team on its website.

  • What is the DSU? What does it do?

DSU stands for Durham Students' Union. It represents all students at Durham University, within the University government and campaigns on issues relating to students.

All students of Durham University automatically become members of the DSU. The Union is located in Dunelm House, New Elvet and provides a wide range of services to students. These include a bar, a cafeteria (the Riverside Café, open Monday-Friday, 09:00 - 17:00), entertainment, and spaces to hold meetings.

DSU runs over 100 student societies, which give students the opportunity to join with others who share their interests and try new activities. Many activities and interests are represented from the sensible to the downright bizarre. Join a society that aligns with your course, like the Hispanic Society. Try something new, like the Guitar Hero and Rock Band Society or the Aerial Arts Society. Or simply indulge with societies like the Chocolate Society or the Glitter Society (yes, there really is a society just to celebrate everything glittery).

Explore the DSU website here.

Support for students with a disability?

  • How do I contact the support service for students with a disability?

The Disability Support webpages and contact details can be found here.

Ustinov Mentors

  • What is Ustinov's College Mentor programme and how does it work?

The College Mentor programme is one of the best features of College life.

As a new member of Ustinov College you can opt in to have a College mentor, to help you make friends and settle in to postgraduate life at Durham, acting as a source of information and advice.

Many of Ustinov's mentors have worked at the University or lived in the local area for a long time, and look forward to helping you with any questions you may have, or point you in the right direction. Whether you take up their invitations to dinners and trips, or just meet for a coffee and a chat, it is reassuring to know that someone is there for you if you need them.

If you have not already done so, you can choose to have a College Mentor by emailing the Membership Office.

  • Who will my College Mentor be?

If you have requested to have a College Mentor ahead of your course start date for the 2021-2022 academic year, you will be contacted with the name of your allocated Mentor in September 2021.