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Our Unique Collegiate System

Our collegiate system makes Durham exceptional. Here, every student is a proud member of a college, and every college has its own character and traditions. Each is an inspiring and supportive community. Most freshers choose to live in their college because colleges are where Durham’s outstanding student experience begins. 

College life 

Our colleges are full of friends. You will feel at home from the moment you step through the door. Colleges are like extended families: safe, supportive, and inclusive. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed in a large university. But in your college, you’ll be surrounded by friendly faces and you’ll have the chance to get to know all sorts of extraordinary people.  

College experience 

In your college, you can take part in sport, music, theatre or volunteering. You can join clubs and societies, enjoy parties and dinners, and make friends for life.  

Your college will be your home from home, the centre of your life at Durham and a constant source of opportunities, challenges and the making of memories. Every college provides: 

  • A character and spirit all of its own.
  • Sports, clubs, societies and associations.
  • Events and activities.
  • Dedicated student common rooms.
  • Dedicated staff and support close at hand if you need it.
  • Accommodation at the heart of the University, either catering or self-catering, or a combination of both.

Discover new ideas 

A Durham education doesn’t stop with your degree subject. There are opportunities across the University to engage with ideas and learn from others. For example, in your college you might discuss the most pressing global issues with inspiring visiting speakers; you might go along to a dissertation ‘open mic’ night where your fellow students share their research; or you might edit a student scholarly journal.  

The University’s award-winning museums offer spectacular exhibitions, ranging from Ancient Egypt through medieval Durham to modern art; and its departments and research institutes host public lectures on cutting-edge research. 

An inspiring place to live and learn  

In your college you’ll be surrounded by all sorts of different people, studying a wide range of subjects. So, you’ll meet people who share your interests, and others who’ll inspire you to develop new ones. Each college includes students at all stages, from newly arrived undergrads, to graduates and professors. They’re strong, supportive, multi-generational communities.  

A choice of seventeen Colleges

Each college offers the full range of facilities you’d expect to find at a university and more. That means 17 times as many opportunities to develop your team-working, leadership, problem-solving skills, and initiative. And 17 more chances to get involved in sports, societies, music, arts, associations, and committees. 

No two colleges are the same – their architecture and settings are as distinct as their histories and traditions. One thing every college has in common, however, is its commitment to offering support, challenge, participation, teamwork, and leadership opportunities.

Your college will also have its own Student Support Office, acting as a point of contact for any welfare and pastoral support you might need during your time here. All that’s left is to decide which college you prefer. 

Download our undergraduate or postgraduate Colleges Guide.

Find out more about Our College Communities