Durham is a collegiate university, with its main functions divided between the central departments of the University and 16 colleges. In general, the departments perform research and provide centralised lectures to students, while the colleges are responsible for the domestic arrangements and welfare of undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral researches and some University staff. Colleges decide which students they are to admit, and appoint their own fellows (senior members). In Durham, "the university" often refers to the University as opposed to the colleges.
The Chancellor of the University is Bill Bryson, appointed by the University's Convocation on 4 April 2005. The University was named Sunday Times University of the Year in 2005, having previously been shortlisted for the award in 2004.
The post-nominal letters of graduates have "Dunelm" attached to indicate the university.
to fund a new university, that the University actually came into being. Accommodation was provided in the Archdeacon's Inn from 1833 to 1837 when an order of the Queen-in-Council was issued granting the use of Durham Castle (previously the Bishop's palace) as a college of the university. The Act received Royal Assent and became law on 4 July 1832. The University's Royal Charter was granted on 1 June 1837 by William IV, with the first students graduating a week later.
In 1842 the Durham Union Society was set up as a forum for debates, the first of which took place in the reading rooms in Hatfield Hall. It also served as the students' union (hence the name) until Durham Colleges Students' Representative Council was founded in 1899 (it was later renamed Durham Students' Union in 1963).
For most of the 19th century, University of Durham degrees were subject to a religion test and could only be taken by members of the established church. This situation lasted until the University Test Act of 1871. However, "dissenters" were able to attend Durham and then receive degrees of the University of London, which were not subject to any religious test, on completing their course.
Following the grant of a supplemental charter in 1895 allowing women to receive degrees of the University, the Women's Hostel (St Mary's College from 1919) was founded in 1899.
After the Second World War, the Durham division expanded rapidly. St Aidan's Society (St Aidan's College from 1965) was founded in 1947 to cater for non-resident women and the decision was made to expand onto Elvet Hill, vastly expanding the existing pure science provision in Durham, and adding applied science and engineering.
In 1947 the foundation stones for the new St Mary's College building on Elvet Hill were laid by Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II). The new building opened in 1952, and is said to be the last government funded university building to have been built in stone. In the same year, tensions surfaced again over the Durham-Newcastle divide, with a proposal to change the name of the University to the University of Durham and Newcastle. This motion was defeated in Convocation (the assembly of members of the University) by 135 votes to 129. Eleven years later, with the Universities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne Act, King's College became the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, leaving Durham based solely in its home city.
By this time, the Elvet Hill site was well established, with the first of the new colleges, Grey College (named after the second Earl Grey, who was the Prime Minister when the University was founded) being founded in 1959. Expansion up Elvet Hill continued, with Van Mildert College and the Durham Business School (1965), Trevelyan College (1966) and Collingwood College (1972) all being added to the University, along with a botanic garden (1970).
These were not the only developments in the University, however. The Graduate Society, catering for postgraduate students, was founded in 1965 (renamed Ustinov College in 2003) and the Roman Catholic seminary of Ushaw College, which had been in Durham since 1808, was licensed as a hall of residence in 1968. By 1990 the last male-only college became mixed, leaving St Mary's as the last single-sex college. In 2005, St. Mary's College had its first mixed undergraduate intake. In October 2006, Josephine Butler College, a long-standing development, opened its doors to students as Durham's newest college; the only purpose-built self catering college for students within Durham.
This was initially intended to grant joint degrees validated by both institutions (BAs and BScs). However, Teesside, which had only become a university in 1992, had difficulties in taking on its responsibilities for the college and Durham took full control of the new college in 1994.
A programme of integration with Durham began, leading to the college becoming University College, Stockton (UCS) in 1996 — a college of the University of Durham and the only college with teaching responsibilities.
Further integration lead to the campus being renamed the University of Durham, Stockton Campus (UDSC) in 1998, removing teaching responsibilities from the College. In 2001, two new colleges, John Snow and George Stephenson (after the physician and the engineer) were established at Stockton, replacing UCS, and the new medical school (which operates in association with the University of Newcastle upon Tyne) took in its first students — the first medics to join Durham since 1963. In 2002, her golden jubilee year, the Queen granted the title "Queen's Campus" to the Stockton site.
As of 2005 Queen's Campus, Stockton accounts for around 18% of the total university student population. This is likely to increase in coming years thanks to future expansion plans.
A curious fact about Queen's Campus, Stockton, is that it is located on the south bank of the River Tees within Thornaby-on-Tees. For centuries the Tees formed the historical division between the historic counties of Yorkshire and Durham, with Thornaby-On-Tees being one of the most northern towns in Yorkshire. With the creation of the county borough of Teesside in 1968 areas both north and south of the river were removed from their administrative counties. Teesside itself was engulfed into the County of Cleveland in 1974. Yet another local government change in 1996 saw the breakup of the county of Cleveland into the current four unitary authorities of Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland & Stockton-On-Tees. With this latest reorganisation Thornaby-On-Tees became part of the borough of Stockton-On-Tees, however the town of Stockton-On-Tees itself is located on the north ("County Durham") side of the river. The upshot of all this is that a significant proportion of Durham University is actually located within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, rather than County Durham. Adding to the confusion, plans exist to expand the campus onto the north bank of the River Tees, splitting the campus between the two ceremonial counties.
Students at the University are also expected to "Keep Term", whereby students must fulfil their academic requirements at the University. As such Heads of Departments must be satisfied that each student has attended all necessary tutorials, seminars and practical work throughout the term and vacation period.
The University is part of the 1994 Group and the N8 Group of Universities. Durham was ranked eighteenth for quality of research out of 124 of the institutions which took part in the UK Funding Councils' 2001 Research Assessment Exercise in the Guardian's unofficial ranking. Nearly 87% of the University's academic staff are located in departments with top research ratings of 5 or 5*, with Durham's research averaging a 5 rating — "international excellence in more than half of the research activity submitted and attainable levels of national excellence in the remainder". In terms of individual academic departments, the Department of Geography is considered one of the best in the United Kingdom and a world leader in many research areas, gaining a 5* rating. Other subjects that gained a 5* rating in the RAE were Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English, History, and Law.
In 2005 the Times Higher Education Supplement's citation rankings placed Durham as the number 1 university in the UK for its impact of scientific research.
See also: League tables of British universities
|Times Good University Guide||8th||9th||10th||8th||10th||13th|
|Guardian University Guide||16th||17th||26th||24th||29th|
|Sunday Times University Guide||8th||11th||11th||8th||9th||13th|
|THES - QS World University Rankings||122th||109th||132nd||83th||128th||N/A|
|Academic Ranking of World Universities||152-200th||151-202th||151-200th||203-300th||202-301th||152-200th|
In other assessments and league tables Durham has been ranked the following:
Durham University is also one of the few to have won University Challenge more than once. Teams from Durham won University Challenge in both 1977 and 2000.
The Durham University Centre of Cricketing Excellence is one of only six (the others being Oxford, Cambridge, Loughborough, Cardiff & Bradford/Leeds) to play first-class matches. Durham was ranked 6th across all sports by the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) in 2006/7. It is also the current BUSA rowing champion, keeping the title won in 2004. Since 1975 the university has played host to the Durham Drama Festival. Durham University Light Opera Group produce four musicals per year and showcase the talents of Durhams finest theatre performers, the highlight being at the Gala Theatre in the second term. Music is also a high-ranking activity in Durham, particularly marked by the Durham University Chamber Choir and Orchestral Societies. Durham University is one of three universities to compete in the Doxbridge Tournament, a sporting competition between Durham University, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. In the 2007 tournament, Durham won over half the trophies available at Doxbridge, with John Snow College (Queens Campus) largely dominating the tournament, winning the women's football, badminton and men's rugby and coming runner up in the mixed hockey, men's football and women's hockey. Other notable results from Durham were St. Cuthbert's Society winning the netball and George Stephenson college (Queens Campus) coming runners up in the badminton.
The presence of Durham Cathedral is felt strongly within the University and city. It provides opportunities both for worship and for music-making, the Cathedral Choir offering seven scholarships to students of the University. Several of the colleges (University College, Hatfield, St Chad's, St John's and Hild-Bede) also offer organ and choral scholarships to prospective students.
In 2005 the University unveiled a re-branded logotype and renamed itself as "Durham University". The news was poorly received among many academic and student members of the university, with Van Mildert JCR going as far as boycotting the new name and logo. However, the official name of the institution remains the University of Durham and the official coat of arms is unchanged.
In the last half of the 20th century, the number of students at the university has grown considerably, and continues to grow with the addition of Queen's Campus, Stockton. The more recent rises are in line with government policy of increasing access to higher education.
In 1989 the University started its fund-raising and alumni office, with a virtual community for alumni and several large gifts made to the University, including for the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, the department of Physics and the Wolfson Research Institute.
Student views and opinions are well represented by Durham21, an independent student website which has won the NUS Website of the Year Award in five of the last six years and is also the current holder. In print, student views are represented by fortnightly newspaper Palatinate.
The University's Strategic Plan through to 2010 is at the University's web site.
Durham operates a collegiate structure like the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, in that all the colleges at Durham are "listed bodies under the Education Reform Act, 1988, "recognised by the UK authorities as being able to offer courses leading to a degree of a recognised body" (the "recognised body" being, in this case, the federal University). Though most of the Durham colleges are governed and owned directly by the University itself, and so do not enjoy the independence of colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, the status of the Durham colleges is similar to those in Oxford and Cambridge and the constituent institutions of the University of Wales, setting Durham colleges apart from those at the universities of Kent, Lancaster, and York. However, unlike at Oxford, Cambridge, Wales, and London, there is no formal teaching at most Durham colleges (although St John's, St Chad's and Ushaw College have their own academic and research staff and offer college-based programmes in conjunction with the University). The colleges dominate the residential, social, sporting, and pastoral functions within the university, and there is heavy student involvement in their operation.
Formal dinners (known as "formals") are held at many colleges; gowns are often worn to these events. There is a great deal of intercollegiate rivalry, particularly in rowing and other sporting activities. There is also rivalry between the older colleges of the Bailey and the newer colleges of the Hill.
||St Aidan's||1947||806||28||Durham (Hill)|
||St Chad's||1904||321||63||Durham (Bailey)|
||St Cuthbert's Society||1888||1144||67||Durham (Bailey)|
||St Hild & St Bede||1975||1123||111||Durham|
||St John's||1909||392||55||Durham (Bailey)|
||Josephine Butler||2006||~400||30||Durham (Hill)|
||St. Mary's||1899||641||35||Durham (Hill)|
||Van Mildert||1965||1037||39||Durham (Hill)|
Student complaints and appeals were heard by the Visitor until the Higher Education Act 2004 came into force. All student complaints are now heard by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
The Chancellor is the nominal head of the University. He or she is nominated by the Council and Senate and appointed by Convocation. The current Chancellor is the author Bill Bryson.
Until 1909, the University was nominally governed by the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral. Following the University of Durham Act, 1908, the University has, like most other British universities, been headed by a Chancellor.
From 1908 to 1937, the Warden of the Durham Colleges was appointed for a period of two years, and the post of Vice-Chancellor alternated between Durham and Newcastle. From 1937, though a permanent Warden was appointed, the post of Vice-Chancellor continued to alternate until the establishment in 1963 of the independent University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Notable alumni of the University include Princess Anne's husband Vice-Admiral Tim Laurence, the son-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II and Rear-Admiral of the Royal Navy, James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore and General Sir Richard Dannatt.
Other high profile former students include Newsnight presenter Jeremy Vine, as well as BBC newsreaders Matthew Amroliwala, Kate Silverton, George Alagiah, and Tim Willcox. Writers Minette Walters, Sir Harold Evans, Hunter Davies and Edward Bradley also attended Durham University.
Durham graduates famous in the sporting arena include former England rugby captain Will Carling, Phil de Glanville, Will Greenwood, Olympic gold medal-winning triple jumper Jonathan Edwards, former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain and Andrew Strauss.