Student outside in Durham

About Durham University

Succeed at Durham

When you complete your course at the International Study Centre and progress to your degree, you will be studying at a world top 100 university with a global reputation for teaching and research. Lecturers are world-leaders in their fields and students benefit from cutting-edge facilities.

Durham is one of the UK’s most historic universities, and its unique collegiate system creates a strong sense of belonging. The University provides outstanding opportunities that help to enrich student life and create some of the world’s most sought-after graduates.

Study at a top-ranking university

Durham University is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of universities. It consistently ranks as one of the top 100 universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings:

  • A world top 100 university – 78th in QS World University Rankings 2024
  • Ranked 7th in the UK – The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024
  • Ranked 6th in the UK - Guardian Good University Guide 2024
  • Ranked 6th in the UK - Complete University Guide 2025
  • 3 subjects ranked in the top 10 in the world, 10 subjects ranked in the world top 50 and 19 subjects ranked in the top 100 – QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024
  • 15 subjects ranked in the top ten, with 10 ranked in the top 5 in the UK – The Guardian University Guide 2023

Good graduate prospects

Students at Durham have excellent graduate prospects. 88% of international graduates were in employment and/or further study 15 months after graduating in 2019 (Graduate Outcomes).

Career support starts at the International Study Centre with CareerAhead and continues throughout your degree at the University.

Research-led education 

At Durham University, you will join a community of world-leading academics who deliver cutting-edge research and curriculum. Findings from the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021) gave 90% of research at Durham an assessment of either 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading'. 

You will learn about the very latest developments in your subject area and will be taught by inspiring teachers who are passionate about learning. Many subjects include research projects, real-life learning and exposure to new research papers. 

World-class facilities 

At Queen’s Campus and Durham City you will have access to facilities that include state-of-the-art lecture theatres, IT rooms and laboratories. The University Library in Durham City has an Archives and Special Collections section that attracts scholars from all over the world. 

When you complete your course and progress to your degree, you will be studying at a world top 100 university with a global reputation for teaching and research. Lecturers are world-leaders their fields, and students benefit from cutting-edge facilities.

Outside of the classroom, you can benefit from a huge range of sporting opportunities. The University was recently named Sports University of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023. You can access these facilities from when you join the International Study Centre, as well as at the University. With the opportunity to join college teams or compete at a university level, sports make up a huge part of student life at Durham.

Wide range of degree subjects

Once you complete your pathway programme, you can choose from a range of degree subjects at Durham University. From anthropology to psychology, the University offers degrees to suit every interest and career aspiration, with expert teaching informed by the latest research. Explore your degree subject options here.

Prestigious collegiate system

Durham University is one of the traditional collegiate universities in the UK.

Colleges are a place to live, to socialise and to study. When you progress to your degree at the University, you will join one of Durham’s 17 colleges. Being part of this historic collegiate system creates a strong sense of belonging and is one of the best aspects of student life. 

Durham University colleges are communities of staff and students and are at the heart of life at Durham. University colleges also offer comfortable accommodation and a range of on-site facilities. They also have their own sports teams, student-led activities and traditions. Your college gives you the opportunity to discover new interests and gain skills for life.

Most students live in college accommodation during the first year of their undergraduate degree. There is a supportive, family-style atmosphere at every college that will make you feel at home. 

Postgraduate students often choose to live outside of their college. If you choose to arrange your own private accommodation, you will still have access to all social activities and facilities at your college.

Each college has a distinct character, but the facilities and societies are similar. You will find a range of facilities for studying, relaxing, socialising, sports, music and events. Facilities may include: 

  • Study areas 
  • Games room – pool tables and dart boards 
  • Library 
  • Gym 
  • Coffee shop or bar 
  • Barbecue areas and gardens 
  • Laundry 
  • Furnished accommodation 
  • Catered dining hall.  

Getting involved in university life outside your studies helps you develop new skills useful for your future career. To improve your leadership and negotiating skills, you could join the college executive committee to represent student views and plan college events. 

You will have access to a mentoring system in you college to support your personal development and wellbeing. Members of staff and the local community are available to offer advice and support outside your studies.

There are 17 colleges for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, with one dedicated postgraduate college, Ustinov College.

You will apply to your preferred college while you are at the International Study Centre (in January and February). Please note that this is a preference, and is not a guarantee.

The University allocates colleges by the end of April for undergraduate students and end of June for postgraduate students.

Upon successful progression, new students are formally welcomed to Durham University and their college with a ceremony held at Durham Cathedral. This event is known as matriculation.

As a student at the International Study Centre you will have the chance to visit some of the colleges and we will help you make your college preference while you are studying with us. 

Each college offers a similar experience, but the atmosphere is defined by architecture, history, location and community. 

The oldest college was formed in 1832 and the newest was formed in 2006. More traditional colleges have formal dinners and often wear robes, other colleges are focused on competitive sports or creative activities. One college even has accommodation in part of Durham Castle. 

Whichever college you join, you can be sure of a friendly and supportive place to live and socialise with new friends. Explore the colleges.

Sports University of the Year

(The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023)

Abdulmalik from Saudi Arabia

A degree from Durham University will help me by providing me with the proper educational support and background to thrive and succeed, and work with the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, where I aspire to work and achieve certain positions.

Abdulmalik from Saudi Arabia
Studied International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering
Now studying BSc (Hons) Geology


Our student enrolment advisors are here to help with your application and answer any questions you have about studying with us.