Founded in 1832, the University is the third oldest in England. Durham is a collegiate institution, with 17 Colleges which provide a social, domestic and pastoral focus for students, as well as University accommodation, if eligible. Ustinov College performs this role exclusively for postgraduate students. The University has long since grown beyond the historic centre of Durham to include a modern science site, student accommodation, libraries, and sports and social facilities. The University buildings are spread across the city on several sites within easy walking distance of each other. Teaching and Research are organised by the Academic Departments which are quite separate from the Colleges.

The University has a total student population of about 20,000, nearly a quarter of those on postgraduate courses. The work of the University covers traditional areas of study/education, including key branches of science and technology. Durham graduates are in great demand among employers and the University helps to attract investment into the region.

It provides training, short courses and expertise for industry, and through its cultural events, conferences and tourist business and as a major employer, the University contributes in a wide social and economic sense to the local community.


Durham University currently operates a term system which includes three terms per academic year. Modules (courses) are structured to run for the entire year (i.e. each module runs from October – June). Students going to Durham on exchange must go for the full year.

Durham 2024-25 Fact Sheet