- Durham University
Durham University is distinctive – a residential collegiate university with long traditions and modern values. We seek the highest distinction in research and scholarship and are committed to excellence in all aspects of education and transmission of knowledge. Our research and scholarship affect every continent. We are proud to be an international scholarly community which reflects the ambitions of cultures from around the world. We promote individual participation, providing a rounded education in which students, staff and alumni gain both the academic and the personal skills required to flourish.
Durham University (legally the University of Durham) is a collegiate public research university in Durham, North East England, with a second campus in nearby Stockton-on-Tees. It was founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832 and granted a Royal Charter in 1837. It was one of the first universities to commence tuition in England for more than 600 years and claims to be the third oldest university in England (which would make it the seventh or eighth oldest in the UK), although this is disputed. The Durham University estate includes 63 listed buildings, ranging from the 11th-century Durham Castle to a 1930s Art Deco Chapel. The university also owns and manages the Durham World Heritage Site in partnership with Durham Cathedral. The university’s ownership of the World Heritage Site includes Durham Castle, Palace Green, and the surrounding buildings including the historic Cosin’s Library.
The chancellor of the University is Sir Thomas Allen, who succeeded Bill Bryson in January 2012. As a collegiate university, its main functions are divided between the academic departments of the university and 16 colleges. In general, the departments perform research and provide lectures to students, while the colleges are responsible for the domestic arrangements and welfare of undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and some university staff. The university is a member of theRussell Group of leading UK universities after previously being a member of the 1994 Group. Durham is also affiliated with several university groups including the N8 Research Partnership and the Matariki Network of Universities.
The university is currently ranked 5th to 6th by recent national league tables of the British universities and in the top 100 in two of the three major global tables (see below). In terms of average UCAS points of new entrants in 2014, Durham ranked 4th with the average entrant amassing 524 UCAS points. “Long established as the leading alternative to Oxford and Cambridge“, the university attracts “a largely middle class student body” according to The Times’s Good University Guide. In 2014, Durham had the fifth highest proportion of privately educated students at 36.6%. In 2013, Durham was judged to have the best quality of student life in the country in the inaugural Lloyds Bank rankings and has never (in 2015) been out of the top three, coming in third in 2014 and second in 2015. The university was Sunday Times University of the Year for 2005, also making the shortlist for the 2004 and 2016 awards, and the Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year for 2015.
Current and emeritus academics include 14 Fellows of the Royal Society, 17 Fellows of the British Academy, 14 Fellows of theAcademy of Social Sciences, 5 Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2 Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts and 2 Fellows of theAcademy of Medical Sciences. Durham graduates have long used the Latin post-nominal letters Dunelm after their degree, fromDunelmensis (of, belonging to, or from Durham)
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
- Applied Social Sciences, School of
- Community and Youth Work
- Social Work
- Biological & Biomedical Sciences
- Business School
- Classics and Ancient History
- Earth Sciences
- Engineering and Computing Sciences, School of
- English Language Centre
- English Studies
- Foundation Centre
- Government & International Affairs
- Law School
- Mathematical Sciences
- Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, School of
- Modern Languages & Cultures, School of
- Theology & Religion
After the Dark Ages in Europe, the 7th Century saw a flowering of thought and culture in the North East of England. Bede – poet, scientist, historian and the greatest European scholar of the 7th century – is buried in Durham, as is St Cuthbert, who established ‘English’ Christianity from its Celtic and Roman roots. The Lindisfarne Gospels, ‘one of the great landmarks of human cultural achievement’, were produced nearby and resided in Durham with the body of St Cuthbert until the 16th century when they were removed to London – our ‘Gospel Book’ is returning to Durham in 2013. The ‘Cuthbert Community’ became one of the richest in Europe, with lands extending from the Tyne to the Tees and beyond. This scholarly, monastic community was a precursor of the modern University tradition which spread across Europe and around the world. Durham’s 11th century Norman Cathedral was built between 1096 and 1130 and is one of the world’s truly great buildings. Durham Castle, now part of the University, dates from 1072 and was the seat of the all-powerful Prince-Bishops who wielded secular and religious power over much of the North of England, with their own armies, system of taxation and coinage – until the end of the Prince-Bishopric in 1832 Durham was effectively a state within a state.
Durham became one of England’s leading centres of medieval scholarship, along with Oxford and Cambridge. Indeed, three Colleges – now part of Oxford University – were founded from Durham (University College and Balliol College, and in 1286 Durham College was run from Durham to train scholars for Durham for 300 years until it became incorporated into the University of Oxford as Trinity College). Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell’s attempts to formally establish a University for the North in Durham were subsumed by politics and North-South rivalries, and it was not until 1832, as the Prince-Bishopric declined lost his powers, was Durham finally endowed with the Castle and lands and granted degree awarding powers by the king as England’s third University. Durham University is the inheritor of a continuous line of learning and scholarship dating from Bede and Cuthbert to the present day.
Durham has always been a modern, forward-looking University. With a medieval World Heritage Site at our heart, our new buildings continue the tradition of important and innovative architecture. Durham was one of the first universities to admit women on an equal footing to men (1890), to establish medical training (1834) and the first to award Civil and Mining Engineering degrees to meet regional and national needs during the industrial revolution (1838). Durham led in the development of science and established one of the earliest observatories in England. Durham University was based in two cities for over 100 years, its medical school at King’s College and other Colleges in Newcastle becoming the new and independent University of Newcastle in 1963. Durham was also the first University to establish overseas campuses a century before the concept was reinvented: in Barbados in 1875 and Sierra Leone in 1876. In 1992 the University established a significant presence at our Queen’s Campus in the heart of Tees Valley, reinitiating medical teaching and breaking disciplinary boundaries to enhance public health and social well being.
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