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Studying in the UK: The essential facts for Canadian students

Durham University

Located in the North East of England three hours by direct train from London, Durham is a World Top 100 University (QS World Rankings 2015) and ranked 5th in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2016, The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016). 

A university with modern values but long traditions, Durham has been forward-looking since its establishment in 1832 and is the third oldest university in England.  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 University offers over 200 undergraduate programs, and over 130 graduate taught and research programs. The university has an international student body, with 21% of its students originating from outside of the UK, and representing over 150 different nationalities.

Durham has a reputation for academic excellence, with many departments ranking within the top 5 in the UK. Some of Durham’s top departments in 2015-16 include English (1st), Archaeology, Italian and Theology (2nd), Classics & Ancient History, Education, Geography, History, Iberian Languages, Middle East and African Studies, Music, Russian and Chemistry (3rd) (The Complete University Guide 2015). Durham has 9 Research Institutes and many more Research Centers focussing on areas of national and international importance.

Durham University graduates are very employable. Durham was ranked in the world top 40 for the employability of its graduates by blue-chip companies world-wide (QS World University Rankings 2015/16).


Durham University is a collegiate university made up of 16 college communities, which form the center of our student’s residential and social life whilst studying at the university.

The expectation is that all first year students will live in college accommodation, and their college will be the place where they socialize and meet students and staff from all levels, disciplines and nationalities. Being part of a college means that Durham students get the benefits of a large, international university whilst living in a smaller, friendly scholarly community. As well as comfortable accommodation and a range of on-site facilities, colleges offer a high level of personal support and a full program of student-led events and extra-curricular activities.

At Durham University there is a huge emphasis on extra-curricular activities with over 200 clubs and societies available to students. 

Durham University is home to a wealth of performing talent, with colleges and student societies presenting a wonderful range of comedy, drama and music, both old and new. Durham Student Theatre group incorporates many different production companies including DULOG, Durham Shakespeare Company, Castle Theatre Company, as well as several companies based at the individual colleges, offering a lively program, showcasing performing talent and developing backstage skills. 

Durham’s musical life is so diverse and comprehensive that it is hard to escape. Ranging from orchestras, bands and choruses, to gospel choirs, gamelan ensembles, African drumming, and chamber choirs, there is something here catering for every musical taste.

Team Durham is the home of Durham Sport. Durham University supports an ever-growing number of high performing athletes and has teams that are amongst the most successful in the country. Performance teams in Basketball, Cricket, Fencing, Hockey, Lacrosse, Netball, Rowing, Rugby Union (Men's), Tennis and Volleyball are all supported by full-time coaching structures. The university’s philosophy at Durham is to provide opportunities in sport to allow exceptional people to do exceptional things. Durham’s College Sport program is larger than any other intra-mural competition offered in Britain and there is an opportunity for male and female students to participate in 15 sports, in over 380 different teams, on a weekly basis. Durham University was also named the Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2015.

If you would like to find out more about studying at Durham University, please contact one of our Across The Pond Advisors.

Student population: 17,505

Number of international students: 3,743

City population: 50,000

Location: Durham City (rural)

Closest airports: Newcastle International Airport

Date of establishment: 1832

Areas of expertise:

  • Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience
  • Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
  • Durham Energy Institute
  • Institute of Computational Cosmology
  • Wolfson Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Durham has 9 Research Institutes and many more Research Centers. Please contact one of the Across The Pond Advisors to find out more.

Cost of Tuition per year: From £18,300 per year (2018/19)

Accommodation cost: from £4,940 per year

Notable alumni:

  • Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Richard Adams, founder of fair trade organization Traidcraft
  • Paul Hawkins, inventor of the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking system
  • Sir Nick Scheele, former President and Chief Operating Officer of Ford Motor Company
  • David Sproxton, co-founder of Aardman Animations who produce Wallace & Gromit
  • Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project
  • James Todd, CFO at Unilever Africa
  • Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer at Netflix
  • Gordon Lord, Head of Elite Coach Development at England & Wales Cricket Board
  • Mark Waller, Chief Marketing Officer at National Football League

Durham Signs Agreement with China’s Palace Museum

Durham University has entered into an agreement with the Palace Museum in Beijing, which brings together two work-renowned research centres. This is the very first agreement between the Museum and an English University.  The partnership was developed based upon research undertaken between Durham’s famous Department of Archaeology and the Museum. This research focused upon early Chinese porcelain found in Europe.

Durham Rises in the World Rankings

Durham University has risen to 61st overall in the prestigious QS league table for university rankings, and the number of subjects ranked in the top 50 has double from three to seven. Included in these phenomenal results are Geography (3rd) and Archaeology (5th), with Anthropology, Earth Sciences, English, History and Law all also finding their way into the top 50.

Join us for Destination Britain, Canada's Biggest UK Only Student Fair!

Join the Across The Pond Canada team from 9:30am to 4pm on Saturday 27 February 2016 at the Delta Downtown in Toronto (75 Lower Simcoe  St.).

At this event you can discover exciting universities in England, Scotland and Wales, and learn more about the various study opportunities available; meet with representatives from a number of our university partners and discuss your requirements with our team of expert student advisors; and arrange a one-to-one advising session or attend one of our information workshops.

Krystal Osborn

Making friends and getting settled was easy at Durham, everyone was friendly and helpful and the city center I live near has all the amenities I need.

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Noah Schwartz

Durham University has been incredible so far. With a 1,000 year old Castle and Cathedral as part of the University, you really can't lose.

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Partner Testimonial: Durham University

Introduction to Durham University

Durham University's Collegiate System

Durham University has been incredible so far. With a 1,000 year old Castle and Cathedral as part of the University, you really can't lose. ...

Noah Schwartz