I began studying at Durham University in 2009 on the Foundation year (a pre-degree year taken by mature and international students), taught at Queens Campus.
My experience on the foundation year could not have been better- the campus is modern and a very pleasant place to spend time, the tutors and lecturers were really amazing (most of them were mature students themselves in the past), the teaching was effective and well thought out, the other staff and students were friendly, I even got Christmas cards from the cleaners and caretakers. Very lovely, personal learning and living experience. Stockton leaves a little to be desired for most, but it's only £3 for a taxi to Middlesbrough, the seaside is just a train ride away, and if you wanted to visit Durham there is a free bus for students. Queens Campus is set along a very peaceful riverside and has loads of green grass and benches to sit and do work or just have a chat or appreciate the peace (hard to even find a bench to sit on in Durham).
However, that all changed when I went onto my degree at the Durham Campus. Durham University has a collegiate system, sort of like Oxford and Cambridge, except you are not taught in your colleges (nor really have to have much to do with them). The colleges are meant to be there for helping students out, though I felt like the collegiate system just confused students when serious help was actually needed (although they're right on your back if you step a toe out of line, which is very patronising). The college system seems to breed nastiness, for example one college set up petitions against allowing students who gained their A-levels from comprehensive school to allowed to go to Durham.
In my first year I was unlucky enough to fall ill with stress in my second term of study. I contacted my academic department, who passed me around a few other departments, who passed me to my college, who referred me back to my department. No one seemed to know what to do. Eventually I hassled the college enough that they agreed to help me out - 'take 6 weeks off' they said 'don't worry about the work' [i]and don't ask us about anything else[/i]!
So I took my grace period, and consistently asked them about what would happen about my missed work? What about exams? Would I get a concession, or any help? 'Lets just see what happens' they told me.
I waited, and upon returning I was bombarded with imminent deadlines for missed assignments (why they didn't assign me them with long extensions when I was signed off I don't know) and was told I would have to catch up for the exams and just hope I passed. Great.
I studied BSc Natural Sciences at Durham, which is a course like a combined degree only half has to be from the Sciences. Naturally, I studied a wide range of subjects from different departments in my time there. In my first year: Earth Science, Biology, and Archaeology. Second year: Biology and Education.
However, with exception to Archaeology (I can't fault the department, they were very enthusiastic and really quite good overall), all of the departments had major faults.
Biology was taught by lecturers (bar one, who was amazing) who blatantly felt they were far too important to be teaching. One even would stress that we should never bother contacting him if we had problems with the course material as he 'had far better things to do than sit answering silly phone calls and emails all day'.
Earth Science - meant to be one of the best departments in the country - obviously this has gone to their head and they have stopped bothering to try. All attempted contact with teaching staff was through two awful sneering cows on reception, really awful women and terrible at their job. Once the lecturer lost all of the summative assignments and they tried to cover it up by sending nasty letters to us all accusing 'non-submission'.
Durham as a town - ok for a one off visit (castle, cathedral, palace green, botanical gardens). Otherwise it is covered in vomit, surrounded by poverty with only the very rich living in the center, lots of nice dog poo to stand in, litter everywhere, big posh loud morons everywhere. Overall a really sociologically weird environment with very bold social class difference in your face everyday. The town is suffocated by the university and is far too overpopulated for its size.
Overall my studying at Durham University has had it's ups and downs, I would highly recommend the Foundation year at Queens Campus for anyone looking for entry into Higher Education. However, I sadly cannot recommend studying at Durham City due to the claustrophobic atmosphere, the social weirdness, the pompous staff, and the lack of support from the collegiate system.
Bear in mind that around 70% of Durham undergraduates are from private school, Queens Campus is where they make up their numbers for 'widening participation' i.e. where they let in (hide!) the mature students, international students, people from 'normal' schools, but at the end of the day that's what makes it 100% better than the Durham City Campus!
Durham University is a truely excellent place to study. Many buildings have stunning views of the cathedral, and the castle is a college where students can live. The library is stocked with a massive range of books, and whilst doesn't have 24 hour opening, the students union is campaigning for longer opening hours. Teaching is at a very high quality, and whilst the arts subjects have few hours of contact time, those hours are often in tutorials with very few students and are a great opportunity to talk to lecturers directly. Arts students can gain inspiration from walking along the bailey by the cathedral and castle, where many of the departments are located. Science students have the latest technology on their hands on the constantly updated science site.
Durham has a collegiate system, which is important to consider when applying. Small colleges such as Chads and Johns have a more intimate feel, where everyone knows each other. Larger colleges like Collingwood and Hild Bede have a wide variety of activities on offer. Durham University has the largest number of clubs and societies of any university in the country, and student participation in these clubs is strongly encouraged. Team Durham achieve sporting success on a high level, and offer bursaries to talented sportpeople.
There is also a generous bursary system in place for students from the lower income bracket.
Overall, Durham is a great place to come for those wanting to study and get involved in a more traditional style of university life. Those in search of massive clubs and underground raves might be best searching elsewhere.
The University of Durham is an educational institution founded on excellence, and anyone who studies there will get excellence. Durham is the best university behind Oxford and Cambridge, and whilst having a high academic reputation, students know how to work hard and play hard. Teaching is good for all courses and represents fantastic value for money. Students live in Colleges making Durham practically unique amongst universities in the country, colleges are places where the students live and form a vibrant community where peace and friendship are fostered. Durham is a beautiful place to study any subject, the cathedral can be viewed from many departments, some lectures are held in the square opposite the cathedral, some students live in a castle (the oldest university building in the world) and each college possesses facilities for learning and recreation. All colleges (except one) are fully catered for, leaving students plenty of time for doing work.
I have recently graduated from Durham University, and I was extremely dissapointed by the "Oxbridge of the North". The tutorial system that it is so proud of is virtually non-existent. The one time I needed something from my college tutor, he failed to reply to my email for 2 weeks, and when I went to visit him in his office, his excuse was "I'm a bit of a lazy bastard"! After the first year, I saw my subject tutors a couple of times a term, but was never able to build up a personal relationship with them.
I studied Physics, which Durham is supposedly the top in the country for. However, I found the teaching mostly appalling. It seemed to me that none of the lecturers wanted to be teaching, and that they were only doing it so that they could do their research. And bizarrely, the quality of teaching seemed to get worse each year!
In my first year, I lived in University College, supposedly one of the best colleges, but rather than living with other first years, I was one of the few who got stuck out with third years in a concrete block. Because of this, I found it hard to get involved with college life, and lived out in my second and third years, losing touch with the college completely.
Apart from the university, Durham is a nice, quiet place. The nightlife isn't great, but there are some good college bars, the beer is cheap, and you can get to Newcastle pretty easily.
Looking back on the three years I spent at Durham, I wonder what my fees went on. I hardly learned any Physics, and indeed my interest in Physics has been all but destroyed by the department at Durham. I don't have a tutor who knows enough about me to give me a remotely good reference. I have no affection for my college. It seems to me that I was simply paying an extortionate amount to use the university library.
I must admit, I very much enjoyed myself socially in my last year, and in my second year to some extent, but the majority of my memories of my time at Durham are negative.
If you don't want a particularly lively nightlife, and are determined to apply to Durham, I highly recommend investigating the colleges thoroughly to find which one suits you best, making sure you get accommodation with other first-years, complaining if your college tutor seems rubbish, and not applying to study science.
Durham University is one of the most famous universities in the country, with many courses among the best in the country e.g. physics. Graduation happens in the cathedral, one of the best loved buildings in Britain, where Harry Potter was filmed! The new chancellor as of this year is author Bill Bryson. The great thing about Durham, as well as the excellent teaching and facilities within the departments, is the collegiate system.
The colleges provide a good basis for meeting people and for getting involved in many activities; drama, music, art, rowing, tennis, badminton, squash, football, rugby, hockey, skiing among others. There is so much to get involved in and this is just at college level, there are also numerous societies at University level. The colleges also provide a source of friendly rivalry.
Which college is best? Well, each college would claim to be and this is where the rivalry comes from, of course your college is the best and is going to win all the sports matches. The difference in the colleges is size and location. When applying you need to think about whether you want a small college or a large college, or a modern college or an old college. The hill colleges; Grey, Collingwood, Van Mildert, Aidans, Trevelyan, Marys, are more modern and have buildings that were purpose built in the twentieth century. They have more green land around them, some with ponds, and better car parking, although students are rarely allowed cars. The Bailey colleges; St. Chads, St. Cuthburts, Hatfield, University College, St. Johns, are near to the centre of town and in old buildings. As a consequence the rooms are of different sizes and there are more shared rooms. There are also a lot less parking places, however the facilities such as tennis courts and TV rooms are the same. The other colleges in Durham and Hild Bede which is the largest college and is separate to the other colleges in location and the new college being built which is to be self catered. Differences in size and facilities can be seen in the University prospectus. Another good source of information are the college JCR websites linked to on www.dur.ac.uk.
As a prospective student I visited Durham University a couple of weeks ago and stayed overnight at the college I hope to attend. I feel in love with the place and really hope to get the grades to go there. The thing I like about the university over all the others I have looked at is the college lay out, Durham University consists of 12 different colleges, and so you have a place to return to and an identity within the university. And of course every college has its own bar, and all sorts of clubs, ranging from rowing to ballet and chess, and if there isn’t a group for what you want to do all you need to do is get 5 friends and they give you the funding to start one. This means there is something for everyone and regardless of standard you can always join in. I hope to join Hild Bede the biggest of the colleges, but they all have everything so the college is basically unimportant, Hild Bede is set in 10 acres of beautiful land and has tennis/squash courts, netball/rugby/hockey/cricket pitches and everything else you could possibly want. My sister goes to a smaller college Trevs and she loves that equally as much. All colleges have formal meals that everyone gets dressed up for, themed ball and fancy dress parties the usual university dos! Even the food was edible. And the night club is unbelievable, it amused me beyond words, it’s called Klute and it just by the river, plays all sorts of music has three bars and three floors all of which play different music, ranging from cheesy Steps and Kyle and Jason to Dance. The place is beautiful, set around a river, castle and of course the famous cathedral, the city is worth a visit and in fact I went to stay there with school a few years ago, never dreamed I’d live there. The shops are quite good too, or at least they are for university aged students the shops are all aimed at that kind of an age range. Especially good for clothes.
The views are magnificent from the bridge. Accommodation, I can only speak for the two colleges I have visited, but it seems nice, average size rooms, all with nice views, and the basics, wardrobes, sink, desk, table, chairs and a bed. Plus if you can you can get Internet access and access to the university Intranet from your room. In the first year you may have to share but this means you always have someone to return to. Not all colleges make you share and some even have ensuite, there’s something for you to check! Arr yes the courses as I say I haven’t started yet, but I have had a tour of the science site and stayed there for a night, plus as my sis lives there she tells me stuff. I want to read Computer Science G500, and this is the excellent part the course is made up of modules and I can chose which I take from robotics and AI etc. to software engineering and if I enjoy these more than programming I can swap courses in the final year and get whichever degree I want at the time. Also I get to take some none computer modules, like psychology that I enjoy. The facilities are great, lecture theatres look like giant tiered cinemas with massive screens and comfy seats with little tables. Millions of computers and a huge library. So basically I love Durham and it has a brilliant reputation, I’d choose it over Oxford or Cambridge anyway (not that I ever had a chance of getting into Oxbridge) and I feel Durham is simply a more modern and approachable but still successful choice. They also have a nice balance of students, lots do come from private schools but those who don’t are not in the minority and aren’t looked down on. My sister was turned down by Cambridge and now says that was the best thing that has ever happened to her, because she achieved 5 A grades at A level (inc. further maths) and would have had to go to Cambridge had they not rejected her (for whatever reason,
a cynical view may say its because she went to a state school, others may say she isn’t “different” enough but I feel it may be for non achedemic reasons such as her lack of sport, although she does play the violin and piano), and she says she is so much happier at Durham than had she been stuck at Cambridge. They have offered me BBC, although most people on the same course have been asked for AAB so this does show that they make offers to fit people not just offer straight As. Plus when they interviewed me they were nice to me and not too scary! The only disadvantage of the college lay out is some of the colleges require a bit of a walk to where the lectures are being held. The college I applied to is the furthest from the science site and it took us about 20 minutes to walk to it. Pain for 9:00am lectures. I want to go there, but I’ll get on wherever, remember it is the degree that counts. Ok I never actually ended up at Durham (not dur to grades due to a scholarship for Aber) So I also got my sister who does go there to write something... This is definately a university worthy of anyone's first choice on the UCAS form. It is a sad fact that Durham is often seen as a place full of Oxbridge rejects with a bad nightlife- don't you believe it!. While there are lots of rejects about this really doesn't do justice to what Durham has to offer (beautiful setting and Klute). Apart from the excellent departments and IT services which are necessary but not very interesting there is an atmosphere in Durham that you just can't find anywhere else. There's often criticism of Durham's nightlife. I have only this to say KLUTE IS THE GREATEST CLUB IN THE WORLD! Where else can you go upstairs to the strains of Kylie and Jason and leave to the sweet tones of Barry Manilow? There is a sense of fun and unity that can only be achieved by raising your glass with others w
hile singing Chesney Hawke's "The one and only" with a fervour unheard of elsewhere. I rest my case. In terms of accomodation, Durham seems fairly standard. The rooms in the colleges I have visited have been on good size (although you may have to share for a term in some colleges- this is not as bad as it sounds), in my college (Trevs) there are a couple of toilets and either 2 baths or 2 showers between 6 people in most cases but there are also some en suite rooms for 3rd years. Other colleges may have more en suite rooms but it'll say in the prospectus. Like many other universities, students live out of college for their second year. I found that there was loads of support from the accomodation office and college so that it was easy to find a good place to live. There was loads of emphasis on helping us get a good deal and a safe house. College fees are about £2250 or so and rent living out ranges from £35 to £55 ish. Part of Durham's charm is that it's a collegiate University. This makes it idea for anyone who likes to live in a close knit and friendly environment. It also means that there is loads of (mostly) friendly rivallry between colleges which is great for sport and even better for raising money during DUCK week (Durham's version of RAG week). I am not the best person to ask about sport- (I do none!) but there is everything from football and rugby to darts and pool going on at college and university level. If there is a club or society that you find missing it is easy to start one. Obviously, on the academic side Durham is top flight. This is not to say full of academic snobs. The departments have top level staff and although like anywhere some lecturers are better than others there is a good system of feedback from students to staff. I'm beginning to rave now so I will stop. Don't be put off by tales of posh Oxbridge rejects it's not really like that (except perhap
s at Hatfield- only joking!?!??). There is something for everyone here and very few people can resist the sight of the Castle and Cathedral viewed from the riverside walk. Come to Durham.
Durham university is in the top ten universities in britain. I would say that academically perhaps oxford or cambridge would have a better reputation. But this by no means durham is a lesser version of oxbridge. Durham university is year upon year becoming over subscribed. Being a university with an active collegiate system exspansion is becoming an issue. In the next couple of years I would expect that the entrance requirements will be forced to rise considerably. Perhaps this will dispel the myth that academically durham is a lesser uni. For those who are concerned about the public school atmosphere unless you lack self confidence to such an extent that you believe because someone went to a school where they payed fees that you are lesser then them, it really isn't an issue. Its true alot of people are from public and private schools but they are all people albeit with a somewhat different accent. Academically durham really is hard to fault all of the science departments are some of the best in the country physics and geography in particular. Its other departments I am less able to comment on though I am assured that they are some of the best in the country (i'm an engineer). Durham is a beautiful city the cathedral is one of the most attractive buildings in the world according to many a travel guide. So much so the bailey of durham is a world heritage sight putting it up with the Taj Mahal. I love the collegiate atmosphere I go to St Chads the smallest college and the atmosphere is extremely friendly I knew everyone in the first week. We don't take our sport too seriously most of our pool team don't manage to finish a match without seeing at least two cue balls. The bailey colleges are more traditional but far prettier the hill colleges are far better equipped but away from the heart of the city. So finally come to Durham its a wonderful city and an academically brilliant uni.
Durham is a beautiful little city situated in the North East of England, and home to one of the country's most famous "old" universities. Over the years, it has had students such as Mo Mowlem, Nasser Hussain, Jonathon Edwards and Minette Walters pass through it, and has been found to lurk relatively high in league tables, both for academic excellence and a very low dropout rate; it is for these reasons that I have heard it being referred to as the "Oxbridge of the North". I was fortunate to attend Durham for three years (1997 - 2000), and I hope that this op covers my experiences adequately; as always, if I miss anything out, just post a comment and I will try and answer it. However, I will point out now that this category is about the university in general - I will not be covering my course (archaeology), as I have already written about this in previous ops and don't want to repeat myself. If you want this information, then I refer you to that op and/or category. ● The city Durham is a small place, actually about the size of a small market town, but is classed as a city because of the cathedral (recently voted Britain's favourite building), which together with the castle forms a World Heritage Site. The two buildings are situated at the centre of the city on a hill above a bend in the River Wear, an area known as Palace Green. The road that runs along the landward side of the hill is the Old Bailey, and leads to Prebends Bridge in one direction, and the market place and city centre in the other. The centre itself has a string of shops that lead from the market place, and although the selection isn't great, I always found it perfectly adequate, as it had most major high street chains (Woolworths, Body Shop, WH Smith, Waterstones, etc), some excellent cafes and restaurants (I especially liked Emilio's on Old Elvet Bridge) and a cinema (although I hear rumours about it closing down soon).
There is also a bus station and main line train station, so transport is no problem. Out of the centre, the newer colleges are about 15-20 minutes walk south (near Neville's Cross), along the main road that takes you past the union and the university bank branches. North of the centre is Hild Bede and Gilesgate, which is a popular student housing location. The size of the city can actually be a positive advantage, as it is easy to find your way around, virtually everything is within walking distance (if you don't mind walking up hills a lot that is) and it feels safe. Good places to visit outside of Durham are Newcastle (great for shopping and the Museum of Antiquities), Gateshead (Angel of the North, International Athletics Stadium and the Metro Centre) and Hadrian's Wall. ● The location of the university Being an old university, Durham is not based around a single campus as many of the newer ones are. While the science departments (chemistry, geography, geology, physics, computer science, archaeology, biology and maths) are structured in the "science site" together with the main library on South Road, the arts, law, education and other departments are situated around the city, interspersed with retail, residential and college buildings. A second library is based on Palace Green in the city centre which houses law, theology and local studies collections (this is actually the original university library), while the education books are based in a third library close to the relevant department and Hild Bede college. The student union (a rather ugly concrete heap that goes under the name "Dunelm House") is to be found on the edge of city centre, about 10 minutes walk from the science site and just across the river from Palace Green. Don"t be too put off by the outside of it though, as once you are inside, the union bar (Kingsgate) commands stunning views over the river and cathedral. Also t
o be found in this building is the athletics union, a laundry, cafeteria (good food, very cheap!), student travel agency, society notice boards, meeting rooms, shop and the accommodation office. Of course, some of the rooms here are put to far more evil uses during exam time, when you could find yourself taking your finals tantalisingly close to Kingsgate. :-( The other important locations of the university are the offices and health centre, which are to be found very close to one another about five minutes walk away from the union, just opposite Old Elvet Bridge. Hopefully you will rarely need to use either, but it is good to know that they are centrally located and easy to find - the offices are signposted from the bridge, and the health centre is just over the road. If you are intending to be a postgraduate student, then you may also need to know that your admissions office is along this road too. ● The collegiate system One of the more unusual aspects of Durham University is its adherence to the collegiate system, which is similar to the arrangement used by Oxford and Cambridge. Each student in the university is also a member of a college; you are requested to nominate a chosen college on your application form, and you must be accepted by both a college and a department to gain admission to the university. Occasionally, if you are accepted by your department and not your nominated college, then you may be offered a place in a less popular college by the university. Each college is seen a residential and social community, having halls of residence, a bar and common room, clubs and societies, sports teams and facilities such as a laundry, library and shop (some colleges also have their own chapel and boathouse on the river). Colleges are headed by a Principal and Vice-Principal (who will be lecturers in the university), and have elected student representatives to the university, a student bar steward and social secre
taries to organise events and activities for college members. All colleges provide meals as part of your residential charge for the whole term; be warned though, the food is pretty dire across the board and it is worth budgeting to provide extras to supplement this diet! The oldest college in Durham is University College, known to us as simply "castle" - this is because the main body is based at (surprise, surprise) the castle. If you are lucky, students here can get to live in the castle halls of residence (which I have heard can be rather posh), but don't count on this, as castle also owns the worst halls in the university as well! Castle now forms part of the group of older colleges, which are commonly referred to as the Bailey colleges (no prizes for guessing why), together with Chad's, Cuthbert's, John's and Hatfield. The older colleges tend to have more of an Oxbridge air about them and for this reason attract a disproportionate amount of public school types and clotted cream kids (rich and thick) - it is no exaggeration to say that at these colleges they actually use the croquet lawns for croquet (rather than sunbathing on or playing Frisbee which is their proper function). Living in the old colleges also has the disadvantage of being very close to the cathedral bells (which are especially vociferous on Sunday mornings), but are well situated for the city centre and you do get to reside in some wonderful old buildings. Further along South Road are the group of newer colleges, which are purpose built student residences rather then converted old buildings ? what they lack in architectural charm though, it made up by proximity to the science site. The new colleges include Grey, Collingwood (which I went to!), Trevelyan, Van Mildert, Aidan's, Mary's (the women-only college or brothel) and Hild Bede (actually situated on its own by the education department). These are referred to as the hill colleges as th
e road which is a very long (and in places rather steep) hill that stretches from the science site out of the city - it can be very hard work walking up this hill sometimes, which is why we are all grateful for the bus stop outside Collingwood! :-) Living in halls cost around £750 per term - check with your college for exact prices. ● Social life and Sports For most students, social life revolves around their college, but university-wide events are put on by the union from time to time. Each college has a college day (i.e. Collingwood Day, Grey Day, etc) at the end of the summer term, where games, competitions and (inevitably) drinking are arranged as a post-exam release. Outside of the university, there are several good restaurants in the city (Emilio's, La Spagettata, etc) two nightclubs and a small cinema - if you want more than that you will have to go into Newcastle (one stop away by train), which has an excellent reputation for nightlife. Unfortunately, I am not the best person to comment on such matters as I have to admit to not being much of a social animal - sorry! As for sports, there are teams at both college and university level, with rugby and rowing being especially popular, and a well equipped sports centre at Maiden Castle. ● Student Support Services Here I would just like to mention the student services that I have had experience of: Accommodation - A small office with ads for student houses provided. No university managed houses, no accompanied viewing scheme, but some useful literature. Sorry, but I really didn't find them to especially useful. Health centre - I always found the health centre staff to be very helpful, and never had any trouble getting appointments. Open surgeries were provided twice a week, specialist clinics (e.g. contraception) were available, and all the doctors I met were approachable. A counselling service was also available, althou
gh I personally found this to be no use at all. Computers - There are abundant computer rooms with open access provided around the university and in colleges, some of which are open 24 hours. Each student is provided with server spacer to save their work (sorry, cannot remember how much exactly but everyone I know found it to be adequate), and a number of free printer credits per year (varies, depending on whether you are under/postgrad and the year of your programme) but more can be bought from the IT service. Free Internet access and email is also provided, and courses to introduce you to all aspects of computing are run throughout the year. Night Bus - Runs throughout the evening on a route that covers the colleges, union and major student areas of the city. The bus has a "suggested fare" of 50p for any length journey, but if you have no money it will still take you; lone female students will take priority if there is insufficient room for everyone. In addition to this, there are chaplaincy, nightline and childcare services, but I have no direct experience of these. ● Pros and Cons Overall, there are a number of reasons to consider Durham University: - Academic excellence - The beautiful location - You don't want to live in a very large city - You like the idea of the college system - You are an Oxbridge reject (lets face it, there are lots of them in Durham) - The good reputation of your intended dept (most of them do have one) - It is a small place so you can walk everywhere However, some disadvantages that I found were: - It can be quite pretentious; avoid if you hate black-tie dinners, regattas, Pimms and the sight of students driving Mercedes (yes, honestly) - Social events could work out to be expensive - College food was universally awful - Terms are shorter than average, so the workload can be intense Expect to be offered at le
ast BCC for a place, although this does vary and can be as high as AAB for high demand courses. For more information, visit www.dur.ac.uk
I started Collingwood College, University of Durham a year ago. On the first day, I was so scared as I was moving 5 hours away from home and to a completely different part of the country (I come from near Norwich). I wish I hadn't wasted my time getting so het up. Collingwood was great this last year. Everyone was so friendly and there is more of a mix of different people, unlike some of the Bailey colleges like, sorry to bring it up but it's true, Hatfield and Castle. It's laidback and everyone seems to get on in one big community. It's the third largest college (around 950) but makes a big effort to include everyone. You have a fresher parent who writes you a letter to tell you what to bring and what to expect in the first few weeks and you have a personal tutor who invites you round for a meal and who you can contact if you have any problems (academic or personally). Ffreshers Week was cool. We received loads of stuff through the post so we could pay for it beforehand and have plenty of money leftover for ermm.. wine for parties and drinks at the many events. Anyway, we had loads of fun stuff planned like a Bond night, Hawaiian night, numerous bops (discos in the Junior Common Room) and trips to Newcastle clubbing and the Metro Centre shopping!! It was easy to meet people as everyone joined in the events and you also ended up meeting people in those, oh-so-famous, registration queues and first induction classes in your subjects. I met one of my housemates for this year in the session where we went to choose our seminar group for two modules. Also, it's a good college for sticking up for itself. The JCR meeting debates college policy and you can offer your opinion and potentially change college policy. Collingwood policy has changed Union policy on a number of occasions recently. They care about their students. Collingwood's also good for sport, especially football and rowing. There's loads there if
you look for it and it has the best bar in the university run by students voted in at JCR meetings. Oh, yeah, it has a cool pizza shop and shop and new gym. Come here, it's great!!! Completely unbiased opinion
Durham - a beautiful city, a fantastic Cathedral, a very traditional university full of public school snobs...oh no! Durham is very traditional and is collegiate like Oxford and Cambridge and because of this, Durham has the stigma as being the 'back-up' for unsuccessful Oxbridge applicants. This maybe so - I was rejected from Oxford...but lets face, did any of us really want to go there in the first place? Durham may expect a high standard from it's students but it is so much more relaxed than the Oxbridge Universities - Durham students can actually have a life as well as study! I am just about to start 3rd year reading Zoology - I am a member of St. Chad's College and I simply love Durham. Admittedly, there is not an awful lot going on in terms of night clubbing (for that you go to Newcastle Uni) and I do work very hard but it's great. Many people have asked me which is the 'better' Uni, Durham or Newcastle and my answer is always the same - it depends what you want! Social life - such a priority to any prospective student! Well, Durham is hardly the clubbing Metropolis of the UK but it tries. The Union is small but there is 'Planet of Sound' on a Friday night (if you enjoy school discos!!). There are 2 nightclubs - just don't expect too much! 'Klute' is my favourite; incredibly cheesey so just make sure you are pissed before you arrive and fancy dress is advised!!! But Newcastle is only 20 minutes on the train and a wicked night out (the train comes home at 2.10). Sport is excellant - apparantly a larger percentage of Durham students take part in sport than any other British Uni! This is because it's collegiate and all the colleges have their own sports teams for basketball, netball, rugby, football, hockey and cricket so basically anyone and everyone can play. There is also a huge number of Uni sports teams ranging from minor sports such as cross country ru
nning and frisbee to rugby and of course, lacrosse. There are also many more chances to get involved in music, drama and committees of any form due to the collegiate system - all looks great on the CV! Oh yeah, and some big companies e.g. PriceWaterhouseCooper recruit directly from Durham. So what about the Rahs? Yes, it's true, at a first look it seems that the university is overrun with spoilt public school girls and boys on their mobile phones to Daddy! To a fresher this can be terrifying (during my Fresher's Week, I was once greeted with 'Oh, How nice it is to meet a common person'!). But you soon get used to them. This has, in the past, caused friction between the locals and then students. Each year there are a few student attacks but I honestly think there are no more than in other universtiy towns, but since Durham is so small, it all gets magnified. My advise is be sensible - i.e. don't go out on a Friday night wearing a £3000 jacket! I love Durham - it's quite sad to think this is my last year there...but one thing I won't miss, are the Cathedral bells!!
I’m a student at Durham Uni, and I’m having a great time. I admit – it’s small, but I come from a village of 40 houses, so it’s a step up. The level of academic study is hard, there lots to do (I study computer science), and the work is not easy, but there are well thought-out support structures and help is available if you need it. The tick to getting on in Durham (and probably most places), is that you have to ask. Iff you want to come and fail than that’s your lookout, but if you ask for help there’s plenty available, you just have to ask. The accommodation is a little bit run-down, the nightclubs (all two of them) aren’t that amazing, but Newcastle is only £3 away and you’ll have a fantastic time so long as you throw yourself in head first and give it all a go. It’s a damn sight better that working 40 hours a week, which is what I did before I came here ! PS. Don't antagonise the locals - they're sick of students being loud and drunk and appearing to do nothing, and they won't put up with your "antics".
I applied to Durham as a back-up application to Cambridge. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I failed to get into Cambridge, and so I decided, more or less at the last minute to go to Durham. However, the college I applied to (presumably) rejected me, and so I was put in Collingwood College. Do not, whatever you do, suffer the same misery as me and apply to this place. Collingwood College has the ambience of a multi-storey car park, is populated by aggressive drunkards, has the most depressing rooms you have ever seen, inedible food and next to no pastoral care. You are theoretically assigned a 'tutor'; I have seen mine three times, the last of which was a bizarre meeting in which I had to listen to her talk about her Christian faith. So much for the collegiate system. The actual university courses are variable. I am reading English, which has highly missable lectures, even if I go to four out of six a week. The work is both incredibly easy and very tiresome; it's rather like stuffing envelopes for a degree, and about as much fun. The so-called tutorial system consists of occasional fortnightly meetings with bored academics to half-discuss works of literature for an hour or so. The level of apathy is hideously high; few people seem to be interested in the lectures or tutorials for their own sake. The people round the university are a mix of unpleasant, guffawing public schoolboys and drunken, loud local students. However, all of these people are positively pleasant compared to the locals, who loathe students with a violent passion (in fact, a student was killed quite recently after he got into a disagreement with some of them on a train). Plus points? The city is very nice, although lacking any amenities at all; University College has some of the atmosphere and civilisation of the Oxbridge colleges; the Union Society attracts some congenial people to moan about how awful the place is; and if you are disinterested in hard w
ork, then Durham is a pretty good bet. Personally, I am trying as hard as I can to switch universities as soon as possible. Don't make my mistake and waste your time here.
I applied to study BSc. Geography(European studies) next year, 2001. My application form was processed by UCAS on the 9th of October 2000. I received no corresponence whatsover from Durham and was concerned. I rang them up on the 26th Feb this year and was told that I would receive a decision shortly. The next day I checked the UCAS website where I discovered my application had been unsuccessful. I then rang Durham again to ask why it had taken them nearly 5 months to reject me, why I hadn't received an interview and why they had never even acknowledged receipt of my application. The member of staff I spoke to was rude and abrupt. She tried to tell me that there were many more qualified applicants than me. She cannot even have been looking at my application at the time because if she had been she would have realised that I had been predicted four As at A level. I realise that there are many good applicants to the university of Durham and it is not the rejection which has upset me but the fact that the university seemed to show no concern for its applicants at all. Had I been interviewed I would accept their decision without a problem but for a university to take 5 months to reach a decision about a candidate and then only to make that decision following a phone call seems outrageous. This particularly worries me as I have since found out that Leeds University haven't got my application form and claim that UCAS may not have sent it. Is this the case with Durham as well and have they rejected me as a coverup??? I am at the stage where I don't even want to know. Instead I will go To Exeter University next year, who have always treated me as a person in their correspondence and not just another number on an application form.
I'm just about to enter my third year at Durham and I am a member of Grey College Junior Common Room (JCR). Durham University is based on a Collegiate System similar to Oxbridge. When you join Durham University you also become a member of one of the colleges' JCRs. The colleges are basically split in two groups. The Baily Colleges and the Hill Colleges. The Baily colleges are situated in and around Durham City centre. The Hill colleges, are as the name suggest are situated on a hill which is about a 10 minute walk from the City Centre. The Baily Colleges tend to be more popular with Public School students. Being in the centre of town it takes no time to get to the shops. Although the Hill Colleges are further from town they are only 3 minutes walk from the Science site, so if you are doing Physics, Engineering, Chemisty, Geography, Geology, Biology etc, you can roll out of bed into your lectures. The main University Library is also situated on the Science site. Enough about Work and to the more serious business of the social life. Each College has its own bar, each with it own style of doing the same thing. To try and get everyone pissed. On top of that there are many pubs in Durham City Centre, most of which are student friendly. The Union also has it own bar, Kingsgate. There is also a cafe there which serves food until 10pm on some nights. Night Clubs. This is the only thing I think Durham is missing. Some really good Night Clubs. There are only two and they are nothing to write home about. On the plus side, Newcastle is only 15 mintes away by train, so a Clubbing night out can be easily arranged with some of your mates. There are many opportunities to play sport and join clubs. Each College has its own wide range of sporting and social clubs, but for the more serious sporting enthusiast there are the University Sports Societies. I found Durham to be a very freindly place. I made friends very easil
y and am having a great time. Durham is not to big to lost in a sea of faces, and not to small to be boring. As far as I'm concerned, it's brilliant.
I am a student at Durham university and I'd just like to say what a good time I am having there! It's not just that you get excellent teaching. You also get a lot of academic support from teaching staff and on top of that you also have a college tutor. At my college - Van Mildert - you also have a "college mum" who is a second/third/fourth year who does your subject and they are able to answer questions about the subject and sometimes sell you their old books at cheaper prices. As well as the support you get, Durham is great because it is a small city and all the colleges and places you need to be are withing walking distance of each other. Also Durham is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. There is the river which is only at most a ten minute walk from any of the colleges and there are lots of woodland paths which you can walk along. There's also the cathedral, castle and cobbled streets, which give Durham a real sense of history. Newcastle is only 20 minutes (at most) away on the train so although Durham hasn't really got that many places to shop or good nightlife (if you're into that sort of thing) these places are easily accessible.