Learn How To Apply To Durham University in this guide

How To Apply To Durham University

If you’re looking to apply to Durham University, one of the UK’s leading institutions, you’re probably wondering where to begin. Applying to university can be a daunting process, but with a little bit of guidance, you can make the process as smooth as possible. 

In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of how to apply to Durham University, for undergraduate and postgraduate applications

Whether you’re a UK or international student, this guide will give you all the information you need to know to make your application to Durham University a success.

Why Apply To Durham University?

Founded in 1832, Durham University is the third oldest university in the United Kingdom, with Oxford and Cambridge. It is also often associated with its two oldest universities the name “Doxbridge” which brings together the three oldest education institutions in the UK. 

Very prestigious, it is located in the northeast of England, in the charming town of Durham, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Thanks to its partnerships established all over the world, Durham offers its students the opportunity to go abroad, for a summer, a semester or a full year. Among the partner, institutions are the universities of Beijing and Hong Kong, Boston College and McGill. Durham has also set up more than 250 partnerships with European universities and schools.

Due to its historical setting, the excellence of its education and its organisation as a collegiate system, Durham University is often associated with Oxford and Cambridge.

Durham is also part of the Russell Group universities

University of Durham ranking

Durham is one of the best universities in the UK. The Times Higher Education ranks it in the 26 positions in the UK, and in the world at 198 positions. 

For most courses, Durham is in the top 5 ranking positions in the UK league tables. 

What Course You Can Study at Durham University?

Durham University offers over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The courses it covers are numerous, from medicine to languages ​​via physics, humanities and social sciences or even psychology and engineering, law and the sciences of physical and sports activities.

The institution also provides interdisciplinary courses to allow students to personalise their academic interests. With these open modules, you can therefore broaden your horizons, your knowledge and your culture by studying different disciplines in your field. Whether it is to deepen a passion or to open up to a new area, this opportunity is welcome.

Subjects You Can Study At Durham University

You have plenty of choices when it comes to subjects you can study at the University of Durham. 

  • Business & Economics
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Physics & Astronomy
  • Mathematics & Statistics
  • Geology, Environmental, Earth & Marine Sciences
  • Languages, Literature & Linguistics
  • Archaeology
  • Art, Performing Arts & Design
  • History, Philosophy & Theology
  • Sport Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Law
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Politics & International Studies
  • Geography
  • Medicine
  • Education
  • Computer Science

Applying to Durham University

The admission application process is depending on whether you want to apply to an undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme. Student selection is less competitive than at other top UK universities, with an undergraduate acceptance rate of around 74%

Below have explained in detail how to apply to Durham University, whether you applying to an undergraduate or postgraduate programme. 

Undergraduate students at Durham University
Photo credits: Durham University

How To Apply To Durham University Undergraduate Courses

Applying to Durham undergraduate is similar to the standard UK university application process. You will need to use the UCAS application. Below we are breaking down the entire process of how to apply to Durham University for undergraduate courses.

Register on UCAS

If you want to study at the University of Durham as an undergraduate student, you will need first to go through the UCAS application process. Choose up to five courses. The institution code is D86.

What you need for the application to UCAS

On UCAS, you will be asked to fill in your personal information and then complete your file with:

Once your application is completed, you must submit it before 31 January 2024 if you want to start in September 2024. 

If you’re considering Durham University seriously as your first choice, it’s important to note that they only take part in the Clearing process if they have available places in certain courses. 

In 2021, the university didn’t have any places available through UCAS Clearing. To increase your chances of receiving an offer from Durham colleges, it’s recommended that you choose them as your top choice on UCAS.

For most applications, interviews are not required as part of the processing procedure. However, if you’re applying for Primary Education training, Medicine, or Foundation Courses, you may be called in for an interview.

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Choose a Durham College

Durham University operates a unique collegiate system that is similar to the prestigious universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

As part of your application, you will be required to select a preferred college from the available options. However, choosing the best Durham college that suits your needs and interests can be quite challenging. 

Hence, it is recommended that you conduct thorough research or consult our comprehensive guides to help you make an informed decision.

At Durham, all students are members of colleges. There are 17 colleges. Durham colleges are more than just accommodations, they are vibrant communities that provide opportunities for students to participate in a variety of events, such as drama, music, sports, volunteering, and other extracurricular activities. They offer essential support services for student well-being and personal development, as well.

Being part of Durham College provides you with a unique university experience that enables you to develop your academic, social, and personal skills while fostering a sense of community and belonging. 

You will have access to college facilities, such as libraries, common rooms, and dining halls, which are exclusive to members of your college.

Choosing the right college at Durham is crucial, and we encourage you to research carefully or consult our guides to make an informed decision that will improve your university experience.

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Admission Tests

The majority of undergraduate courses at Durham University do not require you to pass any admission tests

On the other hand, if you are applying for a law degree you will need to provide the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) scores. In mathematics to pass a test of your choice such as the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA), the Maths Admission Test (MAT) or the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP).

So inform yourself well about the entry requirements for the course you want to integrate to anticipate and register early enough for the required tests if necessary. 

Please note that most admission tests take place between August and November the year before the start of the academic year. 

In some cases, you will have to pass them even before submitting your application to UCAS.

Test for International Students

If you are an international student, and you receive a conditional offer from Durham University, you will be asked to demonstrate a certain level of English by taking a standardised test such as IELTS or TOEFL.


Durham University does not require interviews as part of the undergraduate admission process. 

You don’t need to worry about interviews, except for one course. The BA (Hons) Primary Education selection process includes a compulsory interview. If you’ve applied for this course, you’ll receive a notification in UCAS and an email with all the relevant information about the interview, including the date, time, and day format.

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Durham University Application Deadline 2023

Do not miss the deadline. Submit your UCAS application by 31st January 2024 at 18:00 (GMT).

Durham University’s application deadline is 31 January 2024.

The deadline for Oxbridge application, Medicine, Dentistry, or Veterinary Science is 16th October 2023 at 18:00 (GMT). This deadline is earlier than the general UCAS application deadline and must be strictly adhered to. 

Durham University Acceptance Rate 

The average Durham University acceptance rate is around 74%, according to the admission statistical report from 2022. 

If we break down this by Home and EU/Internationa students, then we have acceptance rate for:

  • Home applicants of 64%
  • EU/International applicants of 83%

These percentages place Durham among the universities in the UK with a higher acceptance rate than average in the country. 

Durham is one of the most preferred unis in the UK, for both international and home students. 

Read the complete guide:

Entry Requirements for Durham University

Durham’s admission criteria are typically based on the grades obtained from the three highest A levels, ranging from A*A*A to BBB, although this can vary by course. 

It’s important to note that two AS levels are not equivalent to one A level. Moreover, Durham accepts A-level grades obtained in different years and settings. 

Typical entry requirements to get placed into Durham are A*AA in A-Levels. 

For international students, the admission selectors consider International Baccalaureate Diploma grades.

Below are the minimum entry requirements for the most popular courses at Durham University.


  • A Level: A*AA
  • BTEC: D*DD
  • International Baccalaureate: 38


  • A Level: AAB
  • International Baccalaureate: 36


  • A Level: A*AA
  • BTEC: D*DD
  • International Baccalaureate: 38

Business and Management

  • A Level: AAB
  • International Baccalaureate: 36


  • A Level: AAA
  • International Baccalaureate: 37

Computer Science 

  • A Level: A*AA
  • BTEC: D*DD
  • International Baccalaureate: 38

Health and Human Sciences (Medicine)

  • A Level: AAB
  • International Baccalaureate: 36


  • A Level: A*AA
  • BTEC: D*DD
  • International Baccalaureate: 38

English Literature and History

  • A Level: A*AA
  • BTEC: D*DD
  • International Baccalaureate: 38

What are the most competitive courses at Durham?

According to Durham admission reports from 2022, the most competitive course is the law with an acceptance rate of 48%. The second most competitive course is Primary Education with 53% accepted applicants. Following the law are the Economics course with an acceptance rate of 55%, and Finance with 59%. 

Management, Mathematical science and Psychology are among the most popular, with the majority of applicants. They also have a higher acceptance rate, ranging from 70% to 91%. 

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Durham University and the castle
Photo credits: University of Durham

Durham University Undergraduate Tuition And Fees

If you’re applying for the 2024 entry cycle, check the tuition fees below. 

UK students will pay a maximum tuition of £9250 per year, as per the government’s regulations. However, for international and EU students, the tuition fee is much higher at £24,900 per year. 

This difference in fees reflects the disparity in funding provided by the government for UK students versus international and EU students. Prospective students need to consider the financial implications of studying at Durham University and plan accordingly.

How To Apply To Durham For Postgraduate Degree (Master)

According to the Guardian University Guide for 2023, Durham postgraduate study is in 6th place in the UK. 

The University of Durham offers Postgraduate Taught Programmes, that is to say, masters made up of courses with a mixture of conferences, seminars and tutorials, but also Postgraduate Research Programmes, which consist of supervising students during their research work.

Apply for a Postgraduate Taught Programme

You will need to register directly on the Durham University portal.

The documents required vary according to the course requested. Find out about the entry requirements and the elements to send as soon as you have chosen your course. Most often, you will need to provide:

  • Translations of your notes and diplomas;
  • The results of an English test such as IELTS or TOEFL;
  • Two referents;
  • A master personal statement, that is a letter of motivation.

Applications are reviewed within four to six weeks of submission. In some cases, interviews are an integral part of the selection process. You will only be invited to an interview if it is specified in the admission conditions of the master you have chosen.

Most courses operate on the principle of rolling admissions, that is, applications are studied throughout the year with no closing date. 

This means that once all places in a program are allocated, it is closed. It is, therefore, necessary to find out well in advance and apply as soon as possible, as soon as registration opens, which takes place in September the year before the start of the school year.

Applicants who need a student visa must submit their application for their postgraduate programme before 31st July. Those who do not require a student visa must submit their application before 14th August 2023.

Apply for a Postgraduate Research Programme

The first step in applying for a postgraduate research programme is to find a tutor. You must therefore contact the academic department that interests you to share your proposals for research topics. 

You will be able to discuss with potential supervisors and choose your tutor. This will help you in the second step to develop your Research Proposal, which is your thesis subject, an essential element of your application.

Each course sets its selection criteria, but most will ask you:

  • Translations of your diplomas and transcripts;
  • The results of an English test;
  • A personal statement for postgraduate;
  • Two referents;
  • The name and department of your potential supervisor;
  • A Research Proposal;
  • The desired start date;
  • The documentation related to the scholarship you wish to obtain if necessary.

To submit your application, you will need to create an account on the Durham University portal. Some departments set closing dates for registrations, find out before applying.

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The University of Durham Open Days

Undergraduate Open Days

Choosing the right university can be a daunting task, but to make a better decision you can always visit Open days. Durham Open Days are held in June and September and are the perfect opportunity to explore everything the university has to offer. 

Whether you want to learn more about our programmes, and colleges or get a feel for the campus atmosphere, Open Days are a good way to make an informed decision. 

Postgraduate Open Days

With a range of Taught and Research Masters, as well as PhD programmes, Durham’s staff can help you take the next step in your academic journey. Postgraduate Open Days offer the opportunity to connect with our academic staff and current students, get guidance on applying and funding, and discover our colleges.

Student life in Durham

Durham University is organised into seventeen colleges, each with its own characteristics and traditions. Each student is a member of a college and belongs to its community. This is the bedrock of student life at Durham.

All colleges thus benefit from student volunteers and university staff members engaged to assist students and answer their questions. Each college also allows its students to practice sports, cultural or artistic activities, organises events or offers volunteer experiences. 

Student life at Durham is therefore primarily driven by the choice of college.

Throughout the university, there are 80 music clubs whose shows are produced in the Gala theatre on campus or even in the city’s cathedral, located on the banks of the Wear. 

At the same time, 27 theatre companies put on more than 90 plays a year at the university, and it is possible to practice around 18 different sports thanks to the infrastructure on campus.

Final Thoughts

Often compared with Oxford and Cambridge, Durham University is one of the UK’s top universities. Applying to Durham, making as a first choice, is a good opportunity for every student. 

The historic setting of the city of Durham, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, undoubtedly offers an idyllic environment to immerse yourself in studies. The collegiate system makes the University a unique place to study and experience academic life. 


What is Durham Uni best known for?

Durham University is best known for its prestigious academic reputation. It is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the UK. Is also well-known for its stunning campus, which includes the historic Durham Castle and Cathedral, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The university is recognised for its collegiate system, which provides students with a close-knit community and a wide range of extracurricular activities.

Is Durham a good university?

Yes, Durham University is considered a highly reputable and prestigious university both in the UK and globally. Read our full guide: Is Durham a good university?

Is Durham an elite university?

Durham University is a prestigious academic institution, part of the Russell Group and an elite UK university group.

Why does Oxbridge rejects going to Durham?

Nearly half of the students at Durham University have been revealed to have been rejected by Oxbridge. This reinforces the widespread stereotype that Durham is packed with students who were not accepted by Oxford or Cambridge, and now it seems to be confirmed.

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