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Study in Durham, United Kingdom

Population: 43,000

City overview

Durham is a city with plenty of cultural appeal. It has a World Heritage Site listed cathedral, plenty of beautiful architecture and a university that is often rated third only to Oxford and Cambridge on the prestige scale.

However, studying a graduate program in Durham will give you more than just prestige and old England grandeur. Durham is increasingly a modern city that is forward thinking and looking to be a global payer.

Education profile

Durham may only have one university, but it is an outstanding one. Durham University was one of the first universities in England to be open for more than 600 years, and is the country’s third oldest after Cambridge and Oxford.

Research and taught courses are both offered as graduate programs in Durham, with dozens of postgraduate courses on offer at the university. Both types of Masters normally take 1-2 years to complete, with PhD programs taking 3-4 years full time or six years part-time.

Immigration and visas

EU citizens are permitted to take a graduate program in Durham providing they fulfil the following:
  • Are studying in the UK for more than three months
  • Are enrolled at an accredited university or institution
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to cover your graduate program in the UK for its duration
Non-EU students will need to apply for a student visa under the tier 4 visa category. They will need to demonstrate the following:
  • Proof of funding to cover a postgraduate course and living costs
  • A confirmation of acceptance to study (CAS) reference from a university with sponsor status
  • Adequate English language skills
You can find out more about visas at the UK Border Agency.

Life in Durham

Durham is the picture perfect English countryside city. It’s pretty, full of quaint building and warm pubs, and draws visitors by the thousands each summer. Divided between the old town and the new town, Durham is home to a world famous cathedral, Durham Castle and the cobbled Market Place which is home to more than 80 stalls.

However, there is increasingly a modern pace to life in Durham. The city’s 2020 Vision is a series of ambitious regeneration projects that have already had a major impact on the city’s economy and provided much-needed modernity to parts of the city.

Working in Durham

Non-EU international students wanting to stay on to work in Durham after their postgraduate studies will need to apply for a work visa. You can find out more about the various visa options through the UK Border Agency.

The recent economic downturn has affected jobs in Durham, but it still has a robust economy. In fact, Durham has one of the highest productivity levels in Britain and exports a greater percentage of its output than any other region in the UK.

Traditional areas of employment in Durham include the manufacturing industry, with Nissan being one of the largest employers in the area. However, modern day Durham is experiencing a boom in construction, with thousands of new jobs created since 2010.


As Durham is home to just one university, many postgraduate students opt to stay in halls of residence during their studies. However, there is plenty of private accommodation in Durham despite its small size.

If you are thinking of going private, look around these popular areas:
  • Church Street
  • Gilesgate
  • Neville’s Cross
  • Viaduct
The Neville’s Cross area of Durham is very popular with students, but it does lack major supermarkets, unless you are prepared for a 20 minute walk up the hilly Avenue. The Viaduct area is a little closer, being just a 15 minute walk from both Durham University’s campus.

Weather and climate

Despite its northerly position, Durham has a relatively mild climate similar to the rest of the UK. The city generally sees less rain than the rest of the UK. The main summer months are between June and August when temperatures can exceed 20C, while the coldest winter months are between December and February. It is not unusual for temperatures to hover around the 0C mark during these months.

What to do next

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