Why St Chad's?
St Chad's is
committed to bringing out the best in you: hence our record-breaking academic results and the dizzying range of activities
Located right in front of Durham
Cathedral, on one of the loveliest historic streets in
Northern England, it's just a minute or so from the historic centre of Durham
City itself. The College is
made up of the equivalent of fourteen listed buildings, but the
exteriors are deceiving: the interiors have been modernised again and
again over the centuries.
St Chad's prides itself on being one of the smallest and oldest
of the colleges in Durham, but we're also very well-equipped. We have the most
extensive library facilities of any college - with eight internet-equipped
library/study rooms (over 100 study spaces). Over 40% of our rooms are
en suite and our busy dining hall turns out 600 hot meals a day. Our
computer room is being constantly updated, and our sports people ensure that our
exercise facilities (new in 2005) fit the bill. Our subterranean student
bar was expanded several years ago; and a second bar was added in the Quad in
2004, which can seat up to 120 people. The College's boat-house is older
than anyone can remember, but it's still running (though plans are afoot to
build a new, larger facility).
At the end of the day, buildings
are buildings, but our real strength is our students.
They are the College, and they come from every sort of background
and from over twenty countries. People expect smaller colleges in
older universities to be exclusive or quirky (and the College does have
its quirky bits, as the picture shows), but we like to think we have the balance right in terms of
keeping academic expectations truly high while encouraging students to have a
There is a good mixture of
undergraduates and postgraduates at Chad's. This is very
deliberate: the last thing we want is for our College to be seen as an
extension of sixth form. Instead, this is an adult community,
where some are a bit older and some a bit younger. Students at Chad's - whether
undergraduates or postgraduates - are effectively self-governing through
their student representatives. Because we are an autonomous
college within the University, all key decisions are made locally, and
students play an integral part in decision-making and
The College is located not far from the Durham Students Union
(the DSU) building (we're linked by a bridge) , where many pan-university activities are located. Though
there is often a type of inertia that keeps students within their
colleges, students are encouraged to make the utmost of their time at
University and to explore what the rest of the University has to offer.
St Chad's is
unusual in Durham in having its own academic staff
of over thirty Fellows and Research Associates. College Fellows work in specialised areas (such as
urban regeneration, economics, media studies, English literature, music,
international affairs, anthropology, geophysics, philosophy and theology). The College is especially proud of the high
level of interaction and conversation between staff and students.
Indeed, we think this is one of the hallmarks of the College -- an
essential integration of university and college life. Student
representatives and staff meet regularly on both an informal and formal
basis to help manage the College; on a more social level, students
and staff dine together every day, giving everyone a chance to rub
Almost all of the College's
residences are within historic listed buildings; and almost
every room in St Chad's is distinct. Some have
fireplaces (not in use), some have incredible views of the River Wear,
the Cathedral or Durham City; some are hidden away in fourth floor landings with
ancient beamed ceilings. Every room is furnished, and equipped with at
least a sink. Many first year students share a double-room (most of
which are en-suite), but these rooms are more than ample in size
- more than twice as large as a standard single room.
In the second year, some students choose to live out
in rented accommodation; others prefer to stay in College. We can
generally accommodate all students who want to live in -- no matter what
year they're in. Most
finalists return to live in College, taking advantage of the proximity
of College libraries, facilities and the dining hall.
All our students live in a
context that is steeped in history, where you quite consciously pick up
the torch of previous generations of students, on a site that
was renowned for scholarship for a millennium -- long before the birth
of the University itself.
Surveys of student dining halls
in Durham generally put St Chad's in first or second place. The College
has three full-time chefs; and the Head Chef, Tony Bell, may look
easy-going, but he runs a mean kitchen. Outside of term-time, the College has a burgeoning catering
and conference business,
supplying weddings, conferences, and formal meals. The proceeds of
the conferences are ploughed back into the College, thus directly
benefiting the students.
The College provides a full hot breakfast
though students can choose to have cereal, yoghurt, fruit
and toast if they prefer (or both a hot and a cold
Lunch is a light meal, with soup
and extensive salad options, a noodle bar and several main course options.
Dinner is the major meal, with
more substantial offerings and deserts, though again with light options
available. These meals are usually served cafeteria style.
There are always vegetarian options, and many special dietary needs can
be accommodated (please consult the College if you think your dietary
requirements are particularly unusual).
Every Tuesday and Thursday, students
and staff have four-course formal dinners. These
formal meals provide an occasion for a relaxed meal, with wine, good
conversation and a bit of fun. Once or
twice a term we have super-formals or college feasts; and this is where the Chefs really
Because Chad's sees such dining together as a crucial part of college life, the
College offers all
these formal meals and feasts at no extra charge to
students who live in College.
The Quad and the College Bar are the undisputed meeting places in College.
The College bar currently sports a
pop-art theme, which replaced the former Little Mermaid and Simpsons themes - all of which
says something about our not taking ourselves too seriously. The
bar was last renovated in 2008.
Quad was built in 2004 for the College's Centenary, and the
glass-covered Quad is a unique space in Durham. The Quad Bar was added in
2005 and was upgraded in 2008. It is opened for special events or when we anticipate a
larger-than-usual crowd during the week.
The College and the JCR are planning to provide a commercial
espresso/cappuccino service in the Quad. This, as well
as the provision of cheap soft drinks in all bars, will enable more
students to socialise in College without necessarily buying into the
The Quad can also be used as an extension to the dining hall: with the Dining Hall, the
College can serve up to 250 people for a sit-down meal. Normally,
though, the Quad is a student-oriented meeting place during the day (with
ping-pong and table hockey).
one of the smaller colleges in the University, St Chad's
students try that much harder, and that perhaps accounts for the
College's incredible spirit. The College has had more
than enough opportunities to expand, but there are evident advantages in
staying at our current 450 or so members: for one, in larger institutions
people become 'familiar strangers' and don't really get to know one
another; in smaller institutions there has to be more give and take.
Oddly, we find that a
smaller group can be more accepting
of differences than larger groups, chiefly because there is less likelihood of the
fracturing into factions. Nor is there any real fear of living in a
goldfish bowl, of everyone knowing everyone else's business: being
part of a small community means having to be respectful of each other's
need for privacy and for keeping a respectful distance. And it
also means trying harder to ensure that people feel free to opt in and
out of communal activities as they see fit. Being a community
means being friends, not being members of a dominant tribe.
undergraduates automatically become members of the
Common Room (JCR). The JCR
organises many aspects of life in College and represents
students on all the key college
bodies, including the College's Governing
Body. The JCR Executive (the Exec) is
elected each year, and it includes such officers as the
Social Secretary, the Welfare Officer, and the President
of the Bar Committee. The Executive is led by the Senior
Man or Senior Woman. A similar parallel structure exists for
In addition to serving on
the Executive, students can be involved in numerous ways
in College. Students organize the College's social events, including the
Candlemas Ball. They put on plays and concerts; they help write the Alumni Newsletter (The
Chadsian) and the College Magazine. Some
students are employed during the vacations, and the
Libraries and College Bars always need staff.
Staff and Exec members meet
twice a term for formal meetings, where the emphasis is on
decision-making. The College is proud of its ability to react quickly to
student needs; and while not everything on everyone's wish list can be
fulfilled, a shared view usually develops among the students and staff.
Another key committee is
College Committee, which works closely
with the Bursar to ensure that students' physical needs are all being
met. The JCR Social Secretary regularly needs volunteers to help
organise dances, talent shows, contests, music events, excursions as
well as some of the key social events that take place in College every
Chad's College is located very close to both the Music
Department and the Cathedral, with whom we work closely.
Our students put on an annual music series, and there are twice-termly
informal concerts. At various times, there are high profile events
held in College, such as Durham's Jazz festival and other recitals.
We have an excellent college
choir (40-50 voices),
organ and choral scholars, and several musical ensembles. The
choir tours internationally every year and generally produces a CD
during the year. The
College is home during the summer to a number of visiting choirs.
There are pianos available in the College for music practice.
College also puts on at least one play per year, and many students
perform in other productions around town (see
The College is fortunate in having a professional stage director as a
College Fellow who
mentors budding actors.
The Durham Cathedral
Artist in Residence is associated with the College and resides each year
in College. We have other visiting scholars, and over the years the College has had several
Poets in Residence. Not surprisingly, we have regular poetry readings and other
literary events throughout the year.
Beyond the Bailey: The Collegiate Studies
The College is
committed to playing its part in the region.
In recent years, the College has been
attracting staff with a special interest in
urban regeneration, small business support,
and microeconomics. The College's
Collegiate Studies Programme builds on this
commitment, and students are given
opportunities to get to know the region and
to understand the roots of its stubborn economic problems. The
College sponsors Away Days for students and
staff, with trips throughout the region,
mixing a bit of fun with some serious
The College is
also committed to playing its part in
international development, being a member of
the Colleges and Universities of the
Anglican Communion, co-sponsoring the Ruth
First Scholarship (aimed at South African
students), working closely with Traidcraft
to promote fair trade (and jointly
sponsoring the Traidcraft Fellowship in
College), and nurturing
relationships with several overseas colleges and NGOs
throughout the developing world.
Chad's has an enviable sporting tradition: a look at all
the rowing pictures, oars and bits of boats in the
College's libraries would show you how serious we take
our sport. Most first year students sign up for the
rowing club (the rowing club has 90 members) and give it
a try. The College has its own boat house on the River
Wear, and we own a good portion of the river (the College
is legally entitled to charge a toll to allow people to
pass through our portion of the river. Though we don't do
so, it would be a nice way to slow down our competitors
during a race!).
or not you're into rowing, the College has men's and
women's teams in almost all university sports. Our men's
rugby team (coached by our own staff coach) and our women's hockey team are particularly
strong, and our fan support is even stronger.
Chad's College has a new fitness suite built in 2005, equipped with
rowing machines and other exercise equipment.
Libraries and IT
Chad's College has the largest college library in the University, which
is not bad for the smallest college!
The College actually has
eight library rooms located
in its main building. The three library rooms on the ground floor (the
Bettenson Room, the Brewis Library and the Williams Library) contain the
core curricula texts for many of the courses currently on offer in the
There are two libraries on the
first floor: the Wetherall Library, which houses most of the Theology and
Philosophy collections; and the Research Library, which contains some of the
College's rarer and older books, which tend to be of more interest to staff and
The Fenton Library opened in October 2006 and is located on the third floor. Comprising three
separate rooms, the Fenton Library is used primarily for private study.
In addition, the College's
special collections and medieval manuscripts are held both in
the University's Main Library and in the Palace Green Library.
libraries are open during the day and evening, and they are
surprisingly quiet. An honour system is observed for
borrowing. A student library committee works with the
Librarian to order and process books, and student
librarians receive a small stipend for their work.
Chad's College has a particularly high student-to-computer
ratio (10 students per college computer). In addition, all student rooms
and libraries have high-speed fibre-optic access to the internet,
and our computer room is equipped with the
latest generation of Pentium computers. The whole College
network is linked via fibre-optics to the University
network and to the worldwide web, and a wireless network operates
through most of the public space in Main College, allowing students to
use portables in more relaxed settings.
St Chad's has
been using a temporary building as its chapel for most of the last
century. On Sundays there is a choral communion service. On many Sundays, a visiting
preacher addresses the community. The College has its own Chaplain, who is available
to anyone who wants to have a chat.
The Chapel is open during the day for quiet
reflection (as is the Cathedral just across the street). Chapel attendance is, of course, absolutely
Durham has an abundance
of churches, and most faiths are represented.
St Chad's is a Church of
England (Anglican) foundation, but students and staff come from a variety of
religious and not-so-religious traditions. In an effort to enhance the
lives of students, and indeed of staff, the College is committed to being
inclusive, and it seeks to have as diverse a student body as possible.
prides itself on its mentor system. We have a student to mentor ratio of
ten to one, which, as far as we know, is the best ratio in the University.
In Durham, College mentors are the front-line of student support, and
they help students adjust to university and college life. They
offer moral support and they refer students to the Senior Tutor or to
others for specialised support and advice. In the past 'mentors' were
known as 'tutors' but their roles have not changed
College mentors are also subject-specialists
who can augment the
academic support provided by departments: they won't teach you per se,
but they'll help you to get a handle on the
challenges of academic life. Other
mentors work outside
the University, offering students not just day-to-day support, but golden opportunities to discuss career
prospects from a real-world perspective. Postgraduates regularly
volunteer to help undergraduates working in
the same field -- especially if an
undergraduate needs a bit of extra support in
his or field of study; and students are
invited to subject-specific events in College,
where undergraduates, postgraduates and staff
share their passion for their subjects.
At St Chad's, even
though are assigned a particular mentor,
students are encouraged to approach other
mentors, especially to explore career options,
but also to seek other forms of advice.
All mentors schedule regular meetings with their
students (at least one per term plus a social meeting). The Senior Tutor ensures
that the whole mentoring system is running smoothly and that the quality
and level of support are just right. The Senior Tutor is available most
days and can refer students to professionals outside the College whenever
circumstances require it. In addition, the Principal, the
Chaplain and the other resident College Fellows are available throughout the
The most important support
network is constituted by the students themselves. First year students
are all given the opportunity to link up with a more senior student (a
student 'parent'), who will be available to guide them through the
wonderful maze of College life, not to mention the maze of cobbled
streets around Durham. The JCR student welfare officers are also
invaluable to students who need a welcoming and patient ear.
Applying early may increase your chances of
receiving an offer by your preferred college.
you would like to apply to St Chad's, please indicate
this by entering the following information in Section 3
of the front of your UCAS Form:
Column B: D86
Column C: your course code
Column D: 3 (this is the
campus code for St Chad's College)
you would like any more information about the College or
about how to apply please email
If you want to learn more about
the University's overall admissions process, go to:
Applying early may increase your chances of
receiving an offer by your preferred college.
further information about St Chad's College,
read our longer on-line
prospectus and check
out the rest of our website.
Chad's College, we welcome applications from men and
women of all social and ethnic backgrounds without
reference to political or religious beliefs to read for
degrees at the University of Durham.
College operates a transparent admissions process. It particularly
encourages students from a wide variety of backgrounds to apply.