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University Strategy 2017-2027

Our purpose is to enrich lives and change the world through the advancement of learning – virtually unchanged from when we were founded in 1832.

We achieve this through world-leading research and engagement, inspiring our staff and students to create and translate knowledge, and providing an inclusive education that promotes social wellbeing and prosperity for the benefit of present and future generations.
View our University Strategy document
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7th Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024
7th Guardian University Guide 2024
7th The Complete University Guide 2025
19 subjects in the World Top 100 (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024)


Our core goals

Our core goals are to deliver: 

  • World-leading and world-changing research and engagement across all core academic departments and institutes. 
  • Education that is challenging, enabling, research-led and transformative.
  • A transformative wider student experience delivering long-lasting benefits for graduates and society.



University student
Our Strategy will enable us to transform lives through education and deliver long-lasting benefits for our graduates and wider society.

Professor Karen O'Brien
Vice-Chancellor and Warden



Our purpose and values

Our statement of institutional purpose will guide our strategic direction, operations and decision making.
Learn more about our purpose and values
A group of students by a river in front of Durham Cathedral



Academic Core Strategies

Our University Strategy is made up of 13 strategic areas and is our roadmap up until 2027. It includes three academic core strategies, four transversal strategies and six enabling strategies.

Since the launch of our Strategy, there has been significant change in the external environment. Reaching the midway point provided us with an opportunity to review our progress, celebrate our achievements and refresh our priorities. 

Research and engagement

We conduct innovative and impactful research to transform lives and make a difference, globally and locally: research to empower and inspire.
Person studying an artefact under a ring light

Education, access and future skills

Our research-led education ensures our students are challenged and inspired, pushing the boundaries of current thinking and research.
Seminar using a whiteboard and students with laptops

Wider Student Experience

Alongside the outstanding education we offer to students, we believe that participating in every aspect of university life is fundamental.
Students singing in Gospel Choir at Durham Cathedral



A group of students walking down a cobbled street in Durham

Graduate Attributes

Our Graduate Attributes are meaningful and relevant to our diverse and global University community.

Graduate Attributes



Read our University Strategy document