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Josephine Butler

Pre-Sessional College Welcome

Congratulations on receiving an offer of a place on an academic language programme at Durham University. The pre-sessional programme is hard work, but very rewarding, and many of our students look back on their time as a pre-sessional student with great fondness.

All pre-sessional students, including those who choose to live out, are a member of Josephine Butler College for the duration of their pre-sessional programme. During your first few weeks here, we will help you set up a bank account, get registered with a doctor, join the gym and settle into life in the UK. We aim to provide a vibrant and supportive community full of opportunities for you to gain new experiences, develop skills to achieve more in your future life and, most importantly, have fun! The College, in conjunction with the Pre-sessional Society of the Middle Common Room (MCR), of which you are encouraged to become a member, puts on a range of social events for pre-sessional students, designed to introduce you to Durham and British life, and to help you make new friends. We put on formal dinners, a ball, weekly trips to local cities and attractions (such as Edinburgh and York), and regular social activities such as games nights and discos. You will also receive a mentor for the first three weeks of your course—a friendly face who can answer all your questions and help you settle in. You can find more information about the social programme on at

Once you receive your offer letter from the English Language Centre, you will be eligible to apply for accommodation for your pre-sessional programme with Josephine Butler College. Josephine Butler is the newest of the Durham Colleges. All rooms at Josephine Butler are offered on a self-catered basis, and all rooms are en-suite (meaning you have you own private shower, sink, and toilet). Rooms are organised into flats of six with a shared kitchen. Each room has a bed, desk and desk chair, wardrobe, drawer unit, and desk lamp. For more details, please see

College life is a big part of what makes your experience with us so unique and many of our students say that being part of a college is one of the best aspects of Durham University. Even if you choose to live in private accommodation, you will still be a member of Josephine Butler College for the duration of your pre-sessional programme, so please take some time to read all the pre-sessional webpages linked below.

About Pre-Sessional at Butler

Pre-Sessional Social Media Channels

There are many ways to keep in touch with the pre-sessional team and find out what's going on.

Join the Facebook group. Facebook is used by many Durham groups and societies.
Follow our Twitter channel.

Many overseas students do not have a UK bank account. To open a bank account you will need a letter from the university confirming your course details and your Durham address.

Complete one form for each bank you intend to apply to - we will need to write a separate letter for each bank. Please make sure you only ask for a letter for the banks you are really interested in. Students can collect their letters from the College Finance Office based in Ustinov College - Fisher House.

You will need to request this letter once you have arrived and completed registration and you know your room number. If you are living out of College you will need to take your residence agreement to the College Finance Office.

Please allow 3 working days from submission of the form(s) for your letter to be prepared. You should not make an appointment with the bank until you have received the letter. Please note that we will not be able to provide these letters until you have arrived in Durham as we are required to confirm your address after you have taken up occupancy.

More information is available here.