We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

PVC Colleges & Student Experience Office

Undergraduate College Allocations

College Allocations

Durham University is a collegiate university and our colleges are multidisciplinary, scholarly environments with all undergraduate programmes represented in all colleges (except Ustinov which is a solely postgraduate community) at the campus at which the programme is delivered. Our allocation process is designed to be fair, open and transparent.

We seek to maximise the number of applicants who are allocated to a college of their preference. We fully recognise however, that not all applicants will be allocated to the college of their preference. We try to minimise this number but for most colleges there will be a number of applicants reallocated due to their preference college being over-subscribed for their subject.

Durham University receives many thousands of applications each year and our unique collegiate system is a core part of our student experience. We have one of the lowest drop-out rates of all UK universities and high levels of student satisfaction. All our colleges are small, thriving communities with many fantastic opportunities to participate and engage with college and university life. Each of our colleges will give every new student member a warm and friendly welcome that will last a lifetime. The colleges offer consistent levels of support and we aspire to create diverse communities that reflect our core value of inclusivity.

Durham University has a policy that once a college allocation is made then it is part of our broader offer and not something that would be changed at the applicant’s request. Having multi-disciplinary academic communities is very important to maintaining our unique collegiate experience and so our allocation process is designed to ensure that this academic balance is maintained.

In the case of an applicant wishing to defer their offer of a place at Durham, please note that colleges are allocated in the year of application and would not normally be changed.

The only exceptions to this are as follows;

a) If an applicant has declared that they have a disability that they feel cannot be met by the college to which they have been initially allocated.

In such circumstances, the applicant themselves should contact the allocated college to see if their needs can be met or mitigated. It is important that applicants liaise directly with their allocated college in the first instance so the college are aware of any concerns that you may have, but also to fully establish how they can meet your needs, where possible. Colleges and Colleges Office staff are unable to discuss individual applications with parents or interested third parties.

If the applicant still feels they need another college, and after liaising directly with your allocated college, you will be provided with further details to enable you to submit a written request for further consideration of your needs to the Colleges and Student Experience Office. We will also require attached written medical evidence from a healthcare professional to this request. The medical evidence and request will need to clearly link the disability with the stated need, to enable us to make reasonable adjustments to support equality of access and opportunity to students with specific needs. Where the medical evidence is not specific, the University will interpret the medical evidence for the context of Durham University. The adjustment may be able to be met by the allocated college. Only when this has been fully explored would consideration be given to a potential reallocation.

b) If an applicant has a disability that the University can reasonably meet in a specific College or Colleges but the applicant has a preference for or has been initially allocated to a different College.

In such circumstances, the University will work closely with the applicant to ensure that their needs are being addressed appropriately. This may require the applicant to be re-allocated to a College where the University considers those needs can be best supported.

Please note:

  • Colleges and Colleges and Student Experience Office staff are unable to discuss individual applications with parents or interested third parties.
  • University staff in colleges, departments, the Colleges and Student Experience Office and Student Recruitment and Admissions Office are unable to consider applicant requests to change college allocations that have already been made.
  • If you have a disability or medical needs and are concerned that the college you have been allocated to cannot meet your needs, please contact your allocated College first to discuss. You can also contact University Disability Support who can offer advice and support for applicants seeking to study at Durham. Contact details for Disability Support are available on our website at

The college allocation process for 2018 entry is due to begin in the week commencing 5th February 2018.