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Durham University


Accommodation and College Life

During your time on Pre-Sessional you are a member of Josephine Butler College which is a short walk from the Elvet Riverside building, where your Pre-Sessional course will take place. This means that you will benefit from a Durham University College experience during your course.

All pre-sessional students therefore have the chance to:

  • Attend a formal welcome dinner early in your stay
  • Have the opportunity to take part in social and sporting events
  • Attend group tutorial meetings, to learn more about College life and Durham University
  • Attend sessions on getting more involved in University life, such as joining a Society or volunteering

Such experiences are an important part of becoming a Durham University student and on Pre-Sessional we would like you to begin participating in this University life as early as possible. Being a member of Josephine Butler over the summer is your opportunity to learn about the ways in which you can become a fully active member of the Durham University community.

Dates and prices for Pre-Sessional student accommodation

All Pre-sessional students can book University accommodation through Josephine Butler College. Safe, well equipped and convenient student rooms are available at Josephine Butler (or at another nearby College). For details please see the dedicated Josephine Butler Pre-Sessional pages here. For dates and prices of accommodation, please see this page.

How do I apply for College accommodation through Josephine Butler College for the duration of my Pre-sessional?

If you would like to apply for accommodation at Josephine Butler College during your Pre-sessional course, please read all the instructions, terms and conditions and complete the online booking form found on the Josephine Butler webpages. All enquiries about accommodation should be sent to

Private accommodation

We do not recommend that you book private accommodation during your Pre-sessional course. Available houses tend to be located quite far from the teaching locations, and 'living out' can make it much harder for students to both attend classes and work with classmates on group tasks. It also makes it harder to take advantage of the social and welfare support at College, which many students find very useful when they are just getting to know Durham.
If you do choose to rent private accommodation, we strongly recommend you rent through a fully licensed agency or landlord. Please DO NOT rent (or sub-let) a room from another student, as this can cause problems with getting the correct documentation for things like health registration, opening a bank account and your visa.

Accommodation after Pre-Sessional

If you need University accommodation after Pre-Sessional you must apply for this separately. Wherever possible you should make these arrangements before you come to Durham. If you are unable to secure a place in a term-time College before your Pre-Sessional course begins, the Josephine Butler team can help you make arrangments. Please note, however, that the later you apply, the less likely you are to get a place in the College of your choice.

Postgraduates: If you hold an offer for a place on a Durham degree programme, you will probably already have been contacted by the Colleges Postgraduate Office regarding your College membership or College membership and accommodation. You can find out more information about the College system and applying for College accommodation at Durham University here. If you have any questions about College membership or accommodation, please contact the Colleges Postgraduate Office at

Undergraduates: You will have applied for membership of a college as part of your UCAS application. College will contact you before the start of term about accommodation.