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John Snow College

Postgraduate Life


John Snow College considers applications from both full-time and part-time prospective postgraduate students (PGs). The College has a growing population of PGs, both non-resident and resident, who actively participate in all aspects of College life. One particular successful venture is the Postgraduate Seminar Series, organised and run by the Middle Common Room (see below) which enables PGs to present and discuss their research with their peers and members of staff and Senior Common Room (the group of internal and external people connected to the College). Please see some of the photos below.


MCR Exec for 2016-17

  • MCR Exec

    President: Kimberly Rockley

    Vice-President: Natalie Gallagher

    Chairperson: Gugu Musa

    Social Chairperson and Communications Officer: Carol De-Santis

    Welfare Rep: Clare Brown


The John Snow College Middle Common Room, (MCR), is a network for research postgraduates and taught postgraduates. The aim of the MCR is to facilitate communication and scholarly activity amongst the postgraduate community within the College.

The MCR currently shares facilities with the College’s Senior Common Room (SCR) based in the College offices in Holliday Building, Queen’s Campus and with the Junior Common Room (JCR), in College Accommodation at Sorbonne Close. The JCR is the undergraduate body of the College and the JCR Exec Committee co-ordinates sports, facilities and societies for its undergraduates – members of the MCR get access to all of these. See their website at:

The SCR connects postgraduates to distinguished members of the community, active professionals and academics – a useful resource for any postgraduate!

The John Snow College Middle Common Room is arguably one of the smallest middle common rooms at Durham University – but we’re growing. The recently established Division of Pharmacy, within the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, is set to increase the number of research (and eventually taught) postgraduates based at Queen’s Campus. It’s an ideal opportunity to get involved and contribute.

As John Snow is a gowned college, the MCR also wear gowns during Matriculation and at formal College events. The John Snow College MCR has a good working relationship with Stephenson College MCR - with most events being inter-collegiate.



The MCR holds events throughout the year and includes a John Snow Seminar Series, where research postgraduates discuss their research to date. JCR and SCR members are invited and these seminars are a great opportunity to practice presentations for conferences or review in a supportive environment. The seminars happen once a month and are coordinated by the postgraduate giving the talk to help develop a different skills set. A Postgraduate Lunch for MCR and SCR members follows each seminar.

The MCR is also working with the College Principal Professor Carolyn Summerbell and Vice-Principal Janet Dixon-Dawson, to produce a lecture series on the psychological, medical, and pharmaceutical aspects of food.

Inter-MCR formals and events, hosted by the colleges at Durham University, to foster a postgraduate community across the University, can also be attended – giving Snow MCR members a chance to spend time in the colleges at the Durham City Campus.


The Snow MCR meets for ‘Tea, Coffee and Cakes in Thirty Minutes or Less’ once a month in the Senior Common Room. The most frequent reason postgraduates miss events is because they don’t have time; in response to this we created a ‘short and sweet’ event that lets our postgraduates stay connected informally. If you’d like to attend get in touch with Natalie (

Informal socials are planned ad hoc and include dinner or drinks in Durham city, Stockton or Middlesbrough, bowling, movie nights or sometimes just getting together for a pizza.

If you’d like any more information about the MCR or to get involved please get in touch with Natalie

Hope to hear from you soon!

John Snow College Office, Holliday Building Durham University Queen's Campus, Stockton Stockton-on-Tees TS17 6BH, UK


Adam Rathbone, Postgraduate Student Representative

'John Snow College is one of the youngest colleges at Durham University and has possibly one of the smallest postgraduate bodies. This means two things; the first is that the facilities are all relatively new and in brilliant condition, giving me better access; the second is that because the community is quite exclusive, I was able to contribute and get involved with the College straight away. The collergiate system was quite alien to me as I’d never been in a college before, but I can really see the benefit of the college system after being in John Snow. For me, leaving a full-time job and starting a PhD was pretty hard – what exactly was I meant to do on a day-to-day basis? The college system really helped with this, by introducing me to other PhD students who could explain the process, without me having to look stupid in front of my supervisors. Being a research postgraduate can be quite lonely, nobody is working on the same project as you so you often work alone, but being part of the College makes sure that postgraduates are able to make friends and understand there is more to University than just reading books and journals. The College hosted several lunches throughout the year; this meant that my family life or part-time work didn’t get in the way of college life. Scholarly events including lectures from distinguished Professors and research-active academics, were a useful way of bumping in to new faces, making new friends and useful contacts. The Junior Common Room President and Chairman, have been really supportive in establishing a Middle Common Room, as has the Vice-Principal Janet Dixon-Dawson who is always available at the other end of an email. Professor Summerbell is a very approachable Principal who has also been, and continues to be, very supportive of the postgraduate community within the college. ‘