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Durham University

Special Collections

Durham University Student Records

What records are available?

Published and manuscript sources listing members of the university (staff and students), with some information on degrees, examinations and extra-curricular activities.

Where and when: geographical coverage and dates

Durham University was founded in 1832, admitted its first male students in 1833, and its first female students in 1895. From 1908, it was a federal institution with students in Durham (the Durham Colleges) and in Newcastle (College of Medicine and Armstrong College, combining the College of Science and School of Art, which were in turn merged as King's College from 1937). In 1963, this federal university was split to form separate universities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne.

The published sources relate to the whole period of the university (with significant gaps in the early period), and to students in both Durham and Newcastle from 1908. Archival sources relating to students relate chiefly to the 20th century, with many series of records relating only to the Durham Colleges, and other registers including students from one or all of the colleges in Newcastle. The catalogue for the Registrar's records includes details of the coverage for these sources, and the administrative history of the university is summarised within the collection guide for the Durham University Records.

Which University records are most useful for family history research?

Lists of staff and students are published within the earlier volumes of the Durham University Calendar, with lists of students awarded degrees included until the mid 20th century.

Admissions registers, student files, examination pass lists and lists for Congregation (award of degrees) are held within the Registrar's records (reference UND/CF), listed in the catalogue of the Central Administration and Officers.

A series of record cards compiled for students of the university at both Durham and Newcastle ca.1900-1963 survives under reference UND/CF5/D1, giving details of name, address, birth and degrees, sometimes with additional information on schools, prizes and later addresses. This cannot be produced for readers as it includes extensive personal data, but cards for individual deceased students can be produced or consulted by staff on behalf of readers.

The First World War Roll of Honour (detailing students who served) has been published at our Roll of Honour website, with an ongoing project based at both Durham and Newcastle Universities researching the lives both of those members who were killed, and those who survived.