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Durham University

Natural Sciences

Information for Natural Sciences Freshers

Congratulations and Welcome

Congratulations on securing your place to read Natural Sciences at Durham University! We very much look forward to welcoming you in September and to working with you over the coming three/four years.

We pride ourselves on our excellence in research and teaching and we are all looking forward to you joining us. The Durham Natural Science community is a lively, friendly group of people committed to the pursuit of a broad knowledge of science. You will be an integral part of life in your Department/Schools.

Before you arrive

Enrol online

(Information on how to enrol online and log on to DUO)

Enrolment opens eight weeks before the start of your programme. After your acceptance has been processed you will receive two email messages from which provide:

· Your Computing and Information Services (CIS) username
· How to derive your CIS password and guidance on how to access the system
The messages are sent 24 hours apart and are sent to the email address you provided when you applied so it’s important to let us know of any changes to this information by contacting the Student Records Team at You may also need to monitor your spam folders to see if the messages have arrived there.

After you have received both emails you will need to:

  • Change your password
  • Log into Durham University Online – duo
  • Choose the “Banner Self Service” link in duo under “External Tools”
  • Choose Registration and Enrolment
  • Enrol with the University
  • Upload a photograph for your campus card

Module Registration (act on this before coming to Durham)
Module registration is a two stage process which includes:

The first stage is where you confirm your programme of study and choose your optional modules. The second stage of the process is where department(s) approve your choice of modules.

More information on module registration can be found at:

Pre-Arrival Checklist

You should have received the following information prior to your arrival:

  • IT log-in details for DUO, so that you can regularly keep up to date with staff communication and select modules.
  • Freshers welcome pack: Welcome letter from the Director of Natural Sciences
  • Email from the Director on the module selection
  • Departmental Handbook

If you have not received any of this information, then please contact

Your first week in Durham – University Induction Online Planner 2019

We have put together a comprehensive package of induction activities which will take place between Monday 30th September and Friday 4th October 2019.

Attendance of all of department-based activities is compulsory and we have tried to plan the week’s activities so that wherever possible they do not clash with any other college, university or sport commitment, many of which are repeated to allow you several opportunities to take part. View the timetable here

Those days are very busy and in order that you can be inducted into your main science department(s) you should make tentative choice of modules before you arrive in Durham. Once I have received your tentative module choices via the web form which is further on in these web pages, I will look at your selection, make sure they satisfy the degree regulations and comment on them from the point of view of what options this choice will give you at the end of your first year. Please allow some time for me to get back to you about this, so that you can settle on a choice by Thursday 19th September 2019.

Natural Sciences Induction Timetable

Induction (which includes registration) takes place between Monday 30th September and Friday 4th October 2019.

Note that your module choices will determine your induction programme so be careful when you select your choices from the University Induction Online Planner 2019. Broadly speaking to get yourself registered the University has three slots on Monday and Tuesday in Departments and the plan is based on having two streams for students majoring in two subjects (Maths-Physics-Chemistry) and (Psychology-Biology-Chemistry)

If you have chosen your modules already

  • Why haven't my modules been approved? This could be because Departments are waiting to see you to get you to sign some forms or that there is a problem with your choices. Wait until at least Thursday morning of induction week before you take action because that will give time for Departments to register you and for me to contact you at your Durham email address if there is a problem, but don't be afraid to ask me if you want reassurance. The registration sessions above are primarily designed as surgeries for students to resolve their choices.
  • How can I get overarching academic advice? During induction week, my door is open all week 09:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00. In normal term-time I operate an open door policy every day 8:45-13:00. Note that I like to keep afternoons clear. My room is at CG307A - top floor of the Chemistry Department.
  • How can I get subject specific academic advice? For Science subjects you will be given an advisor where you take at least where you take at least 40 credits in that subject - this might take a couple of weeks to happen as you need registration to go through. In addition Liaison Officers can offer expert for Natural Sciences students (not just in Science).
  • What happens if I want to change my modules once I am registered? You need to figure out a set of modules which satisfy the rules I apply (see the Handbook) and then a Change of Registration can be initiated by following the advice at Changing your registration once you are in Durham . You don't need to see me in person and I will check that all changes adhere to the rules.
  • If I have got a general question what should I do? Go to DUO > Natural Sciences Info and browse. If you can't find the answer there come and talk to me in CG307A (see above.)
  • If I missed the introductory talk, what should I do? Read the slides highlighted in DUO > Natural Sciences Info > Announcements and above all don't panic!

If you have yet to select your modules

Follow the instructions on how to choose your modules and if you have any queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. The degree programme is complicated so don't worry if you have any difficulties, just give me a ring and I will try and explain the system ! It is easier if you ring me rather than email me!

I have built a page of reading lists for the core modules in the subjects that contribute to the Natural Sciences degree programme. This page is here

Move to the Step 1 of module selection

Best wishes

James Blowey
Director of Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences web site

Student Testimonial

The flexibility of the Natural Sciences degree at Durham distinguishes it from any other University. Only here could I have studied the full breadth of my interests, from the way computers solve problems, to the way that people learn and develop, and especially what is possible to learn from fiction. The department also offers fantastic support and advice about what is best to study, what to do if you change your mind, and what degree you will end up with at the end. Natural Sciences is the perfect degree for those arriving undecided about which science subject to focus on, but also for those, like myself, that know they would like to study a wide variety of subjects." Rachel BSc Natural Sciences: Computer Science and Education