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St John's College

Postgraduate life

One of Durham’s key features as a university is its system of colleges, each of which has its own unique atmosphere and approach to university life.

St John’s is one of the smallest university colleges, with about 100 postgraduates, and this has allowed it to develop its renowned welcoming and supportive atmosphere. Its smaller numbers of students encourage the formation of a tightknit community that cuts across year groups and degree subjects.

Mateen relaxing in the Postgraduate Centre

Additionally, St John’s is one of only two of the colleges within the university that maintains a degree of independence. This means that whilst our students gain the benefits of having access to the resources of the University as a whole, we have the freedom to do things a little differently; further adding to the feeling of a shared identity within the University.

The College itself is housed within a row of Georgian townhouses in the heart of historic Durham, literally just across the road from the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the 1000 year old cathedral.

It's very easy to get involved in College life at John’s, and involvement and participation at every level is encouraged. This sense of community spirit and engagement seems to instil itself into our students, who then take it with them into the world – the founder of the Fair Trade movement was a John’s graduate for example.

Why not take a look at our 2016 College Record to get a feel for postgraduate life at St John's?

Why choose St John's College?

Some of our postgraduates stop for a photo

As one of the smallest colleges within the university, St John's is also famed for being among the friendliest. Its small size and relatively geographically condensed position in the heart of Durham contribute to a diverse, yet well integrated, community with a strong sense of shared identity, and it means that is easy to get to know the other postgraduates within the college. This familiarity with your fellow postgraduates, in both your own and other subjects makes St John’s a place of intellectually stimulating interdisciplinary discourse. If you enjoy being part of a group of people who are passionate about their own interests, yet keen to support and be involved with those of others – then John’s may be for you.

At St John’s every member of the MCR, which exists to represent and foster the community of postgraduates in St John's College, is also a member of the SJCR. This allows them the same access to college societies, sporting activities and social events as undergraduates.

The college has an established reputation for music, offering a number of choral scholarships to members of its own chapel choir. The John’s Music Society is an umbrella organisation that promotes the celebration, performance and appreciation of music within the college. It organises regular events, from open mic nights, to jazz nights and classical music performances. St John's is also the home of the Bailey Theatre Company, which is run by members of the college and has one of the best reputations for producing amazing theatre in the whole of Durham. In addition to performing well in the university’s own Durham Oscars it has, in the past, travelled to the Edinburgh Festival, where it won a prestigious and rare “Sell Out Award”. The college is home to a vast array of sports teams, with everything from rowing and rugby, to ultimate Frisbee being represented. It is also (in)famous within the university for its David-like ability to punch well above its weight in terms of sporting prowess, achieving much more success than its small size might suggest.

Founded in 1909, St. John’s College has a well-established history of academic excellence stretching back over a century, and is one of the older colleges within the university. It is located within a row of Georgian townhouses on the historic Bailey in the heart of the medieval city of Durham, and is overlooked by the imposing Norman cathedral that makes up one half of the millennium old UNESCO World Heritage Site. This central location provides an excellent balance between being able to immerse yourself in the ambience of an established and historic centre of learning with the more practical benefits of never being more than a 10 minute walk from lectures or the university library.

Watch our video to find out more about life at St John's...

St John's College,Durham University

St John's College,Durham University

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Find out about student life at St John's Collge

Meet a postgraduate

John's is a friendly, exciting and unique academic community to be a part of. Our recently refurbished accommodation is arguably the best on the Bailey. Weekly formal dinners are free and often followed by drinks in our famous "cellar bar" as a fun and quirky start to a great night with friends. Being small means that there is a fantastic social life and sense of community, yet we punch well above our weight in student societies and sport, regularly coming first in the inter-college "sports points per person" table. The inspiring and caring staff work tirelessly to support and challenge every student during their time here, ensuring that all "Johnians" think of university as a memorable and life changing experience.

Jonathan, PhD Engineering and Computer Sciences

Postgraduate Prospectus 2018

Interested in postgraduate study? Click to register and download our 2018 prospectus.

St John's College, Durham is a recognised College of Durham University and incorporates Cranmer Hall. Charity No. 1141701 Limited Company No. 113496 (England and Wales) VAT No. 334 6364 57.