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St John's College

Undergraduate 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 400 undergraduates, 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.

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.

Being such a small college it is 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 – one of the founders of the Fair Trade movement was a John’s graduate for example.

Why not take a look at our College Record 2016 to get a feel of College life?

Why choose St John's College?

There is so much on offer at St John's. 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 also home to a wide range 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.

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 a family like shared identity. The small size of the college means that is easy to get involved in many aspects of student life; from getting involved with the running of college through the JCR, through to student societies and interest groups. If you enjoy being part of a group of people who are all passionate about their own interests, yet keen to support, and be involved with, those of others – then John’s may be for you.

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

Order a prospectus

Durham University's Undergraduate Prospectus for 2017 entry is now available to order or you can view our full, interactive version online.

Meet a student

The reason I love St John's College is that it functions like a family. Being a small community there is a unity between the years and across friendship groups, which helps to create a welcoming and friendly dynamic. There is something for everyone: with bountiful sports teams, societies, music groups and theatre companies, John's is a place where each individual is recognised and celebrated for what they bring to the table. The college itself is charming - an idyllic row of houses in prime location along the Bailey - it truly feels and looks like a home. I adore the sense of college spirt, and am honoured to be part of such a lively, diverse, yet close-knit community. 

Flo, BA Theology

One of the best bits about John's is its close community and the friendliness of staff. It really is a home from home.

Vivian, 2016 graduate, BSc Health and Human Sciences

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.