We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

St Mary's College

Undergraduate Life

Every Durham University student belongs to a college - a vibrant, supportive community full of opportunities for you to gain new experiences, develop skills to achieve more in your future life and make the most of your time at University.

When you arrive in Durham as a new student, you have the opportunity to become integrated into both College life and the life of the wider University. For many, St Mary’s College is not just a “home from home”, but a place where friendships are forged that last a life time, often through getting involved in one or more of the large variety of JCR clubs and societies.

Junior Common Room (JCR)

The JCR, or Junior Common Room, is the body of undergraduate students in college. Each college has its own JCR and you'll find that they all have their own identities, and we think that Mary's JCR is one of the friendliest, most welcoming and all-encompassing JCRs you're likely to find - everyone gets involved!

When you arrive at Mary's as an undergraduate you're automatically a member of the JCR and therefore entitled to get involved and have your say. Membership of the JCR involves paying a one-off subscription that goes towards the running of all of the JCR events and activities in College. Students are encouraged to be part of the JCR as your experience will be all the richer, but there is no obligation to do so and students are given the opportunity to opt out. Students choosing to opt-out would not be able to participate in activities organised by their Common Room or run for elected positions or vote.

At Mary's we believe there is something for everyone. We have sports teams, drama groups, music societies and outreach groups, as well as social events such Michaelmas Dinner, Winter Ball, Masquerade Ball, Midsummer Ball, and Mary's Day when we deck the place out in Mary's purple and celebrate everything that is Mary's! However, students with a special interest that is not already represented can set up a society or club of their own, with the support of the College.

For a better idea of what Mary's is all about, visit the JCR You Tube Channel or have a look at the JCR Website and browse the pages, blogs and pictures.

If you have any further questions on life in Mary's, the JCR or anything else, please contact the JCR President at or telephone 0191 334 5933 (office).

A Scholarly Community

College also provides an environment that supports you in your studies. Drawing students from all disciplines, and across all years, Colleges are natural multi-disciplinary communities, giving you the chance to engage in debate and exchange ideas and learning with your peers on a daily basis. This occurs not necessarily in formal settings, although that is certainly an option, but through the everyday interactions that occur through living in close proximity to each and coming together regularly for meals.

Our students are also supported in their studies through the Student Support Team, College Mentoring system, the College Librarian, and the Chaplain, providing information, guidance and support as you make the transition from school to independent learner.

The College is also fortunate to have a vibrant Middle Common Room and Senior Common Room that allows our undergraduate students to engage with post-graduates and members of the academic and local community on a regular basis. The SCR supports our undergraduates with its Annual Research Award and by organising public lectures in College.

Our students are also supported in their academic and extra-curricular endeavours through our Alumni body, with funding that supports our students in buying of text books, travelling abroad, and the development of the many clubs and societies that the JCR has to offer. The soon to launch Mary’s Careers and Alumni Network (Mary’s CAN) will also provide current students with the chance to be in touch with alumni in a range of jobs and roles, to help them as they take their next steps, beyond University.