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

Durham University STEP

Durham University STEP

Our response to the Covid-19 infection

Durham University remains open and we are responding to and planning for the Covid-19 pandemic and the months ahead with the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, students and local community as our priority.

Following government and University advice, we have moved the delivery of STEP online. The event will take place on the same dates and more information will be given to successful students via email. Our team has been working hard to plan and organise STEP online, and we are confident that we will be able to provide you with excellent resources that ensure you remain supported on your journey to Higher Education.

As of 17th March 2020, the Access and Engagement team will be following the latest advice by working remotely from home.
If you have any questions or need to get in touch please email:
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.

Durham University’s Space to Explore Potential (STEP) is a brand new programme for 2020. We are delighted to be working with Reach Society to make this programme happen and grateful for the Society's support.

STEP offers a dedicated space for young black students, who are typically underrepresented at Durham University, to explore not only their own potential, but all that Durham has to offer as a potential university destination.


Applications for 2020 are have now closed. The application deadline was 23:59 on 28 February 2020. If you are interested in applying for STEP 2021, please refer back to these pages in September 2020.

What is STEP?

STEP students will have the opportunity to stay in one of our 16 Colleges at a three day, two night residential summer school. On the summer school, STEP students will take part in a variety of sessions and activities that showcase the Durham experience, from academic taster sessions to social activities. STEP students will receive a comprehensive range of information, advice, and guidance (IAG) about UCAS, personal statements, and student finance. Additionally, the residential will provide STEP students with a safe space to network with current black students, staff, and academics at Durham, listening to their stories and asking any questions they may have about life at Durham University.

STEP is aimed at black students studying in Year 12 at a state school. In particular, we hope to offer places to those who will benefit most from the additional support available. To do this, we will give priority to applicants meeting the criteria here.

Benefits of STEP - Why should I apply?

As a STEP student, you will have a chance to come to Durham and take part in a residential summer school. Attendees of the residential will also have the opportunity to undertake a form of academic skills assessment. Students who pass the assessment could be eligible for a guaranteed conditional offer from Durham University, with alternative grade conditions (at least two grades lower than the prospectus offer i.e. ABB instead of AAA), should they apply to Durham in Year 13. Please understand that it is the offer that would be guaranteed not the place – you still have to get the grades for example! Naturally, there are a number of terms and conditions that apply to this. We will explain this in full if you are successful in gaining a place on the programme.

The 'S' in STEP stands for Space. We thought we'd expand a little on what this means and before you get excited, no we're not talking about rockets or anything extra-terrestrial. Rather, 'space' refers to both the physical space here at the University and the opportunity afforded to students who take part. STEP students will benefit from staying in one of our 16 colleges, experiencing university level teaching in our teaching facilities. We also intend to create a supportive and inclusive environment where students can take the time to learn about Durham and ask challenging questions. The overall aim of STEP is to provide students with an excellent insight into life at Durham University so that they may make a fully informed decision when choosing which universities to apply to in Year 13.

To Explore. There are two common definitions of 'explore' - to 'search and discover' and to 'think or talk about something in order to find out more about it'. STEP aims to give students an opportunity to do both. Whether you're taking part in a campus tour, visiting the city centre, using our facilities, or participating in workshops and activities, you will have a number of opportunities to learn more about Durham University. As a STEP student you will be encouraged to develop the key skills and knowledge you need to make a successful transition to university life. As part of the programme, you will have the opportunity to work on a range of skills from leadership, communication and teamwork, and of course key academic skills.

Potential. When it comes to university admissions, it is a two-way relationship. Student choice is arguably more important now than it has ever been. So when we think about your potential, we want to focus on what you could do at Durham and what Durham could do for you, not just your potential to come here in the first place. In this way, it is important that STEP students engage critically with the University and understand that the 'potential' we are giving you space to explore is the potential you could realise at Durham by taking advantage of the many opportunities available to you, should you choose to apply to study with us.

Contact Details

Access & Engagement
Palatine Centre
Durham University
Stockton Road
Visit the Reach Society website