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University Strategy 2017-2027

Building on Strength


Durham is a world top 100 university with a global reputation for excellence in research and education. The QS World University Rankings 2016-17 placed us 74th – and we rose from 3rd to 2nd among UK universities for research citations by faculty member. Additionally, we ranked 39th globally for the employability of our students by blue-chip companies worldwide.

In the UK we are a respected member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive universities. The 2018 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide placed us 5th in the UK overall and demand for places to study at Durham is strong and growing.

Proud to be different

But we are so much more than our league table positions and so much more than a research-intensive university which offers outstanding teaching.

Our students benefit from being members for life of one of our sixteen residential Colleges, each of which offers a diverse and supportive community in which they can thrive and develop both personally and academically. Additionally, the Durham Students’ Union and Experience Durham, which co-ordinate our renowned drama, music, leadership, sport and volunteering programmes, ensure that our students enjoy an unrivalled student experience.

Durham University combines academic excellence with a commitment to producing the highly motivated, well-rounded and socially engaged leaders of tomorrow. In American parlance, we are a ‘Public Ivy’.

Shaping our future

Durham University is committed to delivering excellence across the board in research, education and the wider student experience – and in key respects we do this already.

Nevertheless, we can do better and to that end we have reviewed the size, shape and mission of the University. Some major changes are already in train:

  • We currently have 15,000 students in Durham City and 2,500 students at our Queen’s Campus, Stockton. The Council of the University has taken the decision to base all Durham University students and academics in Durham City from 2018/19. The Queen’s Campus will be repurposed in line with its long history as a place of innovation. Starting in 2017 it will host an International Study Centre (ISC) which the University will run in partnership with Study Group.
  • The Council of the University has decided that Durham’s School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, which is currently based in Stockton, will join the medical school at Newcastle University at the start of academic year 2017/18.
  • We are committed to building research critical mass in all of our academic Departments. Following extensive work, Council has agreed to increase the student population at Durham University to 21,500 by 2027. Distinguished faculty members will be recruited in sufficient numbers to improve our staff-student ratios.
  • We are committed to housing over 50% of our students in College accommodation by 2027. To meet this objective the University will establish four to six new Colleges in partnership with private sector developers.
  • We have set in motion Durham DOES (Delivering Operational Excellence Strategy) to secure improvements in our operating efficiency.
  • Two Senate Working Groups have completed reports on academic recruitment and progression. We are enacting new procedures to ensure that we build and support a world class faculty across all our departments.

Taken in the round, these are major changes. It says a lot about the Durham University community that such far reaching decisions can be taken by our governing bodies in one calendar year. This bodes well for Durham’s future.

Our fundamentals are strong: we employ outstanding people, work with great students and benefit from a strong infrastructure. We have now reviewed our size, shape and mission. We know who we are and where we are going. We are doing well already, but we are keen to be so much more.

Key Milestones

Durham University Strategy 2017-2027

Durham University Strategy 2017-2027

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An overview of Durham University Strategy 2017-2027, which will ensure Durham continues to deliver world-class research, education and wider student experience.