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Durham University


Study options

There are many ways you can study at Durham University.

You can apply for a taught course offering lecture, seminar-based or practical study in a specific area, undertake your own studies under expert academic supervision as part of a research degree, or register for a professional doctorate combining taught modules with an extended research thesis.

Each route has its own unique features and benefits.

The benefits of postgraduate study

Postgraduate taught study will extend your knowledge and skills and allow you to specialise in a subject beyond undergraduate level, or make a change in career direction. It could also act as a foundation for undertaking further study at research degree level. Whereas the completion of a postgraduate research degree will enable you to make a significant contribution towards your chosen field, and your work could influence others in the future. Career options are incredibly diverse, both within and outside academia. If you are looking to pursue a career in academia, then a PhD is an essential qualification for work researching or teaching in higher education. Alternatively, the analytical, intellectual and research skills you gain are highly transferable to other industries.

Having a postgraduate degree from Durham University will enable you to stand out in a competitive job market.

Flexible study routes are available to fit around your life and preferred style of study, and you can study for most qualifications on a full-time or part-time basis.

Taught Courses

Postgraduate taught degrees can enhance your employability, or act as a foundation for undertaking further study at research degree level. The postgraduate taught route is ideal for students who want a structured framework for their studies. Most taught degrees are one year Masters courses delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Our taught degrees blend core and optional modules in specialist subject areas, with a substantial dissertation or research project. Courses normally start in September or October (Michaelmas term).

Research degrees

Durham University offers a wide range of research degrees. Students develop their own timetable of academic study under the supervision of a team of academic staff. Their roles are to help and support you to undertake your research project and complete your degree on time. The University ensures that your supervisory team has appropriate expertise in your area of study, and we have extensive training and mentoring programmes to support them to deliver high-quality supervision. When applying to study for a research degree you should consult with your academic department to check that a supervisor with expertise in your chosen subject area is available to support you.

Our research qualifications can be studied for one, two or three years (full-time), or two, four or six years (part-time). As well as conventional research degrees, we also offer innovative professional doctorates, giving students the opportunity to follow a structured programme of taught modules before undertaking an extended research thesis.

International Study Centre

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to a postgraduate degree, you may be eligible to take a pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre. Located at Queen’s Campus, Stockton, the centre provides a supportive environment where you will be introduced to the style of teaching you will experience should you progress on to your degree. Taught over two or three terms depending on your English language score, the Pre-Masters programme combines modules to increase your academic knowledge in your chosen area, improve your study skills and help you to reach the required English language level. Completing your pathway programme at the International Study Centre and achieving the required grades means that you can progress to your postgraduate degree at Durham University City Campus.

Find out more about the Durham University International Study Centre.

"Durham is warm and welcoming, and it was really easy to settle in from the offset. Being part of a research-led university with many world-leading academics has helped push my work further and encouraged me to make connections, collaborating with other scientists around the world."

William Trewby, PhD research area soft matter and biological physics.