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Study options

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


Postgraduate 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 at the beginning of Michaelmas term in September or October.


Research degrees (full-time/part-time)

Durham University is a research intensive university which offers a wide range of research degrees. Research students develop their own timetable of academic study under the supervision of a team of two or more 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 have appropriate expertise in your area of study, and we have extensive training and mentoring programmes to support them to deliver high-quality supervision.

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.

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.

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 International Study 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 International Study Centre.

“I found my MA programme to be stimulating and intellectually challenging, and within a very short period I knew that I wanted to stay in Durham for my PhD studies. I had an ideal supervisor, a supportive department, world-class research facilities, and a vibrant and engaged scholarly community. Durham University has been really supportive throughout my studies, always encouraging and helping students to think big.”

David Varley, MA and PhD in English Literature.

International Study Centre

Pre-Masters pathway focuses on the skills and the academic areas most useful for your Masters degree. Apply now via the International Study Centre.

Ranked 5th in the UK.

The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018