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Durham University


Information for unsuccessful applicants

Every year we receive many more applications than the number of offers we can make. This means that we inevitably we have to disappoint many excellent applicants who meet and often exceed our standard offer requirements, but whose applications are, in our assessment, not the strongest we have received. In 2017-18 for example, we received 29,218 applications (not including applications for deferred entry) for 4644 places.

We take a holistic approach to every application, seeking to recruit the most able and motivated students who can best benefit from a Durham University education. Applications are individually assessed in an open competition relative to other applications to the course. We take multiple factors into account to identify those candidates with the greatest merit and potential. Only after taking these factors into account do our admissions selectors make their final decision.

The University has targets for each of its courses and has a set number of offers that can be made for each course in any given admissions cycle to meet those targets. Consequently, admissions is a competitive and comparative process. So as well as assessing each application against our entry requirements and selection criteria, we also compare them to the very best examples of applications received that year for the specific course. The best applications from those received, that is those that are most competitive, will be the applications that are successful. As a consequence, one of the most common reasons why applications are unsuccessful is simply that there were other applications that were, in our opinion, stronger. That does not mean that an unsuccessful application did not have merit or that it would not be successful in another cycle, just that it was not as strong as others on this occasion.

We are only able to provide detailed feedback to unsuccessful applicants who submit a feedback request form. We will respond in writing via the email address listed on the UCAS application for the applicant, please note we will not begin to respond to these requests until the 1st of April 2020.

Please bear in mind that we will not disclose details of your application to a third party such as a parent or teacher without your express permission in writing.

Feedback Request Form >>

For all other admissions queries not relating to feedback, please contact us via or +44 (0)191 334 1000