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Durham University


Study options

At Durham University we offer one of the broadest course ranges of any UK university, allowing you to tailor your degree to meet your needs. We offer undergraduate courses which can be studied in the following ways:

  • Single Honours
  • Joint Honours
  • Single Honours with subsidiary subjects
  • Single Honours with a named subsidiary subject
  • Named routes in Natural Sciences and pathways in Liberal Arts or Combined Honours in Social Sciences in which you study three or four subjects
  • Four-year honours programmes in some subjects.

Our modular degree system gives you even more flexibility by:

  • Combining subjects
  • Studying one or more subjects in depth
  • Tailoring your degree to meet your needs.

The Modular System

Our modular degree system allows you to tailor your degree to meet your needs. You can study a range of subjects, or study a discipline, or disciplines, in depth - the choice is yours.

Every degree programme offers you a range of modules across your subject area, but you must always study six modules in each year of your degree programme. So, if you are reading a three year programme, you will follow 18 modules and for a four year science programme, 24 modules. Before you begin to select your modules, you need to consider a number of things.

What choice your main degree programme allows you?

Every named degree programme requires you to study clearly specified modules from that subject or subjects. This requirement places a natural limit on the number of non-compulsory modules you can read. You can, in many cases, study all your modules from your home subject(s) if you wish, but the scheme has been designed to allow you a choice of subjects in most cases, particularly in your first year.

Are the subjects from which you wish to select your modules compatible?

For timetabling reasons and to maintain academic coherence, you will not be able to combine modules from some subjects. For information on module compatibilities, please contact the Admissions Tutor for the course you wish to study.

Do you have the right qualifications to study a particular module?

The qualifications you need are called 'pre-requisites'. For specific advice, please contact the Admissions Tutor for the course you wish to study.

Would you like to take open modules?

Almost all our programmes offer up to two single modules which can be taken outside the home department in the first year. This is an ideal opportunity to broaden your range of study, or to complement your chosen path. You will need to check with your Admissions Tutor that you satisfy pre-requisites for open modules and to ensure compatibility with your timetable. A full list of open modules can be seen at

Which exit qualifications are available?

If you start at Durham University and (for whatever reason) you are not able to complete the full three or four years for an Honours degree, you have the option to leave with a Certificate or Diploma, provided that you have obtained the required number of credits in modules at the appropriate level.

International Foundation Year

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to an undergraduate 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 three terms, the International Foundation Year combines modules to increase your academic knowledge in your chosen area, improve your study skills and help you to reach the required English language levels. Completing your pathway programme at the International Study Centre and achieving the required grades means that you can progress to your undergraduate degree at Durham University City Campus.