Durham University is a great choice for anyone hoping to study a degree in the UK. The beautiful and historic city of Durham provides an inspiring backdrop for work and study. However, many students wonder whether Durham University is a campus university. This is a key question for many students looking to study at university, as the convenience of having everything close by can be appealing. However, some students also do not want to go to a university which is self-contained, preferring to mix with locals in a more open environment. In this article, we will explain whether Durham is a campus university, and go into detail about the benefits and drawbacks of Durham’s status.
Durham is not a campus university and is instead based in the city of Durham. Its buildings are spread throughout the city, but often clustered on key sites such as the library area. It does not take long to get between these sites, and it is very easy to walk around Durham, or get a bus.
While this should have given you a short answer to your questions about the system at this university, please read on for the full details of Durham and a student’s perspective on studying there.
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Does Durham have a university campus?
Durham University is based in the city of Durham, a beautiful and historic city in the north of England. The university’s buildings are based throughout the city. This means that it is not a campus university, as it is not all based on one central location or block alone, but interspersed with houses, churches, shops, and the other things you would find in any city.
However, it does have some key areas where buildings are “clustered”. For example, the main library (Bill Byson) is on the same site as Geography, Physics, and some other key teaching centres. This area also houses: the Teaching and Learning Centre, and the Palatine Centre, which is where many key student services are located.
Furthermore, there is The Bailey, which is a road near the city centre which curves around the cathedral. This is where many of the colleges (and therefore student accommodations) are located, as well as some departments such as Theology and Music.
These key points of proximity make it very easy to get around Durham University, as usually everything you need for a day is close together. While Durham does not have a campus, the key buildings tend to be clustered together, in smaller campus like areas of the city.
Does it take a long time to get around Durham University?
This system of clustered buildings may give you the sense that everything is spread across a large area in Durham, but with small dense parts. However, this is not the case.
Looking at maps of Durham can be very intimidating, as everything looks like its miles away from each other. As a student I was very concerned before getting here that I would have to walk miles each day. However, this is not the case.
While it can look very spread out, the furthest I have to walk personally on a weekly basis is 30 mins, which is the time it takes me to get completely from one side of the city in my accommodation to a rehearsal on the other side. Therefore, it does not take very long to get around Durham, even if you are trying to get to somewhere “far away”.
There are also regular and cheap buses all around Durham and to key university sites, which are a great option. Students get a reduced fee on presenting their card, so be sure to check this out if you choose to come to Durham.
This page from the Durham website has a helpful map feature which allows you to compare how far each place you need to visit may be. It also shows the clusters I have described in more depth, with all the buildings labelled. I found it hugely helpful in my first week, while I was learning where everything was, and also on open days to plan my route.
What are some options of campus universities in the UK?
The Complete University guide has ranked the top 10 campus universities in the UK in this article. In it they discuss student satisfaction, as well as other key factors, to explain how they came to these opinions.
The top ranked choice is Loughborough University. They have a beautiful green campus with everything you would need as a student, demonstrating all the key benefits of campus university life.
The second ranked campus university is the University of Bath. Bath has other key higher education institutes nearby, meaning that the city has great nightlife. However, unlike city universities it can be harder to explore this local nightlife from a campus university, as is explained below.
For more details on other campus universities, please visit the article linked above, as it has very helpful details on all aspects of these universities.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of a campus university?
Please note that you should not base your choice of university on whether or not it is a campus. There are many more important factors to consider, and ultimately whether a university is a campus or not will not overly affect your life as a student in many places.
The main advantage of campus universities is their convenience. Everything, including libraries, accommodations, lectures, and labs, are on the same site. This means you do not have to worry about travelling a long way to get to class or running from one lecture to another.
However, the proximity can make it harder to explore the local area. When everything is close by, it is easy to stay in a student bubble and not interact with the community, or find the nightlife in other areas. Furthermore, there is often less nightlife surrounding these universities, as it is mostly student based.
Another strength is that campus universities are often said to have greater community spirit, as everyone is studying in the same location with many on-campus events to enjoy. However, as a Durham student I would say that the college system (as mentioned above) provides a great sense of belonging and community.
This is because it creates a smaller group of students who become like family throughout your studies. Therefore, this is not exclusive to campus universities, although admittedly, not all city universities have colleges.
Other commonly stated benefits of campuses include safety, quiet space (usually due to a more rural location), and connection to nature with green space. However again, I would suggest that all of these can easily be found in Durham and many other non-campus universities, so are not exclusive to campuses.