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Cuths illuminated Michaelmas Ball Signage

St Cuthbert’s Society

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a college? 

Durham is a collegiate university, with 17 colleges across Durham City. All students at Durham are a member of a college and ‘live in’ during their first year.  Colleges are diverse communities, welcoming students from around the world who are studying across all disciplines within the University.  Whilst no teaching takes place within colleges, they provide opportunities for personal development, extracurricular activities, and a range of events for students to enjoy.  Each college has various ‘Common Rooms’ which represent its student body, such as the Junior Common Room, and designated social spaces as well as facilities such as café-bars, study space, library and areas for arts and sports.

If I am offered a place by my chosen department do I automatically get a place in my first-choice college? 

All applicants who are selected by a department will receive an offer of a college place, but it may not be in your first-choice college. All colleges have a quota for each subject proportionate to the size of the college. Some colleges receive more applications than others, particularly in some subjects. If the collegiate system appeals to you and you like Durham, the difference between the colleges is smaller than the difference between Durham and other universities. For further information on the college allocation process please click here

Please note for selection: St Cuthbert’s Society is College 4.

College Accommodation

What happens if I want to live at home?

Almost all our 1st years live in college accommodation for their first year but you may choose to live at home if you wish. Thereafter many students choose to live out, at home or in private rented accommodation. There are some students who choose to live in during their final year or for the whole of their time in Durham and normally we can offer that choice.

What type of accommodation is available at St Cuthbert’s Society?

At St Cuthbert’s Society we are unique in the fact we have 2 accommodation sites. We have the Bailey site which consists of single/twin rooms with shared facilities and these rooms are all fully catered.  Our Parson’s Field site consists of standard single self-catered rooms with shared facilities and single en-suite self-catered rooms.   These rooms also come with the option to opt in to the Meal Package (10 meals per week – lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday).  More information can be found here.

When do I apply for accommodation?

Undergraduate students who have met the conditions of their offer and have returned their AS12 confirming their place will be offered accommodation. You will be asked to fill out a room allocation form in August. The form will ask you to list your order of preference for accommodation. Once we have received everyone’s form, we will start allocation. This is not done on a first come first served basis. If we are oversubscribed in a particular accommodation, we will allocate by lottery to make the process as fair as possible.

What do I need to bring?

There are a number of things that you should bring to College. If you are travelling from overseas, you may wish to buy much of this when you arrive.

There are a number of things that you should bring to College. If you are travelling from overseas, you may wish to buy much of this when you arrive.

Clothes - bring clothes to cater for every eventuality including warm clothes and waterproofs! You’ll also need formal wear for Induction as well as for other events throughout the year.

Bedding - Beds in College are single sized (90 x 190cm) and you need to provide your own duvets, pillows and sheets, (mattress cover is provided.) You should also bring your own towels. Bedding packs are available for purchase to international students.

Kitchens – Self-catered kitchens are fitted with a fridge/freezer, toaster, kettle and microwave. Pantries in full-board accommodation have a fridge, toaster, kettle and microwave as standard. If you are self-catered or part catered, you will need to bring all your own crockery i.e. mugs, plates, bowls, as well as pans, baking trays, utensils etc. If you are full-board, bring some mugs, basic crockery and cutlery. Irons and ironing boards are provided in each kitchen or a central location in each building.

Toiletries – You need to provide your own toiletries such as shampoo, soap etc. If allocated an en-suite room, you will need to bring your own toilet paper.

Food – You may wish to bring a small amount of food with you for the first few days. You can go shopping or arrange a supermarket delivery shortly after arrival. Meals will be provided for full-board and part catered students through induction week.

Electrical items from outside the UK. 

Please note: for safety reasons, electric appliance adaptors are not allowed in University residences. Please do not use your electrical equipment in the residences unless you have an undamaged British cable with a 3 pin plug, this must be stamped BS1363 to connect to the electrical supply.

Electrical equipment can only be used in university residences if connected by a UK cable. Some electrical equipment, such as computer laptops, mobile phones etc. have separate cables for connecting to the electrical supply. It is possible to buy separate cables in the UK in order to use your electric equipment safely in your college.

Kitchen items, including rice cookers can be bought locally at reasonable prices.

The electricity supply in the UK has a much higher voltage than in some countries outside Europe. It is therefore very important that electrical appliances are used safely - an electric shock can be fatal!

Further advice on what to bring for students travelling from overseas can be found here.

How much does it cost to live in St Cuthbert’s Society Accommodation?

Please refer to the Undergraduate/Postgraduate residence charges



Residence Charges are inclusive of heating, electricity, water and WIFI.

Will I have Insurance Cover for my accommodation?

Durham University have arranged contents insurance cover from Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd for students who reside in College accommodation.

Will I have to move out during vacation periods?

 Your licence to occupy allows you to stay in College over the vacation period.

Can I Park my Car?

You are strongly advised not to bring a vehicle to College. Wherever possible, please use public transport, cycle, walk or share transport to and from campus.  Cycle storage and stands are provided in College and across the university campus.  The University Car parking Policy is available for further information.

Where is St Cuthbert’s Society in relation to lecture halls and supermarkets in Durham?

The main college office and our catered accommodation is located on South Bailey. This is about a 10 minute walk to the Science Site and a couple of minutes to the departments on the Bailey and in the City Centre.  Our Parson’s Field site is also just a 10/15-minute walk from the Science Site and the City Centre where you will find many shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

College Life

What is the JCR?

The Junior Common Room (JCR) is the College’s undergraduate student body. The Group is represented by the JCR President and committee.  The JCR helps to provide student enrichment and the wider student experience.

What Does the JCR do?

The JCR organises events, runs multiple sports teams and creates societies within College. The JCR Committee meet regularly to discuss issues within College, feeding back comments about their role and what improvements could be made to give our students the best experiences possible. The JCR is run by students who are elected by their peers to run specific aspects of College life such as balls, welfare campaigns, socials and gowned events.

What is the JCR levy?

In order to operate the JCR ask students to pay an optional one-off payment that covers your entire time at St Cuthbert’s Society. Students that choose this are offered the opportunity to get involved in the JCR in ways such as playing in sports teams, joining societies, attending events, getting involved in various volunteering and charity opportunities and much more.

Welfare and Support

If I am worried about something who can help me?

We have several people you can turn to. If it is an academic matter you will have an Academic Advisor in your Department who should be your first port of call. If it’s a non-academic issue, you can speak with our Assistant Principal (Student Support), Charlotte Imlach (, or you might want to chat informally with the JCR welfare officers or welfare reps. If you require specialised support we can signpost you to the University’s specialised central services and in some case to external agencies. There is plenty of support available, all you need to do is ask!

What Additional support is available for international students on arrival?

International Student arrive a few days before home and EU students so that they can complete various admin. procedures and accustom themselves to life in Durham and in College. There are events organised before Fresher’s week to ensure all the necessary procedures and enrolments have been completed and that you have established contact with your department.  The JCR work hard to make sure that you feel at home in College and run various events to help you settle-in and make new friends.

Do Freshers have the opportunity to mix with students from other colleges and courses?

Yes, you will meet many students from other colleges through your lectures and seminars. College bars also have opening hours where students from other colleges can visit.  College level sport teams can also compete with teams from other colleges and inter-college socials have been arranged in the past across the year.