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We’re launching a new scholarship scheme to support UK students of Black heritage to study English literature at Durham, where their financial circumstances may be a barrier to them accessing higher education.  

Launching in autumn this year, eligible applicants will be able to apply for the Scholarship from the 2024/25 academic year.  

The scholarships will be available to one undergraduate per intake who will receive £4,000 annually, for a minimum of three years, during their time at Durham. 

It can be used towards study-related expenses. 

It is the latest in a range of scholarship opportunities and student support packages available at the University.  

Broadcaster donates £120,000 to fund scholarship

The scholarship has been made possible by Durham graduate, the UK journalist and broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who has donated £120,000.  

Jeremy, who graduated in 1986 with a degree in English literature, said: “I’ve watched the University with a great deal of love in the years since I left.  

“I’ve always felt incredibly grateful to the University for being patient with me, teaching me to love poetry and setting me on a great course in life.   

“As the years go on I become more and more grateful. I’ve never really known how to express that gratitude until now.  

“I’ve been lucky with my parents, lucky with my schooling and very lucky with my University.    

“And I thought, ‘how do I share that luck?’ and help make a place as wonderful as Durham as open as possible to every single person who might benefit from studying there.” 

Student support 

Jeremy was inspired by his friend and Durham University graduate, Joel Donovan KC, who funds a similar scholarship at the University’s Law School.  

Durham law student Fiyinfoluwa Agoro-Adeniyi is a recipient of the Joel Donovan Law KC Scholarship which offers financial support to UK students of Black heritage pursuing undergraduate study at Durham Law School.   

Fiyinfoluwa said: “This scholarship allowed me to comfortably enjoy my Durham experience.   

“Alongside the bursary granted, I was presented with a helpful and approachable team of people who I knew I could rely on no matter the area of interest.    

“As a student myself, I can only speak to the calibre of support that was bestowed upon me.  

“I would encourage anyone in need of support or dealing with circumstances which are stifling their university experience, to apply for such a scholarship.”   

Professor Karen O’Brien, Vice-Chancellor and Warden, said: “As someone who shares Jeremy’s love of literature and a former English literature student myself, I am particularly grateful for his support in helping us to ensure that we can do more to extend the precious opportunity to study English to students who might otherwise face barriers to studying at Durham.   

“Durham has an outstanding English Department and we are delighted to have this support.”  

'A very welcome addition to our existing grant and scholarship schemes'

Shaid Mahmood, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), said: “These scholarships are a very welcome addition to our existing grant and scholarship schemes, which are vital in supporting students from a range of diverse communities, who may not have applied otherwise, to thrive at Durham University.”  

Professor Janet Stewart, Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities), said: “We are working hard to ensure we have a diverse and inclusive student community here at Durham University.  

“We want to encourage and support students from all backgrounds with the merit and potential to succeed at Durham. 

“We’re delighted to hear how valuable Jeremy's time at Durham was to him and grateful to him for enabling others to study with us.  

“We are looking forward to welcoming the first Jeremy Vine Scholar in English Literature to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in the new academic year.” 

Eligible applicants will be able to apply for the scholarship for the 2024/25 academic year.  

Further details will be available on our website this autumn.   

Find out more:  

  • Read all about our undergraduate course in English literature here 
  • Explore the scholarships on offer at Durham 
  • Feeling inspired? Visit our English Studies webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.  

Ranked 3rd by the Guardian University Guide 2023 and 38th in the 2023 QS World University Rankings by subject, the English Department boasts award-winning poets and a recently named New Generation Thinker amongst our teaching staff.  

Our broad subject range is made possible by our large and thriving community of more than 900 students, researchers and academics, with a busy programme of events including lectures, seminars, reading and discussion groups.