Skip to main content

The Wider Student Experience

Students taking part in archery, rowing and baseball

We recognise that there is much more to student life than studying.

At Durham we provide an environment dedicated to delivering an unrivalled experience outside of your studies. Our distinctive collegiate system, dedicated wider student experience organisations and Durham Students' Union combine to enable you to create and shape your own individual student experience.

Live and learn with people from a diverse range of nationalities and backgrounds. Over 85% of our students are involved in sport, music, theatre, volunteering or student enterprise. We have over 700 college sports teams across 18 sports, 86 music societies including 28 Music Durham, eight chapel choirs and 50 college societies. There are also over 200 student societies to join. 

As well as being the number one UK university for team sports, we have also invested £2.4m in the new Assembly Rooms Theatre. 


Find your place in the UK’s largest university sports programme. Sport is at the core of Durham student life. A huge range of sporting opportunities is available. Whether you are looking to keep fit or be part of a team, you will have the chance to join in and give it a go. From joining college teams to competing at University level and beyond, there is a place for you. Whether you are already experienced or a complete beginner, the University offers exceptional opportunities to get involved. You might even discover a sporting talent you never knew you had. 

At Durham, we are committed to your wellbeing too. We offer students every chance to participate in a variety of wellness activities, ranging from fitness classes to outward-bound clubs,and from pilates to movement psychotherapy.  

College sport 

Our college sport programme is the largest in the UK. Every week and whatever your level, you will have the opportunity to compete in 18 sports across more than 700 different teams. This helps you to keep fit and healthy. It is also a great way to make new friends and have fun.  

University sport 

Durham has 57 University Sports Clubs, with a collective student membership of over 2,500. Most of our clubs compete in British University Sport competitions. We also have a growing National League programme. This allows many of our most talented students and clubs to compete at the highest level of sport in the UK. 

If you’re a high-performing athlete, our Athlete Support Programme will help you reach the next level. Support is available through strength and conditioning, performance analysis and injury rehabilitation. Sports psychology and a personal mentoring scheme will help you achieve your optimum performance and we currently support over 50 internationally capped athletes annually. All this while studying for one of the best academic degrees in the country. It really is the best of both worlds. 


Try something new and make a positive impact in your local communityWe encourage our students to volunteer during their time at Durham. Through our student-led, volunteering and outreach programmes, you’ll be able to take part in over 80 projects. These cover social inclusion, education, sport, the environment, and global citizenship. As well as making new friends and enjoying new experiences, you will help to strengthen your local community. You will benefit from outstanding training opportunities and have the chance to earn nationally accredited qualifications. 


Each individual college also has its own outreach programmes. So you’ll be able to get involved in a wide range of volunteering opportunities wherever you feel most comfortable. 


The perfect place to embrace your passion for music Whether you want to compete on an international stage, play for fun, or simply listen and enjoy, we have got a group for you. From chapel choirs to bands, and chamber groups to orchestras, our thriving music scene embraces every style.  

Here you will find capella groups and world music ensembles, chamber quartets and rock operas. As well as local, national, and international performances, you’ll also have the opportunity to take part in masterclasses and outreach work, or join Music Durham’s student committee to learn new skills in leadership, event planning, and arts management.  

Each college is home to a host of ensembles and performance opportunities, while the Students’ Union runs music societies ranging from rock to folk music and jazz. If music production is more your thing, there’s even a DJ Society and a student-run record label, DH1 records. 


A student performing on stage at the Assembly Rooms TheatrePlay a part in one of the largest and most successful student theatre scenes in the country If you love theatre, Durham is simply outstanding. Here, students produce and perform an unparalleled range of eclectic and inspiring shows every year. You will be welcome whether you have a lot of experience or none at all. You might like to tread the boards, but you might prefer to help backstage, produce or direct a show. You could even start your own theatre company. Durham Student Theatre (DST) will support you to do what you love doing or want to learn to do.

With 30 theatre companies and its own dedicated 175-seat theatre, DST is always keen to recruit new members with a passion for performance and produces more than 100 shows every year.  

Durham Drama Festival  

Showcasing the very best that DST has to offer, Durham Drama Festival is an entirely student-run, annual festival, celebrating new student writing and student-created shows. National Student Drama Festival Year after year, DST is one of the most successful student theatre scenes of any university at the festival. In fact, for five consecutive years, Durham students have had multiple shows selected for the National Student Drama Festival. This is unprecedented and we are incredibly proud of this achievement. You can be part of it. 


Published every fortnight and available online, the student-run newspaper Palatinate offers students from all degrees the chance to learn about journalism and try their hands at writing, researching, editing, print and web-publishing.  

Purple Radio 

Our student-run radio station offers plenty of opportunities to try presenting, production, journalism, technical marketing and more.