We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University


Learning and teaching


"Durham University delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK."

TEF 2018

The results of the latest Teaching Excellence and Student Outcome Framework (TEF) provide further evidence of our excellent approach to teaching and learning. Durham University is proud to be rated at Gold, with the TEF panel noting particular evidence of:
      • Comprehensive support mechanisms that are in place to ensure students from all backgrounds achieve outstanding outcomes
      • Rigorous monitoring procedures, which are part of an institutional culture that facilitates, recognises and rewards excellent teaching and is embedded across the provider
      • Research-led provision providing students with relevant employability skills that are most highly valued by employers.

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) recognises excellent teaching in UK higher education. The TEF was developed by the Department for Education and is carried out by the Office for Students. The ratings are judged by an independent panel of students, academics and other experts.

Research-led education

We emphasise the development of students as independent learners; our focus on research-led education means that all courses have an emphasis on project learning and students working in small groups. Appropriate contact hours are designed to actively encourage students to engage and study outside of timetabled contact hours, both within their academic discipline and beyond it, participating in college, student-led and centrally delivered activities. The impact of Durham students at the forefront of research is evidenced by the links between employer-sponsored research projects (with employers such as Rolls-Royce, Proctor & Gamble and British Gas) and future employment with the sponsoring company.

“My four years of Earth Sciences at Durham gave me much more than just a solid grounding in the fundamentals of geology, it brought me right up to the cutting edge of science. I have undertaken research projects delving into unknowns at the forefront of science, collaborated with industry on real projects, and gained over 15 weeks of field experience in areas of world class geology across six different countries.”

Jordan Phethean, MSci Earth Sciences

Jordan Phethean


The outstanding quality of teaching at Durham University is reflected in external assessments, in student feedback and in the success of our students both during and after their studies.

We are currently ranked seventh in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and fifth in the Guardian University Guide 2019. In the QS World University Rankings 2019, Durham is ranked 74th. These league tables use metrics including student satisfaction and graduate employability prospects and reflect the University’s commitment to teaching as a core institutional priority.

Inside Out

The programme that brings together Durham University criminology students (Outside) with residents from within the prison (Inside) to discuss and study criminology issues as equals.
Read the full case study (PDF)

Inspired Teaching

Student engagement and empowerment are at the core of Anna’s work, whether it be teaching and learning, curriculum design, or student support.
Read the full case study (PDF)

Transitions into Higher Education

Jacquie's first-year lab course takes a blended approach, combining 1:1 laboratory contact with students with a full suite of online support resources and regular contact emails and invitations for questions and queries.
Read the full case study (PDF)


Academic Skills development

The Academic Skills Programme provides a study skills support service that enhances the academic skills development of all undergraduates. Comprising both bespoke online resources and face-to-face classes, the programme has become an important and valuable tool for students. Student numbers have doubled and participants reported that the support received had results in a noticeable improvement in their work. We have expanded the programme significantly over the last three years, doubling the number of available workshops between 2014 and 2016. Over 2,000 students now undertake study skills workshops annually.

Bridging the gap between secondary and higher education

At Durham, students are engaged with their academic studies from the outset. Every course begins with Transitions, a pre-arrival e-learning course which helps students to bridge the gap between secondary education and research-led study. In addition, each course has an extended academic induction introducing students into their relevant academic community of practice.


“The quality of research was the main reason I chose Durham. The lectures are taught by world-leading academics who are experts in their field, and they often discuss the applications of the lecture course material to their own research. The research and latest developments from the academics is embedded and integrated into the lecture courses, making them up-to-date and current.”

Neshat Rozatian, MChem, Chemistry

Neshat Rozatian, MChem, Chemistry