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.

World-class education

We have a long-established commitment to research, and delivering cutting-edge, research-led education is at the heart of what we do.
This means that our academic staff are more than lecturers simply teaching from books; the research they conduct shapes and inspires the academic structure of our departments and it directly informs our teaching, ensuring that academic course content is right up to date with current developments.
You will directly benefit from the world-class research taking place here at Durham and learn from world leaders.


We believe that enabling your development as an independent learner is key: our focus on research-led education means that all courses focus on project learning and students working in small groups.
You’ll be challenged and inspired to actively to engage and study outside of timetabled contact hours, both within your academic department and beyond it, for example in college or other student-led activities. The outstanding impact of Durham students at the forefront of research is clear: There are strong links between employer-sponsored research projects (for example with Rolls-Royce, Proctor & Gamble and British Gas) and future employment with the sponsoring company.


“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.”

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.

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