Do you have an offer from St John’s?

Here is some information about the college!

About St John’s

St John’s is one of Durham’s older colleges.  It was founded in 1909 to train Anglican ordinands, as a theological college.  It remained independent until 1919, when it became one of the University’s constituent colleges.  Since then, it grew and welcomed hundreds of students alongside its ordinands.  In 1958, Cranmer Hall was established as a separate but integral part of St John’s College, and continues to be a welcoming place for ordinands to train to this day.  John’s Hall, the section of the college which caters for Undergraduates and Postgraduates, has continued to grow over the years, and has remained very modern and progressive in its outlook – in fact, St John’s was the first college in Durham University to become entirely co-educational. 

St John’s remains one of Durham’s smaller colleges, with around 500 undergraduate and 150 postgraduate students.  This doesn’t mean that it is any less friendly than other colleges in Durham, as John’s is known for being one of the most friendly and welcoming throughout Durham.  There is a strong sense of community within college, and everyone is accepted, welcomed and heard.  In many ways, the small size of John’s is a benefit – it makes it easier to feel more involved with college life and to get involved with sports, societies and student democracy within the college.  It is also easy to get to know lots of people from different backgrounds, subjects and year groups, as well as many of the staff, which pulls together to create a strong feeling of a united college family.


There are so many different types of rooms at John’s, so you are definitely not stuck for choice!  It is important to note that St John’s is a catered college.  If you decide to live in college, the price of your accommodation will also include all of your meals, so you don’t have to worry about cooking!

There are a number of different accommodation areas around college, which offer different types of accommodation.  The different areas are as follows:

·         Haughton Building

·         Linton Building

·         Cruddas Block

·         The Garth Block

·         Cranmer Building

·         28 North Bailey

The most common room at John’s is often known as a “standard” room, where you will get a bed, a sink, and you will share bathroom facilities with the rest of the people in your corridor (usually there is one bathroom to around six people).  There are also a number of double beds and some of the bathrooms have baths as well as showers!  If you do get a double bed, you do not have to pay any extra money, unlike at other colleges.  You will find these rooms in a number of areas around college, such as Cruddas, Haughton and Cranmer.

John’s also offers shared rooms!  These are not very common, so if you do not want to share a room you most likely will not have to, but many of the students who share rooms say it is a great experience and you can become really close with your roommate.  Shared rooms are usually found in Linton.

The final accommodation option at John’s is a single, en-suite room.  You get a bed and an en-suite with a toilet, shower and sink.  These rooms are in the Garth, which is the most modern accommodation block in John’s, and they are slightly more expensive than rooms with a shared bathroom.

Furthermore, in many areas of John’s, you will get the opportunity to live in the same corridor as some second, third, or even fourth years.  This is a great way to make friends across different year groups and meet new people in college.

There is also a cleaning team who will clean your room, the corridor and the bathrooms (if you have a shared bathroom) on a regular basis.  

The link below provides more information on college accommodation, and contains links to videos of standard, shared and ensuite rooms!


The St John’s Common Room, or the SJCR as it is more commonly known, is the democratic body which encompasses all of the different aspects of St John’s.  The “common room” itself, while there is an actual room which acts as a common room, is more of a figurative thing, that acts rather similarly to a council, and governs the college from the student perspective.  You can always get involved with the SJCR, whether that be by voting in elections, joining one of the sports or societies, or by going to SJCR meetings.

The SJCR acts as the common room for undergraduates, while also encompassing:

·         The MCR (Middle Common Room) for postgraduates and mature students

·         The CCR (Cranmer Common Room) for ordinands at Cranmer Hall

There is a board of executive members (the Exec) who are voted into office by their peers, and the Exec includes many positions such as the President, the Vice-Presidents, the Sports and Societies Officer, etc.  

Every student pays a membership to the SJCR upon joining, which allows them full access to all sports and societies within John’s, formals, laundry and democratic representation.

The SJCR Logo

The Collegiate System

Durham University is 1 of 5 universities across the country which features a collegiate system.  Durham has 17 colleges, and every student who applies, whether they are an undergraduate, a mature student, or a postgraduate, is assigned to a college.  Each college acts as a pastoral support system for their students, as well as providing accommodation if the student chooses to live in.  The majority of Durham’s colleges are catered, so that all students who choose to live in college will get all of their meals made for them.  There are some self-catered colleges, where students can still live within college but have their own kitchen facilities.

The main purpose of colleges is to provide a close and welcoming community for each student – similar to the houses in Harry Potter!  Every college has a group of staff who are there to help with finances, welfare, academic issues, and so much more.  There is also a student body in every college, called the “Common Room”, which is elected by the students every year to deal with issues raised by the students and make the college a better place.  Colleges also have a number of things for students to get involved with, such as formals, balls, sports and societies.

In short, the colleges allow every student to have a more personalised and welcoming university experience, particularly compared to universities without a collegiate system.

Durham colleges all differ in size, and have different locations, types of buildings, different accommodation and differ in their levels of traditionalism.  Colleges are split into two, non-official groups, the “Hill” colleges (those further away from Durham city centre near the Bill Bryson library) and the “Bailey” colleges (those closer to Durham city centre).  Some of the colleges are more traditional “gowned” colleges, where you are required to wear your gowns for formals, common room meetings and so on, and some are less traditional, only wearing gowns for more formal occasions, like matriculation and graduation.

When you apply to Durham, you rank the colleges in order of preference, so the staff team can try and place you in one of the colleges you would prefer to be a part of.  You can also select an open application, where you will be randomly placed into a college!

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