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#129 Overall Influence

Durham University

Collegiate public research university in Durham, England, United Kingdom
By James Barham, PhD

Durham University is a public, research university established by an act of Parliament in 1832. It received its royal charter five years later, in 1837.

Durham was the first university to be founded in England proper (as opposed to Scotland) in modern times (since Oxford and Cambridge during the Middle Ages). Its original remit was to prepare young men for ordination into the Church of England.

The oldest part of the university is University College, which after 1837 was housed in historic Durham Castle. For this reason, University College is colloquially known as “the Castle.” At first, students living in the Castle were expected to bring along their personal servants to cook for them. In 1846, a second college, Bishop Hatfield’s Hall, was added, which pioneered full room-and-board for residential students of more modest means.

Many more colleges were added gradually over the years, including a medical school, which opened in nearby Newcastle upon Tyne in 1852.

In 1909, the official tie to the Church of England was severed, and Durham University began to be administered by the British government, instead.

Over time, the number of Durham University colleges situated in Newcastle proliferated to such an extent that they came to outnumber the Durham colleges in size and importance. Eventually, the imbalance became so serious that during the 1950s a proposal was floated to rename the school as “the University of Durham and Newcastle.” (It was defeated.)

In 1963, the most important of the Newcastle colleges, King’s College, attained administrative independence under the name of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. This left the Castle once again as Durham’s flagship college. Much later, in 1991, a new satellite campus was opened in another nearby city—this time, in the much smaller town of Stockton-on-Tees.

Today, Durham University comprises 17 separate colleges in the cities of Durham and Stockton, with a total student body in excess of 19,000.

Among numerous prominent individuals associated with Durham University, we may note the following:

  • Mathematician, Harold Jeffreys, Francis Edward Corrigan & Frank Kelly
  • Computer scientist, David Gavaghan
  • Philosophers, Nancy Cartwright, Stephen R.L. Clark, John Heil, Tim Crane, Stephen Mumford & Anna Marmodoro
  • Poet, Thomas Blackburn
  • Novelist, Anne Brontë
  • Popular novelist, Edward Bradley
  • Children’s author, Lorna Hill
  • Science fiction novelist, Patrick Tilley
  • Literary scholars, Paul Geoffrey Edwards & Mikhail Epstein
  • Animated filmmaker, David Sproxton
  • Actors, Peter Ustinov, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, James Wilby, Arthur Bostrom, Adam Rayner, Madeleine Knight, Charlotte Riley & Lily Travers
  • Comedians, Tim FitzHigham, Nish Kumar & Ed Gamble
  • Art historian, Liz James
  • Popular musician, Justin Chancellor
  • Singer-songwriters, Jake Thackray & Tom Rosenthal
  • Astronomers, Temple Chevallier, Richard Christopher Carrington & Arnold Wolfendale
  • Astrophysicists, Richard S. Ellis, Ben Moore & George Efstathiou
  • Cosmologists, Carlos Frenk, Ruth Gregory & John D. Barrow
  • Physicists, Alexander Stewart Herschel, A.W. Pryor, Paul Sutcliffe, Samuel Tolansky, Hans Kronberger, Nigel Glover, Tom McLeish, Andrew Fisher & George Rochester
  • Chemists, Neill Bartlett, Judith Howard & Jas Pal Badyal
  • Climatologists, Gordon Manley & Peter Liss
  • Geologists, Arthur Holmes, Kingsley Charles Dunham & George Malcolm Brown
  • Molecular engineer, Jacqui Cole
  • Bacteriologist, Ephraim Anderson
  • Botanists, Kathleen Bever Blackburn & David Bellamy
  • Arachnologist, Octavius Pickard-Cambridge
  • Neuroscientist, E.J. Field
  • Sociologists, Frank Webster & Richard Adams
  • Linguist, Ida C. Ward
  • Anthropologists, Robert H. Layton & Chris Terrill
  • Archaeologists, Eric Birley, William Greenwell, Leslie Peter Wenham & Jules Hudson
  • Dendrochronologist, Malcolm K. Hughes
  • Historian, George Macaulay Trevelyan
  • Russia scholars, Philip Bullock & Patrick O’Meara
  • Tibet scholar, Michael Aris
  • Political scientists, Andrew Gamble & Roger Scully
  • Legal scholar, Thom Brooks
  • Journalists, Harold Evans, Nina Hossain & Christina Patterson
  • Political commentator, Tom Harwood
  • Radio and TV news presenters, Shelagh Fogarty, George Alagiah, Jeremy Vine, Tim Willcox & Kate Silverton
  • British Supreme Court Justices, Anthony Hughes & Jill Black
  • Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

From Wikipedia

Durham University is a collegiate public research university in Durham, England, founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832 and incorporated by royal charter in 1837. It was the first recognised university to open in England for more than 600 years, after Oxford and Cambridge, and is thus one of the institutions to be described as the third-oldest university in England. As a collegiate university its main functions are divided between the academic departments of the university and its 17 colleges. In general, the departments perform research and provide teaching to students, while the colleges are responsible for their domestic arrangements and welfare.

Source: Wikipedia

What is Durham University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#105 World Rank
#56 World Rank
#41 World Rank
Religious Studies
#207 World Rank
#135 World Rank
#92 World Rank
#203 World Rank
#115 World Rank
Political Science
#145 World Rank
#153 World Rank
#203 World Rank
#246 World Rank
#94 World Rank
#271 World Rank
#173 World Rank
#33 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#203 World Rank
#216 World Rank
#378 World Rank
Computer Science
#99 World Rank
#133 World Rank
#107 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#72 World Rank
Social Work
#142 World Rank

Influential People

Who are Durham University's Most influential alumni?

Durham University 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Earth Sciences, Religious Studies, and Education

John Anthony Allan

British geographer

Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad

Qatari academic

Chris Higgins

British geneticist and Vice-Chancellor of Durham University

Margaret Dryburgh

Teacher, Nurse and Missionary

Colin McDowell

Colin McDowell

British journalist and academic

Derek Tidball

British theologian

Amjad Hussain

Royal Navy admiral

Martyn Percy

Martyn Percy

British Anglican priest and theologian

Michael Turnbull

Bishop of Rochester; Bishop of Durham

Steve Easterbrook

British business executive, former boss of the McDonald's

Donald I. Williamson

British zoologist

Russell Ash

Russell Ash

British author:Top 10 of Everything series of books/Great Wonders of the World/Incredible Comparisons/many other reference/art/humour titles