Durham University student numbers drop for the first time since 2008

By and Emily Doughty

Data released by Durham University has revealed that there are a total of 22,130 students enrolled at the University for the 2022/23 academic year, a drop of 100 students from the last academic year.

This is the first time the student population has fallen since the 2008/09 academic year, when the total number of students fell from 15,356 to 15,347.

However, the number of students still remains 12% higher than the pre-pandemic total, with just 19,465 students studying at the University during the 2019/2020 academic year.

The graph above shows how the number of students in Durham City has increased significantly in recent years, particularly since Stephenson and John Snow colleges moved from Stockton in 2018; since this time, the number of students in Durham City (excluding distance learning students) has increased by 35%.

Since 2003, the number of students in Durham City has increased by just over 85%, from 11,868 to 21,960, and the total number of students (including distance learning and Stockton Campus residents) has increased by 54%.

However, the number of postgraduate students has remained relatively steady, with an increase of 51% in 20 years, from 2,843 to 4,320.

Durham University has revealed that there are a total of 22,130 students enrolled at the University for the 2022/23 academic year, a drop of 100 students from the last academic year

This increase over time is significantly higher than other universities in the country, such as Oxford and Cambridge. Since 2003, whilst Durham’s on-campus student population has increased by 85%, Oxford’s has increased by 42.7% and Cambridge’s has increased by 40.8%. For a brief period prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Durham City had more students than Cambridge, which was 6,000 students larger than Durham in 2003.

In a statement to Palatinate, A Durham University spokesperson said: “The University Strategy, 2017-2027, approved by University Council in 2016, included carefully managed growth in student numbers in selected departments. This is unchanged.

“Our student intake for 2020 and 2021 was higher than anticipated due to unexpected shifts in the grading of A-levels and other Level 3 qualifications. “We were transparent about this and have worked with staff, students and external partners to ensure the best possible experience for our students, and balanced and thriving communities in Durham City.

“We deliberately reduced our intake by almost 1,000 for 2022.”

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