Durham University is a collegiate public research university in Durham, North East England, with a second campus in Stockton-on-Tees. It was founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832 and granted a Royal Charter in 1837. It was one of the first universities to commence tuition in England for more than 600 years and is one of a number of institutions that has been described as the third-oldest university in England. The Durham University estate includes 63 listed buildings, ranging from the 11th-century Durham Castle to a 1930s Art Deco Chapel. The university also owns and manages the Durham World Heritage Site in partnership with Durham Cathedral. The university's ownership of the World Heritage Site includes Durham Castle, Palace Green, and the surrounding buildings including the historic Cosin's Library.
The chancellor of the University is Sir Thomas Allen, who succeeded Bill Bryson in 2012. As a collegiate university, its main functions are divided between the academic departments of the university and 16 colleges. In general, the departments perform research and provide lectures to students, while the colleges are responsible for the domestic arrangements and welfare of undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and some university staff. The university is a member of the Russell Group of leading UK universities after previously being a member of the 1994 Group. Durham is also affiliated with several university groups including the N8 Research Partnership, the Matariki Network of Universities and the Coimbra Group.
The university is currently ranked 4th to 6th by recent national league tables of the British universities and in the top 100 in three of the four major global tables (see below). In terms of average UCAS points of new entrants in 2015-16, Durham ranked 6th with the average entrant amassing 519 UCAS points. "Long established as the leading rival to Oxford and Cambridge", the university attracts "a largely middle class student body" according to The Times's Good University Guide. In 2014, Durham had the fifth highest proportion of privately educated students at 36.6%. In 2013, Durham was judged to have the best quality of student life in the country in the inaugural Lloyds Bank rankings and has never (in 2015) been out of the top three, coming in third in 2014 and second in 2015. The university was Sunday Times University of the Year for 2005, also making the shortlist for the 2004 and 2016 awards, and the Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year for 2015.
Current and emeritus academics include 14 Fellows of the Royal Society, 17 Fellows of the British Academy, 14 Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences, 5 Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2 Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts and 2 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Durham graduates have long used the Latin post-nominal letters Dunelm after their degree, from Dunelmensis (of, belonging to, or from Durham).