Durham has achieved an Overall Satisfaction rating of 87.3 per cent in the NSS 2020, which also places it top of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK universities.

Its score was up 2.3 per cent on 2019, despite a year which has seen student experience across the world affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Alan Houston, Vice-Provost (Education) at Durham University, said: “In an undoubtedly challenging year, this result is testament to the dedication and hard work of colleagues across the University, and our students’ appreciation of this.”

Looking ahead, Prof Houston added: “This year we will continue to listen and learn. At a time when we are teaching and connecting in new ways, this is more important than ever. If this year has proven anything, it’s that we know how to rise to a challenge and this is what we will do.”

The NSS is an independent annual survey that evaluates how satisfied final-year students are with the quality of their experience at university.

Students rate their satisfaction in eight areas: teaching; assessment and feedback; academic support; organisation and management; learning resources; personal development; students’ union; and overall satisfaction.

Durham is three years into a ten-year strategy aimed at delivering world-class research, teaching and student experience.

In the past year, the university has opened a new £40m Teaching and Learning Centre and a £32m upgrade to its Sports and Wellbeing Park, and invested in its residential colleges and in attracting the best researchers and teachers from around the world.

Later this year, two new college facilities will open at Mount Oswald in an £80m investment and a £40m new home for the University’s growing Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science departments will be completed.

Much investment is also going into attracting the best and brightest students with the merit and potential to succeed to study at Durham, regardless of their economic circumstances or background.

Earlier this year, the university announced a new scholarship for students from low-income backgrounds in the North-East. The Durham Inspired – North East Scholarships will support over 20 students each year, backed by a £2m endowment.

Recently, Durham was placed 86th in the QS World University Rankings, which rank over 1,000 higher education institutions worldwide; and 51st globally for the quality of its graduates by 52,000 of the world’s leading employers.

Durham researchers are tackling some of the world’s major challenges. Last week, the university announced the creation of the first manufactured non-cuttable material: Proteus. Elsewhere, Durham bioscientists are working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the charity Medical Detection Dogs to find out if specially-trained bio-detection dogs can sniff out Covid-19 in humans.

The Northern Echo:

CT scan of the Proteus material showing the cellular aluminium structure wrapped around ceramic spheres

It also has one of the most active student volunteering communities of any UK university, with over 2,000 students volunteering for good causes and charities for a total of over 40,000 hours a year. In June, the university’s Student Volunteering and Outreach was honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given for community volunteering in the UK.

For more information on studying at Durham University, visit durham.ac.uk/study