Durham University Records: Faculties and Departments

Scope and Content

Few faculties or departments have deposited any significant quantity of records in the university's archive. There are considerable quantities of files for administering the Science faculty and site from its inception in Durham in 1922; these do not cover Science in Newcastle up to 1963. There are few minutes of boards of studies yet deposited from departments, apart from Mathematics and the only department to have anything like a complete archive, Palaeography and Diplomatic (extant 1948-1990). This also contains reports and extensive series of correspondence with enquirers and readers. There are sequences of student files from the departments of History and Economic History from the 1970s and 1980s, otherwise only really occasional items have so far been received for Archaeology, Economics, Education, English, Geography, Law, Music, Philosophy, Physics and Zoology. Of other bodies, only the Society of Fellows and the Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies have any real quantity of reports, minutes and administrative files.

Administrative / Biographical History

The academic structure of the university has always been based on faculties, with the initial ones being Theology and Arts. The development of the Newcastle colleges created faculties for Science and Medicine, with the former having faculties for Agriculture, Applied Science, Commerce and Law added by WW2. At Durham, faculties for Letters (amalgamated with Arts in 1916) and Music were created in the late 1890s, and Education became a faculty in 1944. In the revised Durham University after 1963, a Social Sciences faculty was established in 1968, along with a Law faculty 2 years later. In 1985 the number of faculties was reduced with Divinity (Theology was so renamed in 1963), Music, Education and Law all being culled, leaving Arts, Science and Social Sciences.

Identifiable departments developed after WW1, with particularly Arts ones, but also later Science ones as well, being duplicated in Durham and Newcastle. In addition, often cross-department Centres on particular themes became a growing feature from the 1990s, but the main work of administering teaching and research was still carried out by the department.


Records are generally arranged where appropriate within the faculty or department as follows (not all series are necessarily present):

A Annual and other general reports

B Committee minutes and other papers

C Accounts

D Student records

E Files of the head of the administration

F Other office files

G Papers of and about individual members

H Publications

I Photographs

J Plans

K Ephemera

Conditions Governing Access

Mostly open for consultation, with generally student files in particular being closed under the terms of the Data Protection Act for 80 years.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the University Library from the faculties and departments at various times since the 1950s, and especially since 2004.


Part of : Durham University Records

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue available at online catalogue.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Custodial History

Held by the various faculties and departments of the university.