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- Whoops, did you fail to get into The University of Cambridge?
The University of Durham, commonly known as Durham University, is a small university for posh and thick people who had the money to go to Oxbridge but failed to turn up to their interview because of some issue out of their control (yeah sure). Both qualities are usually required in applicants; persons found to be posh but not thick, or thick but not posh, should not apply, although there are the odd exceptions for working class people just to make the numbers up.
It was founded in 1832 by an Act of Penetration, but did not receive a Royal Charter until 1837 due to the Clerk of Parliament forgetting to pay the correct postage. It was primarily designed to convince Oxbridge rejects that they were infact in Oxbridge, but due to a naming issue, and from sponsoring from the HAM company, and also a spelling mistake, the word Durham came into existence. Although its official and legal name remains the University of Durham, it has marketed itself as "Durham University" for at least the last twenty-two minutes. This is primarily because a study conducted at the University showed that people were more likely to suspect an educational institution with the word "of" in its title of having some sort of involvement in traditional university pastimes.
The University is the third most out of date university in England. However, several other universities also make this claim. Durham continues to defend its title, asserting that similar claims from other universities should be disregarded on the following grounds:
- Other universities use incorrect definitions of university formation
- Other universities have made erroneous or deceitful claims as to their founding date
- Other universities are very stupid and are far too easily distracted by shiny things.
edit Early Years
The University of Durham was created by a consortium of pompous southerners with the aim of ensuring that their offspring would have an institution to pick up husbands and wives that held the Daily Mail in high regard, thus ensuring that the blood-line stayed clear of pollution. Shortly after its creation, a team of four students with an essay due the next day succeeded in invading Durham Castle, exiling the then-resident Prince Bishop. The Prince Bishop, embarrassed to have been defeated by a bunch of incestuous fascists, promptly fled to Auckland, Polynesia and started his own record label.
edit Durham Today
Dame Margot Fonteyn, prima ballerina and inventor of the self-cleaning butt-plug, was once Overlady of Durham University, and until the arrival of Sir Peter 'The Pimp' Ustinov, it was her signature that appeared on the degree certificates of Durham students. (This of course prompted countless parents across the nation to write petitions to Durham, complaining that "My little Tarquin/Pandora/Vyvyan has spent three years of hard study at your university and all he/she has to show for it is a piece of paper signed by a fucking ballet dancer!" With many parents also questioning how she could sign degrees when she was making sandwiches). Sir Peter Ustinov was replaced as Overlord of Durham University by Bill Bryson after losing to him in a thumb war. As his first act of office, Bill Bryson sent an e-mail to all students declaring himself to be smugly content with everything nice and that, on this basis, the university would now require all students to take a minimum number of modules in fields such as squirrel-hugging and apple-pie baking as he is a chubby bastard that wanted pies.
In 1992 the university, in conjunction with the University of Teeside, opened up a campus in Stockton in order to allow chavs to attend the university without ruining the view of Durham Cathedral for the students. Since then, the campus at Stockton has been a great aide in providing students at the university with the butt of many jokes. Bizarrely, the university also chooses to house its medical school in the Stockton campus, despite the fact that this is likely to result in many of the university's more affluent, publicly educated, students coming into close contact with the long term unemployed. It has been theorised that the school was housed in Stockton in order to facilitate easy access to the large supply of haemorrhaging drunks, drug-seeking vagrants and the cornucopia of STDs. The campus is commonly known as 'the hood'.
edit Catering Facilities
Catering facilities at the University primarily consist of a sophisticated network of establishments including Bella Pasta, Shaheen's Indian Bistro, Beni's and China Joe's All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. The central headquarters of this network is Patrick's Pizza, which also provides between 50% and 75% of an average student's nutritional requirements over the course of their stay in Durham.
Although colleges themselves do claim to provide catering facilities, no evidence has been documented that the food provided at colleges contains any actual nutritional value. Even though students are vaccinated against college food when first arriving in Durham, many avoid it since there have been documented cases of college food causing food poisoning, scurvy, the flu, cancer, AIDS, pregnancy and death.
Up until 2009, conferences held at Durham University were catered for by the aptly-named Riverside Catering, who prided themselves on using "only the very best ingredients, freshly dredged up from the River Wear." At the beginning of 2010, catering for the entire university was handed over to the YUM franchise, whose vans patrol the campus twice a day, providing students and staff with a mind-boggling range of snacks and ready-meals. Rumours that YUM vans also sell films of staff in Old Shire Hall having sex in the lavatories are yet to be substantiated by hard evidence, however many of these alleged videos have surfaced online.
edit Durham Colleges
Durham operates a collegiate structure similar to that of Hull University. Unlike colleges at that institution, which operate autonomously of their respective universities, colleges at Durham mainly cater for the social, pastoral and sporting side of student life while the central body of the university itself caters for the relatively insignificant academic side. Most colleges are equipped with their own facilities to cater for students' needs.
The most famous Durham college is known unsuprisingly as the "Castle", and is seen as one of the main symbols of the University. Manned by a regiment of skilled longbowmen, the Castle provides posh students with a first class defence from the lower classes. Castle's main rival is Hatfield College, which is Durham's second most pretentious college, having separated from Castle in the 1850s. The rivalry is maintained by student pranks and tricks; and most recently, Hatfield students set fire to the undercroft causing £20 million in damages. The repair bill was paid, but only after orders were issued by Overlord Bill Bryson to auction 500 Stockton students to African slavers. Other colleges include Collingwood, named after the famous cricketer of the same name; Grey College, founded in honour of one of only four men in British history to have been eaten alive by squirrels; Trevelyan, the architecture of which is based on the original plans of Auschwitz-Birkenau; and St. Mary's, the University's only all-lesbian college. St Aidan's, with respected next-door neighbours Van-Mildert (home of boring chinless wonders) and St Mary's (see above), is a great college because the girls are fucking easy.
Arguably Durham's grimiest college, St Klutebert's Society (or "Cuth's") is probably home to one of the North-East's best bars. I say probably because I can't remember what happens in there. Rohypnol. I'm guessing. Named after the eponymous Saint Cuthbert, nobody actually knows what the hell St Cuthbert did. It was a theory of early 20th century scholars that he invented Klute, as a reminder to all us sinners of what awaits us in hell, but as yet the debate is unsolved. Cuth's zoo is home to many exotic creatures, such as Cameron the Tiger, and the boy with the silly trousers; furthermore there is often an appearance from a drunk penguin behind the bar who goes by the name of 'Lash'.
Durham's latest college was named Josephine Bitch College in honour of the woman of the same name, a Victorian era feminist. This serves as a permanent reminder that the entire college was constructed using only the ashes of freshly burnt prostitutes and is likely to collapse if it rains heavily.
On the Durham campus, there are 13 colleges that accept both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and one exclusively for postgraduate students. In the event of a state of emergency being declared by the Durham University Overlord, these 14 colleges can spring into action and may quickly be assembled into the Mighty Morphin Power Ranger/Transformer-style Durham Universitron.
Although Durham's colleges comprise its arms, legs and torso, the historic Old Shire Hall forms the head and is the main centre of the Universitron's operations. Once assembled, students may gather inside the constituent components of the Universitron to begin operating its complex machinery, with telepathic postgraduates able to instantly relay messages from Old Shire Hall. The machinery relies on undergraduates performing a variety of synchronised power-poses, many of which resemble the shape of bananas, kittens and right-wing political activists. Students from the Stockton Campus play a vital role in the operation of the Universatron after it has been assembled, being used as vital ammunition for the Universitron's two Humongous cannons (see picture).
The Stockton Campus is comprised of two modern nurseries, Stephenson (often called 'Stevo') and John Snow college, named after heroic Channel 4 news presenter John Snow, who prevented the spread of dysentery by removing a dodgy tap from a Channel 4 green room. Stephenson is mainly comprised of racist rugby fanatics, who, rather adorably believe themselves to be good at sport. John Snow is full of wannabe rahs, but they are home to a fantastic and cheap brothel which goes by the name Rokeby. Paul the caretaker at John Snow is possibly the next incarnation of Jesus.
edit Academic Departments
The Department of Anthropology is one of Durham's flagship departments and home to the world's rarest collection of 14th century Eskimo penises. History was made by two of the Department's scholars in January 2010 when they successfully completed their three-year project to map the inside of Elton John's anus, capturing in the process some spectular photographs of the mineral deposits, bats' nests and Neanderthal wall paintings to be found there.
- Applied Social Sciences
A recent sociological study of the teaching of sociology revealed that sociology is 'nothing but embarrassing, pretentious, painfully obvious, turgid humbug.' (Candida Twatcatcher & Jenna Tallia, 2009). A further finding was that sociology is completely incoherent. It does not cohere ('to stick together, be united; hold fast, as parts of the same mass'). While each article/book/course may be well crafted, they have little or nothing to do with each other. They may share methods and data sets (and grammatical voices so passive as to suggest a crack-cocaine problem), but each is about a unique problem with a unique set of variables. Also, there are no intermediate level texts in sociology and no sequences of substantive courses: everything is either an introductory melange of unconnected topics or an advanced monograph on an isolated topic. Which means there are no conflicts over priority in sociology. And this isn't because sociologists are nice - no, most of them are so up themselves that you wouldn't piss on them if they were aflame. Rather it's because no two sociologists ever study the same thing, so such conflicts are impossible. And finally, the subjects that sociologists study are often too stupid even for the average Durham undergraduate. The latest offering from one of the Department's leading researchers was a treatise on why Gary Glitter is better than the McCanns, based on the simple conclusion that when Glitter goes abroad, he actually comes back with more children than he left with.
Second only to the Cambridge, the Durham University Department of Archaeology hit the headlines earlier this year when, during excavations near Peterlee, excited archaeologists unearthed a prehistoric sanitary towel. Carbon-dating is currently being carried out on this in order to find out exactly which period it was from.
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
The Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences proves the old dictum that size is not everything. Housed in a dusty attic above the Ann Summers shop in Silver Street, the Department has only two lecturers and three students. However, both lecturers are Nobel Prize winners, and among their claims to fame is their construction of a substitute vagina for Margaret Thatcher, whose own 'ladygarden' was obliterated in the 1984 Brighton bombing. The new vagina, fashioned almost exclusively out of the genetically-modified foreskins of a number of Komodo dragons, was transplanted successfully in January 1985.
- Business School
Durham Business School offers a wide range of programmes. However, the vocational courses are in Stockton to stop employers thinking filthy rich Durham students will actually need a job when they graduate. Subjects such as accounting and economics ensure that only the most boring money hungry greasy haired monkeys get in. Lecturers that work at both campus locations must wash after leaving Stockton in case they come back smelling of the working class. Students in Durham have never smelt poor people before, and probably think they have aids.
In a recent chemical spillage, the dark secrets of the Chemistry department were finally revealed earlier this academic year. Beforehand, nobody really knew what went on down there, as most Chemistry students spent their entire working day in the labs (seriously, you guys came to university to work THAT many hours a day? Sheesh!) and working some more for shits and giggles by night, giving themselves only one hour a night to eat/sleep/masturbate/take Shorinji Kempo classes/generally not getting out enough. Anyway, I digress. Following the chemical spillage, several locals were shown to be experiencing similar symptoms to those who came into contact with the Black Oil substance found on the Piper Maru, which include haemorrhagic fever, gagging, unearthly behaviour and generally re-enacting scenes from 90s hit TV show "The X-Files". It turns out that the Syndicate had been secretly funding the Chemistry department to develop and Alien Virus which could possess people in their attempt to take over the world on December 21, 2012, and that every member of staff is either an elderly man smoking 8 packs of cigarettes a day resembling William B. Davis, or, indeed, an Alien. But you don't know that, and cannot prove it, for they only have one policy in the Chemistry department; deny everything!
- Classics and Ancient History
Like psychology but for chavs (it is called "Crimin(al)ology after all). The criminology department prides itself in having given students an intriguing insight into the criminal mind by allowing them to go on field trips to Durham prison. Here students can get the full Durham Prison experience, by being bumraped in the showers by jaded Geordies and taunted by the ghost of Mary-Ann Cotton. Just as the Geography department can lay claim to triggering the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 for similar reasons, a couple of criminology lecturers decided it might be beneficial to the academic community in breaking out Hannibal Lector, Josef Fritzel, Roy Whiting and a whole menagerie of serial killers and other general miscreants just get a paper published to see what the effect on the general public would be
- Earth Sciences
Earth Sciences is, as the name suggests, science that is all about planet earth. Earth science generally recognizes four spheres, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere. Students opting to study Earth Sciences in Durham will become acquainted with a number of spheres that other Earth Science departments may know nothing about: the shitosphere (aka Dunelm House); the cuntosphere (Old Shire Hall); the slutosphere (Klute); the gayosphere (Hatfield); the wankosphere (Palace Green library toilets, second floor); and the aspergersosphere (Dept of Computing). Other spheres may yet be discovered.
They teach Harry Potter here, no really they do.
- Engineering and Computing Sciences
- English Language Centre
- English Studies
Hoosed in the aptly named 'Robson Green' hoose , the Department of English Studies is the ernly playce in the UK tha yee can graduate in Catherine Cookson Studies. In fact, Catherine Cookson Studies is the ernly degree they hev on offer. The main prerequisite is tha yee are able te speak Geordie, which is the official language o the North-East. Geordie is easy te learn: wi ernly 237 words, it has one o the smallest vocabularies in the world. Examples of Geordie phrases are: "How man mutha man!" (Please, mother, do not embarrass me"); "Ye knaa what ah mean leik" ("Do you know what I mean?"); "Eeeh man, ahm gannin te the booza" ("Ok, I have had enough. I am going to the bar"); "Gan canny or we'll dunsh summick" ("Be careful or we will crash into something"). Yee will also need knowledge o the Industrial Revolution, wi special reference te its effect on The Toon, together wi experience of unwanted pregnancies, smelly fish-quays, rag-and-bone merchants, leif as a parlour maid in Edwardian Gyetsheed , an a 'daa'(father) whee is always drunk an is probably also the fatha of yer unwanted bairn (child). Actually reading the byeuks of Catherine Cookson is optional: myest fowk think 'fuck it' an just watch the films of hor byeuks , which are shown every Sunday on the "Yesterday" channel.
- Foundation Centre
The Foundation Centre runs a number of programmes to develop students' learning skills and knowledge in preparation for degree level study. These include: the International Foundation Year, a programme providing extra English language and study skills support. This is designed for international students who do not meet the requirements for direct entry to UK higher education, such as the many illegal immigrants who work for less than the minimum wage in Durham's countless kebab and pizza joints; the Gateway to Medicine programme, a six year course available for students from diverse widening participation (WP) backgrounds - i.e. working class dole scum - who have an interest in medicine and aspire to jobs as hospital cleaners, human waste disposal operatives and so on; and the Mature Students Spring and Summer Taster Programmes, where adults with no formal qualifications fill the empty colleges during vacation time and discuss Derrida and Saussure in between naked bingo sessions.
"If you can't do, teach. If you can't teach, teach geography. And if you can't teach geography, teach it here at Durham!" is the motto inscribed above the door to Ralph Fiennes House, a building named after the famous explorer and home to the University's award-winning Geography Department. One of the University's flagship schools, the Department of Geography won accolades recently when it declared that as from 2011, it will be discard the 'new geography' and go 'back to basics'. No longer will students be required to know about tectonic plate shifts, global warming and the dynamics of the Gulf Stream. Instead, graduates will leave Durham knowing most, if not all, of the world's capital cities, longest rivers and highest mountains. Which is what geography is really about, after all. The Department also hit the headlines earlier this year when two of its staff members were briefly held by Icelandic police on charges of inciting a volcanic explosion 'just so that they could be the first to publish a research paper on the effect of volcanic ash on UK air travel and thus gain extra brownie points in the forthcoming Research Assessment Exercise.'
- Government and International Affairs
The School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA) is a silly name coined to describe the arranged marriage that took place a decade ago between the Middle Eastern Studies Department and the Department of Politics. This merger took place for a number of reasons, all of them cosmetic. Firstly, the Middle Eastern Studies Department had become a tad wary of the many Saudi postgraduates it had who were failing to complete their PhDs because they were spending too much of their study time learning to fly. And the Department of Politics was desperate for coat tails to hang onto since it had produced no postgraduates since 1924. Hence the decision to join forces. However, all is not as it seems. Housed in a custom-built ski-lodge on Elvet Hill Road, financed by the Nizam of Hyderabad and staffed by academics who make the Addams family look like the Waltons, SGIA’s true function as the secret base of the School for Gay International Agents – hence the name SGIA - is heavily camouflaged. By day it is like any other academic department: student-unfriendly, over-bureaucratic and polymorphously soulless. But at night it turns into a veritable poofs’ palace that puts Heaven to shame. In fact, Will Young on a pink pony singing “I Will Survive” surrounded by the Viennna Boys Choir against the backdrop of a fifty-foot Shirley Bassey hologram projected onto Durham Cathedral would not be as camp as the shenanigans that go on inside SGIA at night.
- Law School
So why do people really want to go to Law School? If anyone says ‘to be a lawyer’, they’re lying. The majority of people go to law school with grandiose ideas of helping the poor, saving the environment, and defending the wrongly imprisoned. Then they get out of University, find themselves in shitloads of debt, and inevitably sign on with a large corporate firm where they can make a lot of cash quickly, jettisoning their consciences in the process. If you’re one of that majority, then Durham University Law School is for you. The courses on offer here are all hands-on, and with two prisons in the city – Durham Gaol and the high security complex at Frankland – you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to work experience. Not only will you get to watch trials taking place at Durham Crown Court, you will also have the privilege of spending a whole term as a nonce’s bitch on A-Wing or swapping B&B anecdotes with Rosemary West. How could you resist?
- Mathematical Sciences There is a great deal of concern in the department about "leaky urinals". So much so, that a full survey into the rates of flow was conducted, along with many heated letters to Estates and Buildings. Much experimentation determined that they were indeed pissing on the floor. Someone perhaps should have held back on giving them a pair of scissors...
- Medicine and Health
- Modern Languages and Cultures
Durham students opting to spend their three years in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures are among the luckiest in the world, for this vibrant and growing department is a veritable window on the world, offering a smorgasbord of languages and a veritable buffet of cultures for their academic delectation, from Cornish - which has only two speakers, one of whom is actually a deaf mute - to Mandarin, with too many speakers for its own good. The focus, however, is on four languages: Arabic, Chinese, German and Spanish. Degrees in Arabic are highly prized since they come with mandatory flying lessons; Chinese is popular because, as everyone knows, the UK is set to become a Chinese colony by 2030; German is useful to have just in case the Nazi fuckers decide to invade Poland again; and Spanish is a favourite because 90% of the British population take their holidays in Spain, and it is always helpful to know how to say "Can you go a little bit more slowly, please?" in Spanish when you are being taken up the shitter by a timeshare salesman from Fuengirola.
Suffering from 'pianist envy' because you want to play the piano like Richard Clayderman but you can't? Fancy a degree in Inuit throat singing? Ever wondered what it would be like to actually hold one of Johann Sebastian Bach's pubic hairs in your hand? Then Durham's Music Department is for you. Bursaries are currently available for students wishing to take a degree in Vera Lynn Studies: apply as soon as possible before she carks it! Home to many of both strange proportion and strange dress sense, it could be argued that musicians at Durham hold a universal air of candid appeal and mystery about them, but that would be wrong. Music students at Durham universally hold the view that if they are 'quirky' enough then someone will give them a job eventually. Beware when approaching Durham Music students as they are all suffering from talent-envy seeing as other students possess more musical knowledge despite not studying music for a 'degree'.
Little is known about this Department, and even most of its students are unaware of its precise location. In fact there is absolutely no way of proving that it really exists. Those that have seen it only report a run-down building filled with confused lecturers and postgraduates providing a terrifying insight into the future of 'successful' philosophy graduates.
Once the top-ranked physics outfit in the UK, the Department has nosedived in recent years and is now to the world of physics what Stevie Wonder is to bird-watching. Fortunes took a turn for the worse when the Department found itself unable to fill the prestigious Stephen Hawking Chair. Advertised no fewer than thirty seven times, the Department were on the verge of withdrawing the advert until, after much hand-wringing, bunsen-burner lighting and frenzied masturbation, they finally found a suitable applicant. Once the new incumbent had got used to the fact that the post involved sitting in a custom-made wheelchair and using specially designed speech software in order to sound like a retarded Dalek, it seemed that the future of the Department had been salvaged. Until it became clear that he knew fuck all about physics.
Want to murder your father and sleep with your mother? Well most of the staff in the Department of Psychology do, so I would avoid this place like the plague if I were you. Do geography instead.
- Theology and Religion
The Department of Theology and Religion is the place to come if you want to know 'the meaning of life' and answers to other penetrating questions, e.g. why does Andrew Lloyd-Webber have a face like a dropped pie? Staffed by thirteen atheists, three agnostics and a woman called Enid who claims to have seen the face of Mother Teresa in a Kellog's Pop Tart, the Department is open to students of all religious persuasions. The current undergraduate intake includes: Mormons; Hare Krishna; Emissaries of Divine Light; Scientologists; Moonies; Zen Buddhists; Baptists; Quakers; Shakers; neophytes of Sai Baba; members of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Wesleyans and Waldensians; an ex-shepherd from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; Rosicrucians; a woman claiming to be the reincarnation of Mary Baker Eddy; Unitarians; Rastafarians; Pentecostalists and members of Falun Gong; spiritualists; disciples of the Order of the Solar Temple; three shamans from the shores of Lake Baikal; and a man called Monty who claims to have seen the face of Desmond Tutu in a dish of Instant Whip. There are currently no members of the Jewish faith studying here, but since they killed Christ, it's probably best that they keep their distance anyway. The rumour that adherents of the Muslim faith are banned from applying to study here is patently false, as is the claim that the lecture theatres in the Department are wallpapered with a number of Danish cartoons.
edit Students and Alumni
Almost all thick and posh students at the university participate in the university sport, procrastination. Many waste time making outlandish and unverifiable claims in satirical articles for encyclopedias that anyone can ruin. This is often done the day before an essay or other assignment is to be handed in, with students often claiming that they "work better under pressure". A recent report has shown that 120 percent of students tested could indeed complete a randomly generated assignment better, faster, and with fewer mistakes when put under significant pressure, although this figure has not yet been verified as the report was only handed in ten seconds before the deadline.