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We have prepared a list of frequently asked questions to help answer your questions.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate in reaching out to exec members on the Castle MCR Facebook Group 2023-24, Castle MCR Messenger Group Chat, direct message (DM) us on our Instagram @castlemcrdurham, or on WeChat!

  • What is Fresher's Week and Fresher's Week Extra (Frextra)?
    Fresher's Week is the week before the academic term starts, dedicated to welcoming new students to the University and the College. It’s also often called by previous names like Week of Welcome. Fresher's Week Extra (Frextra) is an extension of Fresher's Week that starts 5 days before the official Fresher's Week. It places a greater emphasis on international students.
  • What is Matriculation?
    Matriculation is the official ceremony welcoming new students to the University. It is usually held in Durham Cathedral and is a formal and gowned event. After Matriculation, we will have an MCR photo which you can purchase to commemorate the day.
  • Do we have to attend the whole Fresher's Week and Fresher's Week Extra (Frextra)?
    Nope! Except for Matriculation, our Fresher's Week and Frextra events are optional, allowing you to attend as many or as few events as you'd like. These events are a great taster for the social events we'll have throughout the year, so there will be more events throughout the year.
  • Can I still come to Fresher's Week and Fresher's Week Extra (Frextra) events if I don't live in college accommodation?
    Of course! Fresher's Week and Frextra events are open to all Castle Postgrad students, no matter where you live.
  • What is the range of events being offered during the Fresher's Week and Fresher's Week Extra (Frextra)?
    We have a huge range of events, from picnics to parties and everything in between, so there will be something for everyone. A full calendar of events will be released soon.
  • Do I have to pay for the Castle MCR membership fee in order to attend Fresher's Week and Fresher's Week Extra (Frextra) events?
    Fresher's Week and Frextra events are open to all new Castle students, even if you haven't paid for your membership yet. After the Fresher's Week and Frextra, MCR events will be limited to paid members, so if you enjoy the Fresher's Week and Frextra events, consider purchasing a Castle MCR membership to continue attending our top-notch events.
  • Are gowns required? How much do they cost?
    Castle is a gowned college. This means that gowns are required for our Matriculation ceremony, and for our weekly formal dinners. New gowns can be purchased for £51, and second-hand gowns can be purchased for £30 (while supplies last).
  • How much is the Castle MCR Membership?
    The annual membership for Castle MCR is £55 and comes with a huge range of benefits. To learn more about our membership benefits, please click here.
  • Who should I contact if I have other questions about the MCR?
    Please refer to the Fresher's Handbook and our webpage for more information about Castle MCR. If you still have questions, please contact the Castle Exec team. You can find their contact details here. You can also pop a question in the Facebook Messenger or WeChat Group Chat. Our Execs will be more than happy to assist you!
  • Is there an option to socialize with postgraduates from other colleges?
    Yes! Colleges around the university frequently have Inter-MCR events such as formals, pub quizzes, dance lessons, and more. These are great ways to meet fellow postgraduates from other colleges and maybe try something new!
  • How do I get involved in the operations of Castle MCR?
    There are many ways to be involved in Castle MCR! We have 5 committees (Social, Academic, International, Ball, and Welfare), which are groups of devoted members helping to plan events and support students in the broader Castle MCR family. All MCR members are also welcome to run for open Exec positions in Elections held in Michaelmas Term (Term 1) and Easter Term (Term 3). Being part of the executive committee is a wonderful way to help guide the direction of the MCR, gain valuable CV experience, and build an amazing network of friends and colleagues. Join us to build back better!
  • Will postgraduates get to hang out in the Castle?
    Absolutely! Most spaces in Castle (such as the Great Hall, Lowe Library, Bishop's Dining Room, and the chapels, to name a few) are open for students to use when they're not booked for an event. MCR members can also access the MCR by requesting the key from the Porter's Lodge.
  • What kind of support is available to me?
    Durham University offers a variety of support. Below are broad ideas of the category of support are available, but you can always reach out to our welfare team if you need further signposting. ​ Academically, your department can help with academic support, questions about courses or supervision, or academic funding and employment questions. ​ The MCR can help with signposting to broader support, general inquiries about life in Durham, providing welfare supplies, and help you to make connections within the MCR family. ​ The College can help with your mental health and well-being concerns, financial concerns, religious/spiritual considerations if desired, general advice or support, and reporting misconduct.
  • Is Durham easy to get around?
    Durham city centre is small and easy to walk around. Almost everything you need is easily accessible in the city centre. Durham also has buses that will get you to harder-to-reach places, as well as other cities and towns nearby. Arriva buses cost £1 if you show your student ID when you board. You can also easily access taxis, Ubers, and trains within the city center.
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