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The University of Durham, commonly known as Durham University, is a university in Durham, England. It was founded by Act of Parliament in 1832 and granted a Royal Charter in 1837. It was one of the first universities to open in England for more than 600 years and has a claim towards being the third oldest university in England. Durham is a collegiate university, with its main functions 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 seen as very prestigious and is consistently one of the highest ranked universities in the UK. "Long established as a leading alternative to Oxford and Cambridge", the University attracts "a largely middle-class student body" according to The Times Good University Guide. The University was named Sunday Times University of the Year in 2005, having previously been shortlisted for the award in 2004. (Excerpt from Wikipedia article: University of Durham)
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