Debate: Rather be at Oxbridge than Doxbridge?

Down with Doxbridge? REANNE MACKENZIE and CHARLIE TAVERNER fight it out.

Steeped in tradition, with a strong academic reputation – is there a case for welcoming  a third member to the Oxbridge club? 

REANNE MACKENZIE argues that Durham is, and always will be, a wannabe. 

The idea of amalgamating Durham, Cambridge, and Oxford into the ugly sounding “Doxbridge” makes me at first laugh, and then feel sick.

Oxford and Cambridge have long been slung together as “Oxbridge”. Yes, we may pretend to hate ‘The Other Place’ but when it comes down to it, we know they are our kindred spirits – they’ve got punts, gowns, bicycles, supervisions and twenty-four hour libraries. We are close enough to have a ski-trip with them, chummy enough to play rugby against them, and if someone says they are from Oxford, we immediately relax: ‘ah, they’re one of us.’

Nowhere in this cosy duo does Durham fit in: this is a monogamous relationship and we aren’t up for a threesome.  Durham simply does not have the sheer amount of work, and dare I say it intellect, required at both Oxford and Cambridge. There are no supervisions, no weekly essays, and no (frequent) all-nighters in the library. They may have formals, and substandard clubs, but this does not justify the D in front of Oxbridge. It’s too hilly to ride a bike there and they even have reading weeks.

Yes, they are one of Britain’s top universities, they just aren’t the top. Durham is like the annoying, less good-looking younger brother: similar to the elder, but hasn’t quite got it. If they were really considered to be on the same level as us, surely it would have been Doxbridge from the very beginning but, sadly for them, it wasn’t.

What really must be the most convincing evidence that ‘Doxbridge’ does not exist is that when I first typed it into word, spell checker immediately popped up with a lovely squiggly red line, and asked if I meant ‘Oxbridge’. Says it all really.

Graduation at Durham: not so different?

CHARLIE TAVERNER, Comment Editor of the Durham Palatinate, argues that arrogance is preventing us recognizing ‘Doxbridge’. 

Doxbridge isn’t a term to replace Oxbridge, and it’s not to say that Oxford and Cambridge are not in a class of their own.  But if you look at the unmistakeable blend of tradition and excellence, something is needed to make these three universities stand out from the rest.

Beyond Doxbridge, few other universities have the collegiate system. If they do, it is neither as steeped in tradition nor such a key aspect of the student experience. Oxford, Cambridge and Durham colleges, barring a few modern builds, are all integral landmarks in the town. From King’s in Cambridge, to Christchurch in Oxford, and University College in Durham’s medieval castle – there’s not much distance in terms of tradition. After all, Durham’s historic bailey is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You can point to the likes of York, Lancaster and Kent and say that their collegiate system isn’t far off the Durham model, but these new builds don’t have histories and deep-seeded college rivalries stretching back to the nineteenth century and – for Oxford and Cambridge – beyond.

Academic excellence connects all three universities. While the argument that Durham is as good, if not better than Oxbridge, might stick better up here in the north than amongst The Tab’s readership, it is more often for reasons of arrogance than truth. Durham has extremely high standards across the board, and deserves to be in a wider group of three. Rankings tables are always questionable, but particularly in arts and humanities, Durham often forms a triumvirate at the top with Oxford and Cambridge.

Those of us in Durham have a reputation for being a bunch of privileged, chip-on-the-shoulder Oxbridge rejects. However, turning this on its head, it means Durham is full of some incredibly clever and talented people in its own right – even if they failed those fateful interviews.

There’s no denying that Oxbridge is the pinnacle of British education. But Durham’s blend of exceptional people, doing exceptional things in an environment steeped in educational tradition – just like at Oxford and Cambridge – deserves to be recognised by the marker of ‘Doxbridge’.

What do you think? Use the comment board below to share your thoughts. 

  • Says it all

    'Doxbridge isn’t a term to replace Oxbridge, and it’s not to say that Oxford and Cambridge ARE NOT IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN.'

  • Seen it all before

    What a boring article! Stick to getting your wagglers out in nightclubs reanne!

  • :-s

    i don't think i've ever read anything on the cambridge tab that isn't just plain snobby!

    • still upset

      You can't have read Lexi Abrahams then…

  • Concerned student

    Is this girl taking the piss? I've got plenty of friends at other non-Oxbridge universities and what I have noticed is that quite a few people at those universities haven't quite gotten over their rejections and are still trying to get some Oxbridge action (Doxbridge, Woxbridge etc.), but I thought that we had moved on.

    We got in. We're good. No need to still be jerking off about it. This is the academic equivalent of being a nouveau riche douchebag.

  • Old saying

    In Durham, they talk of Doxbridge. In Oxford, they talk of Oxbridge. In Cambridge, they talk of Cambridge.

    • Proportional Rep

      The number of letters that makes up the portmanteau reflects the relative importance of the university perfectly. 6:2:1 to us.

      • Hardly.

        Can you imagine saying “Cocksford”?

  • Student

    Durham is shit

    • Concomitant

      So is your vocabulary. Perhaps you should reconsider your views in light of such a poorly substantiated judgement of a university that at present requires higher grades in subjects such as history (A*AA). I agree, though, Doxbridge is not a term that should be used. However it is not the result of Durham being ‘shit’, (which considering the quality of education provided in comparison to many other universities it most certainly is not ), but because this university may one day initiate a better ‘Oxbridge’ from its current geographical placing. One might suggest that the modern day is more suited to Durham, more so at least than the pair of pensioners referred to as Oxbridge , which depend on the snobbish nature of their followers to keep them in their place. My message; Do not try to put Durham below yourself until you have read a dictionary.

      • Historian

        History offer is A*AA at cambridge as well. Nitwit.



  • Truth

    Doxbridge? Not a thing.

  • What do I think?

    Durham can fuck off.

  • TPJ

    Durham U21s suck… unlike Cambridge which are amazing because of me!

    • Richard

      I'm so glad that people like you single yourselves out for complete and utter arrogant morons. The fact that you put yourselves on this pedestal means that the rest of us folk, for the most part, don't ever have to find ourselves interacting with you on a day-to-day basis (thank god!). Go back playing soggy biscuit with your team mates and getting Daddy to fund and decide your superficial and uninteresting lifestyle.

      • TPJ

        How did you know I was a member of both the U21's rugby and soggy biscuit teams?

      • sebby poopoo

        most boring comment i've ever read on the tab

      • Ah Richard

        Poor Richard has obviously never seen a TPJ comment before. Look before you leap, Dick…

  • Oxbridge

    This is ridiculous, we can't just add any almost-as-good university into the word Oxbridge. Oxford and Cambridge are amalgamated because their admissions procedures among many other things are near identical, the same cannot be said about Durham, regardless of their collegiate system.
    Durham should want to build up a good reputation in their own right and not tag along with Oxford and Cambridge.



  • Mr Tibbles

    Durham can fuck off

  • J.W.

    There's an equally good case for having UCL or LSE or somewhere like that merge with Oxbridge, in academic terms at least. Ucloxbridge? Loxbridge? Eugh.

  • Yoxbridge…

    … sounds better. Plus, York is better than Durham.
    – York (& Cambridge) alumnus

  • Peter

    Did you deliberately pick a weak article in favour of the word "Doxbridge"? In what way does being "a bunch of privileged chip-on-the-shoulder Oxbridge rejects" mean that "Durham is full of some incredibly clever and talented people in its own right", and why would that necessitate inclusion in the same league as Oxbridge anyway? Plenty of universities can make that claim. Most Cambridge students would probably have been just as successful in the Oxford admissions process and vice versa, so openly marking Durham students as "Oxbridge rejects" acknowledges that this can never be a three-way relationship.

  • Southampton

    As an impartial outsider (who incidentally didn't apply to either Oxford or Cambridge) this seems like a load of bollocks. How about Durham focus on their own reputation rather than attempting to ride on other unis' coat tails? Congratulations, you have some colleges and a few old buildings, a round of applause is in order.

    • then…

      why are you reading the tab?

  • Abby Kearney

    I'm so glad that I got into Cambridge that I couldn't care less about the name…

  • Alternative

    I would have chosen Bristol over Durham any day, gotta think outside the boxbridge

  • Germaine

    LSE, UCL, Imperial, Warwick and Bristol are clearly better than Durham. Durham is for chinless, privately-educated individuals who, despite having had every advantage bought for them, couldn't quite clear that final hurdle and get into one of the REALLY elite universities. If Durham makes the top 3 because it's got some old buildings, then Richard Branson is a hottie cos he's a blondie.

    • Joeseph White

      germaine, that's really hurtful and spiteful. @hategermainecampaign

      • Germaine

        I don't think Branson minds.

    • Backstreet's back

      coventry, bristol and imperial are far inferior to durham, durham is far inferior to oxford and cambridge, oxford and cambridge are far inferior to Harvard and Yale, niiiiiiiiice endowment.

      • In that case

        why do we beat Yale in most league tables, and Harvard in some?

        • haha

          Why does Durham beat Oxford in most league tables and Cambridge in some?

    • RespectEducation

      Oh bless you sweetheart you have a chip on you shoulder for something….let me guess. You are at Oxbridge, didn't/aren't geting much sex, fun and a thing called life, and you mate Ralph at Durham is doing all the above? If we're going to pick on anything here it's your absolute disrespect for any academic achivement below your own. And that is why you are without a tory….

    • Durham

      St Andrews is better than that lot and a lot better than Durham – with as many traditions as Oxbridge.

      • Durham student

        What are league tables for? To assess the academic standards of English universities on a yearly basis. Where does St Andrews most frequently rank? Below Durham Where does Durham rank? Below Oxbridge (with a few exceptions; History, English). The conclusion: Oxbridge is better than Durham, and Durham is better than St Andrews.

        This is all very superficial of course, but there is a certain logic to it


        Durham student (Oxbridge reject)

    • WJDB

      What allows you to establish that "LSE, UCL, Imperial, Warwick and Bristol are clearly better than Durham". If Oxbridge has taught you anything, it would surely be to justify your statements with evidence. There isn't much point in going to Oxbridge if everything you are taught in the pursuit of academic excellence falls on deaf ears. I would much rather be at Durham if it means I can put forward a water-tight argument and put into practice what I am taught. I do, however, understand that this individual "Germaine" is by no means representative of the Oxbridge intake… but making unjustified, weak statements such as "chinless, privately-educated individuals" with absolutely no basis, surely isn't what allows you to pass an Oxbridge interview in the first place. I feel sorry for those who have to put up with such unfounded opinions.

    • Georgina

      Well done for expertly applying your extremely broad brush. I'm glad university taught you to back up your arguements and consider other people's situations.

  • Droggles

    If universities were countries, Oxford would be England and Cambridge would be America. To avoid persecution we left, a simultaneous pilgrimage and revolution. We started something new with the lessons learned from the old, brilliant model, and it brought us great success. This historical connection, and our shared academic excellence, justifies the pairing of 'Oxbridge'. We have a 'special relationship'.

    Durham is Australia. We send them our rejects, and they do their best to follow our example. We don't have anything against them – they're doing their best, and it would be lovely to visit sometimes – but our only real connection is embarrassing for them to admit. They tried to fit in here, but were shipped off after being deemed unsuitable. They are not a part of the aforementioned 'special relationship'.

    'Doxbridge' is silly.

    • Yoxbridge

      Good analogy. The only thing that bothers me with Oxbridge people is that they have this childish mentality that 'you did not get in, therefore you are not as good'. Many of those rejected go on to achieve great A level results.

      Furthermore, many of those who do get into Oxbridge end up graduating with thirds or 2.2s (ok, not that many, but still). Clearly, the admissions process is not flawless.

      Oxbridge entrants need to remember that when you are trying to distinguish between top applicants, there is a great deal of luck involved.

      The York (&Cambridge) alumnus from above.

      • cantab

        "Many of those rejected go on to achieve great A level results"

        Would anyone even apply here if they weren't able to ace A levels?

        "many of those who do get into Oxbridge end up graduating with thirds or 2.2s"

        Those are Oxbridge thirds and 2.2s. You should also bear in mind that there are people who are just in it for the name, for whom getting in is enough. Those getting 2.2s and thirds here may well have got firsts at other universities – not just because of the lower standards there, but because they'd feel the need to work harder to make up for not being able to put cantab after their name.

        There is some luck in the system, but nowhere near as much as Durham students would claim. A lot of effort goes into it. 'You did not get in therefore you are not as good' isn't always true, but often enough for it to be wrong to see it as a childish mentality. An unpleasant one to vocalise, but perfectly fine within the comfort of one's own head.

        • Yoxbridge…

          No, if people applied without top grades they wouldn't even be invited to interviews. But the point is that the only thing that distinguishes those who get reject from those who are offered a place is their performance in these short interviews – and everyone can have a bad day after all (or their performance can be affected by stress, and I don't think it's fair to say that if someone performs badly when stressed, they don't deserve a place).

          Further proof that the admissions process does turn down great applicants is that many people rejected by Oxbridge are accepted at top schools elsewhere (e.g. Ivies/MIT/etc in the US).

          And I am sorry, but you cannot plausibly argue that a Cambridge 2.2 is the same as a First at Durham, Bristol, York or Warwick. Maybe people do get 2.2 due to poor work ethic, but then they should not have been accepted in the first place.

          In any case, I do believe there is a lot of luck involved. York is also a university full of Oxbridge rejects – many of my classmates from there also studied at Cambridge afterwards, graduating at the top of their classes. Of course, anecdotal evidence is not scientific, but having met brilliant people at York and not-so-smart people at Cambridge, I do not have a great deal of faith in the admissions process.


          • cam

            "And I am sorry, but you cannot plausibly argue that a Cambridge 2.2 is the same as a First at Durham, Bristol, York or Warwick. Maybe people do get 2.2 due to poor work ethic, but then they should not have been accepted in the first place."

            Depending on the subject, you certainly could. In Maths (for example), they give out a certain proportion of 2.2s every year. It then comes down to: do you think the bottom 20% of Cambridge are better or worse than the top 20% of York? Given that the bottom 20% of Cambridge will still have A*AA minimum and 1,2 STEP minimum, I'd say the bottom of Cambridge is probably better.

            • Yoxbridge…

              But the top York students will be Oxbridge rejects themselves, hence they will have equally good grades.

              Besides, recruiters tend to agree with me – most set as a requirement at least a 2.1, regardless of university. Similarly for masters / phd programmes – Oxbridge itself won't admit anyone who doesn't have a first (except in extremely rare cases).

              Like I've said, unlike most people here, I have had the chance to study at both universities and experience student life in Cambridge and York. It's true that Cambridge students have a much heavier workload – no doubt about that. But the actual teaching itself is fairly similar, and though the average student at Cambridge if of higher calibre, the good students at both universities are at about the same level.


              • Cantab 2

                "But the top York students will be Oxbridge rejects themselves, hence they will have equally good grades."

                I'm starting to see why you didn't get into Cambridge as an undergraduate. That really doesn't follow…

                • Yoxbridge…

                  1. 'Most Oxbridge applicants have straight As'.
                  2. 'Many of those rejected do go on to achieve AAA'.
                  3. 'Many of those rejected had York as their safety'.

                  Follows: many of those who are admitted to York have straight As (or same grades as those admitted to Cambridge).

                  FYI, the rejection letter stated that I answered the interview questions, but not very fast, and that I did not seem perfectly fluent in English (the third language I learned, for the record). Also, I was 16 at the time I applied and had my interviews. So really, sarcasm was unnecessary.

                  • cantab

                    How dare you come on here and politely question the Cambridge student's claim to total superiority? THUMBS DOWN, CHUM!

                  • Really

                    Is York really in the top 10? If I had been rejectect I wouldn't even chosen it it clearing.

                    • Yoxbridge…

                      When I applied, it was 3rd for computer science, behind Cambridge and Imperial, and I hadn't applied to Imperial. It's still one of the top 5 for the subject.

                  • odd

                    Bizarre that a rejection letter told you reasons you didn't get in. You must be unique…

                    • Yoxbridge…

                      I thought this was standard practice… at my school, several of us received letters explaining the decision.

              • Cognito Ergo Cum

                "Oxbridge itself won't admit anyone who doesn't have a first (except in extremely rare cases)."

                Funny that if you're at Oxbridge a middling 2.1 is often enough to get you into a Cambridge masters programme, but a middling 2.1 from Durham et al isn't… what does that tell you about the way it's seen here.

          • Ignorant Wanker

            RUBBISH. There's a reason we get Cantab masters a few years down the line. It's to recognise WE HAVE WORKED HARDER and OUR DEGREE IS BETTER. I covered more statistics and at a higher level in my degree in one term (I did an ARTS subject by the way) than a friend who went to another "top" University in their ENTIRE degree. Seriously. He studied Maths and didn't have a clue about my Stats assignment.

            I've seen brilliant people,be allocated 2.2s because of proportionality that quite frankly could have got a first elsewhere in their sleep.

            • Yoxbridge…

              Great scientific rigour there! 'Yeah, I have a friend, and he, like, didn't know as much about this one thing, right?'

              It's funny because I do think (as I mentioned above) that Cambridge students are on average smarter than others… I suppose people like you are the ones who drag down this average.

              Oh, and the reason you get a masters is just an old tradition.

      • 2.2/3rd

        There's no excuse for a 2.2 at Cambridge, but when I observe my former classmates drifting with their shitty work ethic often towards firsts, and rarely towards anything less than low 2.1's, it would be hard to accept that they should have been let into Cambridge over the people who are actually here, despite their better classifications.

        • Bah.

          No excuse for a 2:2?
          Try telling that to natscis/mathmos/econs etcetc 'only' doing 45 hours a week of work so that they can actually have a good sporting/social/sleep life – a considerable proportion of students in many subjects don't get that magical 2:1. Averaging a 58 or 59 at Cambridge is hardly a disgrace given that the same workload and intellect would probably those same people a low 1st in most unis.

          • engineer

            63 for engineering….

        • Ridiculous statement

          A pre-determined proportion of students will be allocated each class, therefore a certain percentage of 2.2s are inevitable, however well they do in real terms.

      • Daddy's a fellow


    • Durham not doxbridge

      I adore this argument. Cambridge left because it was persecuted like the pilgrims that went to America? The pilgrims went not because they were persecuted but because they were unable to persecute. In this light Cambridge are America, they want to persecute those they perceive to be less than them. Well done for admitting this. I applaud you.

      • cantab

        It looks like you're trying to write cleverly and you're struggling. "In this light"… Bless you.

      • Stephen Fry

        "The pilgrims went not because they were persecuted but because they were unable to persecute". A line lifted straight from QI. Don't try and be clever smartypants, it's showing off and frankly has nothing do with the original point.

        • Droggles

          Right you are, Stephen. Also if we're going to get technical, I'm pretty sure the persecution that the original tabs were escaping involved townspeople objecting to a girl being raped. Citation needed.

          The parallels are uncanny.

  • Tradition?

    Oldest Durham college = 1832
    Oldest Cambridge college = 1284

    Bit of a gap…

    • Virginssssss

      years since cambridge had sexual relations 1832

  • Q&A

    Q: Rather be at Doxbridge than Oxbridge?
    A: No

  • Sam Young

    What are the entry standards at Durham?! Like, surely it's harder to get into Cambridge

    • Just a thought

      great chat

    • Dur

      Cambridge Offer A*AA, Oxford offer A*AA/AAA, Durham Offer, A*AA/AAA, .It depends on the course. Still think there is a large gap in ability difference?

      • But

        Durham also offer AAB and ABB for some subjects

        • cantab

          I was accepted by Durham with an AAB offer without interview. Still think there isn't a large gap in ability difference?

          • Losers

            Ditto. They have coursework and seminars too. When they have interviews, no reading week, 8 week terms, supervisions and not just a bunch of rejects, someone might take them seriously.

            • administratorator

              What you're saying, essentially, is that because Oxbridge still espouse archaic educational methods, they are better institutions.

              • cantab

                Interviewing applicants is so archaic. Get with the times, grandpa.

      • Quasimodo

        well yeah because Durham don't do interviews…

  • Sam

    They are all a bunch of c*nts.

  • Really?

    "histories and deep-seeded college rivalries stretching back to the nineteenth century"

    Not particularly deep-seated then (deep-seeded isn't a phrase by the way). That's like talking about other colleges' deep-seated rivalries with Selwyn. There aren't any.

    • Selwynite

      Oi. You leave Selwyn alone.

  • Poly Tech says

    what about DoxLeedsmetBridge?

  • erm.

    This says it all about the relationship between Durham and Cambridge:

  • Northern Fresher

    Has anyone asked Durham if they want to be in Doxbridge???

  • Caian

    "While the argument that Durham is as good, if not better than Oxbridge, might stick better UP HERE IN THE NORTH than amongst The Tab’s readership, it is more often for reasons of arrogance than truth."

    What a load of b*******s. There are many better universities in the North than Durham. I didn't apply to Cambridge because it's pretentious, Oxbridge is just in a different league than everywhere else, both in terms of material covered and prestige of the degree. Anyone who says "Oh, I went to Durham because Oxbridge was too pretentious for me" is just spouting bull.

  • Duzza

    Oxbridge…for those who forgot about the fun side of life, i don't even want to be affiliated with them! Leave our 'D' alone!

    • Denial

      The new fragrance by Durham.

  • CGP

    Anyone seen the new spring range at Wills, bloody hell it's masterful!

    • Just a thought

      hi joshua price


    I study history at the best department in the country. Durham. Just saying.

    • who cares

      you still won't get a job…

    • Yoxbridge…

      OK, above I commented that I dislike Cambridge students' attitude – they should realise that they owe their place to luck as much as skill.

      But equally, those Durham (or very often LSE) students who keep pointing to rankings and say 'we are the best department for x' are very annoying. This may well be true, but in the end, Cambridge is Cambridge, and you cannot beat the prestige of the name. So stop trying, it makes you seem like you have a chip on your shoulder.

      • Thom

        So…instead we're just supposed to allow Oxbridge people to brag about how utterly wonderful they are and not point out that the evidence isn't always on their side? I mean, ultimately, it'd be nice if no one felt the need to boast about the superiority of their university, but I think it's a bit much to say 'don't even try to answer Oxbridge people even with reasonable arguments'. That's hardly what an education at any university is supposed to teach you.

        • Yoxbridge…

          No, you should not let them brag. But the answer shouldn't be 'but our uni is just as good!', because though it may be true in some cases, in general everyone knows that Oxbridge is the top.

          The right response is 'yes, Cambridge is a great place, but the fact that you got in doesn't mean you are smarter or better in any way than those who went to Durham'. The problem with those of us who went to the safety choices – Durham, Warwick, LSE, Bristol, York etc – is that we have the chip on our shoulders; the problem with Cantabs is that they are (unjustifiably) arrogant.

          • State School Kid

            Justifiably. We work HARD. Yes even the posh kids from silver spoon in mouth land. You wouldn't survive otherwise. Sort your complex out mate.

            • Yoxbridge…

              Allow me to repeat this again: I have studied at Cambridge, and do not assume that we don't have the same workload as graduate students. I have seen life at two unis, not one. And in fact, I have met people from far worse universities than either Cambridge or York, who are exceptionally smart.

              It amazes me that students at such a great university, who should remember to be humble and to exercise critical thought, are so fanatic and stupid as to say 'I got in, you didn't, therefore I'm better'.

              But you know what, there's no way I will change your mind. Hopefully this will happen when you get out to the real world, and see that no-one cares about where you studied (yeah, I get a few wows when I say I studied at Cambridge, but do you think it changes the way people view me? Of course not). You will also then mix with students from other unis who may be better than you in your field. I hope you manage to deal well with this when it happens.

    • And Lancaster

      apparently has the best physics department in the country. Doesn’t mean Lancaster’s the best university or even close, although I did have it as one of my back-ups. Being consistently top or 2nd or occasionally 3rd, in every single subject across the board, is what makes Cambridge better than Durham.

  • Elizabeth Windsor

    Don't even know why this subject is beig debated, Buckingham has the best graduate propects; FACT.

    • I guess

      it’s full of mature career-developers, not I-haven’t-even-set-foot-on-the-career-ladder-yet-ers, so not really comparable to all other unis in the country.

  • Germaine

    This is gospel truth. There was this lad in my form at school who was seriously retarded. I know that's a bad word, but it's the only appropriate one to this case. In all the bottom sets, a great dopey P.E. enthusiast, a bit moon-faced – the works. We went to different sixth form colleges (natch) and through the wonders of Facebook I learned that he holds a degree in Psychology from… DURHAM!!!

    • 'Seriously retarded'

      And I had a great time. Cheers

  • Tab

    Yes, we are all very proud to have got in, and most of all relieved that we don't have to spend the rest of our lives justifying why we didn't. The gentlemanly thing to do is to only discuss this elitism in private. You don't need to mention the elephant in the room with outsiders.

  • Durham

    Some people apply to Durham as their first choice and don't apply to Oxbridge because they don't want to be with snobs like you.

    • cantab

      You still have snobs, just snobs that didn't get in to Oxbridge. Keep up.

  • Thom

    "Durham simply does not have the sheer amount of work, and dare I say it intellect, required at both Oxford and Cambridge."
    My immediate response is 'we also don't have the ignorant stuck-up elitists', or to point out that Durham has been ranked better than Oxbridge for some subjects, including my own when I was an undergraduate, but sadly the former part wouldn't be true. However…seriously, way to conform to the elitist Oxbridge reputation (and I say this as the child of two Cantabrian parents). That girl who rejected Oxford (see BBC News today) was right. If this is how you're going to act I'm rather glad we're not part of your Sacred Club.
    On a wider point, can we not just have universities, without having ridiculous elitist clubs within them? Nearly every university has its good points.

    Oh, and some of the people commenting here are either trolls or have just proved they don't in the least deserve to be anywhere near Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, or any other halfway decent university.

    • Troll

      Trolls? On the Tab? Say it isn't so!

    • Off you go

      Um, if you don't like the comments, why don't you just click the shiny x in the top right hand corner? This is a tabloid newspaper aimed at Cambridge students. Don't you think it's going to troll other universities in ways that don't reflect the views of the majority?

  • Neutral

    Oxbridge: beautiful places, hideous people.
    Durham: beautiful place, retarded people.

  • embarrassed

    All these prejudices are why I never tell people where I go to uni… if asked I always tell people I'm at uni "somewhere down south… not too far from London." Admittedly, I am Scottish – to tell the truth would mean being burnt as a sassenach on top of the usual assumptions…

  • Anonymous

    If that's the kind of attitude Oxbridge has, why on earth would Durham want to be associated with it? Sure, Oxford and Cambridge have some departments which rank higher than Durham, although the vice versa is also true. But at the end of the day, they are all elite Universities. Hence, we are all intelligent and educated people, although you wouldn't think it by reading some of these comments.

    • GGG

      You are right mate, this whole article and the comments are shite. Sadly, there is a real culture of insularity and elitism at Cambridge. The stereotype isn't so far from the truth. All very well commenteers making the state school/private school distinction, but there are massive differences between the state schools most Cantab state schoolers come from and the state schools at the bottom which send very few to Cambs… This article and some comments are typical Cambridge 'lets talk about shit just to make ourselves feel great again,, we're at Cambridge, they're not, kaboosh'.

  • Nope

    Everyone at Oxbridge is stuped

  • Anonymous

    OH come on…get a grip. It's two very inferior 'writers' trying to provoke fury with their frankly terribly written articles.

  • Meh

    And the lack of library all-nighters is a bad thing? Durham is worse than Oxbridge, and therefore is more fun, less socially-inept, and easier to get at first at. True, an Oxbridge first is worth more than a Durham first, but probably not worth working three times as hard…

    Who cares anyway? People need to get over not getting into Oxbridge, shit happens.

  • Mr Blobby

    It's all about what you make of it. You can get firsts across the board from either Durham, Cambridge, Oxford or any other similar university you care to mention – what MATTERS is whether you make your time at these institutions count. If you're a decent person who puts their all into the university experience (social AND academic) then there isn't much anybody can say against you.

    Peace the hell out.

  • Mr Blobby

    It's all about what you make of it. You can get firsts across the board from either Durham, Cambridge, Oxford or any other similar university you care to mention – what MATTERS is whether you make your time at these institutions count. If you're a decent person who puts their all into the university experience (social AND academic) then there isn't much anybody can say against you.

  • Bill

    How the hell did you get into Cambridge? At least research your article you idiot. It's riddled with basic inaccuracies.

  • dts

    all universities are elite if you have to pay £9000 a year for them

  • Shazza Babe

    Wow, Reanne. Your small minded, rude and unfounded excuse for an article stands as a real testament to the 'Cambridge difference'. In all honesty if everybody who goes to Cambridge is like you I would rather spend three years of my life burning myself with lit cigarettes.

  • sfw44

    Oxbridge are the top, no questions. I went to both Oxford and Durham. Durham was by far my favourite. Oxbridge fine without the D. D fine without the Oxbridge.

  • Durex

    Doxbridge? I prefer the amalgamation of Durham and Exeter.

  • Anal Play

    Newsflash geeks! York have joined the annual Doxbridge sports frolic in Dublin, which makes it Dorksbridge- let's leave it at that.

  • Jane

    Having studied first at Durham then at Cambridge (Post-grad), I can safely say I'm glad I turned down an offer from King's College Cambridge the first time round! Too snooty by far and the interview was a joke!!! Durham suited me better at the time and I loved it. As for academic standards, I think Durham's recent ranking speaks for itself. Not everyone can hope to attain entry to the 'dreaming spires club', nor should they feel stigmatized for being an 'Oxbridge reject'. I applaud the girl who turned down Oxford in today's news!!!

    • I read a lot of shit

      I have never read a bigger load of shit than that girl's letter.

    • Realism

      Oh, please. Your smug "inverse" snobbery is greater than any snobbery you would have encountered here. I went to an open day at Durham, and it looked pretty good, but it still wasn't even my second choice.

      As a former state-school pupil, I can honestly say I have never felt intimidated by the formality here or by the amount of privately educated students. I wish people like you and the girl who wrote the letter could get your heads out of your own arses long enough to see that Cambridge is the opportunity of a lifetime. Your choice if you decide not to take it, but I'm glad I did.

    • Mandem

      The girl who "turned down" Oxford is obviously an example of someone that can't take rejection…she applied to the same course the year before at Cambridge and got rejected. Her fate was probably already decided for her so she saved her pride by "rejecting" Oxford, in the knowledge she would get rejected if not. Just another bitter reject, like some of the Durham people on this post.

  • Keith

    Isn't Cambridge way better than Oxford? It's always way ahead in the rankings. Durham and Oxford are much closer. Maybe there ought to be a new rank of second-rate universities: Doxford.

  • DippyToffs

    Oh my dear sweet god….grow up and be proud we can even have this chat! if you didn't have the good education/ parents to pay for you, we'd all be reading Business at UWE/ the nearest place to a roof over our heads.

    You all are so privileged to be even able to have this conversation! Bet you Mary at home studying with the OU for a BA in English Lit has more intelligence than any member of this joke of a commentary.

    If you are the first member of your family to get F.E. and went to any of these places, you are incredible and shouldn't be joining the elitest chat that forms the basis of this chat.

    If you are having your degree paid for you by mummy and daddy, your opinion holds zero value to this chat. Anybody achieving more than B,B,B at A-Level deserves a good education. Go and see how the other half live.

    • Cantab

      I am the second in my family to go to university – the first was my brother, also at Cambridge, and I promise you he didn't pay for any fancy school. I have great respect for the OU, especially those who do a degree whilst working full time. But Durham can still fuck off.

    • Why

      do you keep saying chat?

      It gets so tiring being told that our places here were bought for us. I went to a state school, I got in to Cambridge because I worked hard and I'm good at what I do.

      Mummy and daddy aren't paying for my degree, but even if they were my opinion would still count. Rich people aren't just disqualified from making arguments.

      Why do you bet Mary has more intelligence? If she has, why isn't she here? If money is an issue, she could get the £3400 a year bursary open to all Cambridge students. This is more than enough to live on, when combined with a student loan.

      To write off everyone's achievements just if their parents were lucky enough to receive F.E. is pathetic inverse snobbery, the sort of bitterness that every Cambridge student sadly needs to get used to. But I suppose going to the best university in the country makes up for that a little.


      • Cheif

        *I got into Cambridge cos I'm a clever fucker and had to do fuck all at school

    • so what?

      So, my "mummy and daddy" are paying for my degree. I consider myself bloody lucky that they put the money away while I was growing up and that they're in a good enough place financially that they can support me. I'm only the second person in my family to go to university, and when I got the chance to come to Cambridge my parents were determined to see me do it without taking out a loan if possible, as coming from working class backgrounds they don't believe in taking out a loan if you can possibly avoid it. They also cover my college bills and all my living costs. I still come from a state school, and I'm far from posh (I'm from northern Scotland, it's about as far from it as you can get). Does that mean I have "zero value"? I think it means I'm incredibly lucky, but it really is about merit here, and I've never once felt it was an issue that my parents pay for me and yet my best friend gets a full bursary.

      On the issue of Doxbridge – there's no denying there are very intelligent people at other universities, it's just stupid to disagree. However, Oxford and Cambridge must sit so much higher in the world rankings for a reason – and probably because of the vast numbers of very good applicants they get. That doesn't mean an individual from Cambridge is necessarily any better than an individual from Durham, even one who got rejected, but that Cambridge and Oxford are universities that are really on the world stage, and we're lucky to be here and benefit from that.

  • Justin

    Doxbridge is silly…what makes Oxford and Cambridge people arrogant is their supervision/tutorial system…Durham can't join the club until they manage to get the resources to organise a supervision/tutorial system…

  • bradstow2

    Not only is this article entirely unnecessary, it is amateur in its style, and lacking in any kind of fact or real information. What claims do the authors have to any kind of respect for their Meisterwerk?
    Who wants to compare ANY two of the three universities anyway?
    Redundant, superficial, boring.
    The resulting comments merely demonstrate the lack of maturity (and vocabulary) of the readers.

  • Classic Durham

    Who needs to be at Oxbridge when Daddy can make one phone call and get you a job?

  • Durham

    They should have called it Coxford…

  • 1778

    How did I get to this shit from minecraft?!!?

  • A few things…

    1. Any argument about the proportion of students at Oxbridge that went to private schools meaning that Oxbridge is inherently 'snobby' is stupid. Durham has a much higher proportion of private school students, and, as someone who has many friends there and has visited often, I'd say the place feels much, MUCH more 'public school' than Cambridge, and probably Oxford too.

    2. People who don't get into Oxbridge often seem to make arguments about intelligence. 'Oh, I'm just as clever as people who get in to Oxbridge'. Since when were Oxbridge interviews simply measures of intelligence? There is no IQ (or EQ) test as part of the admissions process. Sure, they want clever students who can get the grades, but they also want people who are interested, teachable and hungry for an offer to study there. Intelligence in itself does not a Cambridge student make – nor do excellent A level results. Many people come here for postgraduate study from other universities who were perhaps just as clever aged 18, but hadn't yet developed these traits.

    3. In terms of the workload, there is simply no comparison between Durham and Cambridge. For this reason, I simply don't believe that you can assert that a 2:1 at Durham is better than a 2:2 at Cambridge. Far more is required of you in order to achieve even a modest class of degree at Cambridge. That's not to say that there is a difference in ability or intelligence: it is a question of the difficulty involved.

    4. Fun – depends what you consider fun to be. In terms of extracurricular stuff like theatre or music there is far more going on in Cambridge, in my experience. In terms of how often you can get totally smashed, Durham blows Cambridge out of the water. But perhaps the willingness to sacrifice immediate short-term fun for a long-term benefit is something that sets Cambridge students apart (even if they don't often have much of a choice)

  • Durham

    To be honest I don't think that many people from Durham care about not going / not applying to Oxbridge. Obviously looking at this post there are a few who seem bothered or are just enjoying provoking Cambridge students (always fun).

    In my opinion Durham is the perfect balance of being a very well regarded University whilst not being as much of a ball ache as Oxbridge in terms of work. It is significantly better at Sport, and from my experience has a much better social agenda. Finally if you leave here with a half decent degree you won't be working at Tesco.

    Depends what you're looking for really. Anyway, I'm off out to Boathouse, enjoy your all nighter in the Library you Oxford elites.

  • Jane

    To anyone interested…. at Durham they DO have a supervision/tutorial system the same as Oxbridge, at least my course 20 years ago did, and lectures were not compulsory. The terms are also 8-9 week come to think of it.

    At the end of the day, it's what you gain from the experience and what you do with your time there and afterwards that counts! Courses differ a lot from one university to another so certain comparisons are hard to make.

    Having both Durham and Cambridge on my CV has opened doors for me – I'm now an English Language lecturer at a good northern Italian University, Trento, which is I suppose the Durham of Italy!

  • David H

    I think in all fairness Durham is at least an equal, and the added historic significance of having a Castle and a CATHEDRAL (in which matriculation takes place, in gowns) is something that is sadly lacking in our institution.

    Also, I have been informed that the average science degree in the fine institute known as Durham University requires the student to attend 3 supervisions per week (one more than our scientists, so realistically they have nothing to complain about).

    Finally, the varsity link between us and 'the others', which arguably comes to a fruition with the varsity rugby match (bought out by the now high street brand of Jack Wills) and the boat race, are sadly undermined by both of the Oxbridge universities results againt the Northern version (both losing heavily for the past two years in both disciplines).

    Overall, I believe that we should open are arms (and hearts) to our Northern brothers, and be proud to be the suffix of DOXBRIDGE!

    • what?

      "Also, I have been informed that the average science degree in the fine institute known as Durham University requires the student to attend 3 supervisions per week (one more than our scientists, so realistically they have nothing to complain about). "

      Cambridge NatScis have four supervisions a week in first year, three in second year and then one a week in third year so that you can spend more time in the lab.

      Also, unless Durham NatScis go to Saturday lectures you can fuck off insinuating that Durham NatScis do more work.

  • Just commenting.

    How rude and somewhat stuck up. Yes Cambridge and Oxford are very good universities, but then so are Durham, Bristol, UCL and so on. Perhaps you should consider yourself privileged that you managed to gain a place at Oxbridge, but at the same time acknowledge that there are some exceedingly bright individuals at Durham and other top universities, including those that chose not to apply to Oxbridge (or dare I say it, turned down the odd place). People should be less complacent of where they are studying, and less eager to slate off others – let alone add to the conception that some Oxbridge students consider themselves elitist or better than others. For supposedly intelligent people, there are some very silly comments being made (e.g. it's too hilly to ride a bike there). Hopefully it is just a naive minority that hold such preconceived views.

    • But

      it is very hilly

  • Christonian

    Fuck it.

    Why don't we just call it KBEGYIDOxbirdge, after Kent, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, York, Imperial, Durham, Oxford and Cambridge. I suspect those Universities also fit the criteria that Taverner suggests. But why stop there? There's the University of Cape Town and who could forget the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen?

  • History

    Amazingly, no-one has mentioned the fact that the 'Oxbridge' moniker and the pairing of the two universities has absolutely nothing to do with their merits or similarities or some sort of rational modern decision, but simply because of their historical predating of other English universities as serious centres of higher learning. The term is relatively new – Thackeray coined it in 1849 – but even then Oxbridge's history granted them a reputation for being in an entirely different category to other universities. And the thought behind the name had existed as long as the two universities.

    Thackeray also coined the other portmanteau 'Camford', but unfortunately it didn't catch on. Seems like that one had its priorities better sorted.

  • alex

    haha lol

  • Peter

    1. Doxbridge as a term was coined for the annual "comedy match" between the Oxford Revue, the Durham Revue and Footlights. It's a joke, not some conspiracy to pretend Durham is an ancient university.
    2. Reanne MacKenzie is wrong on some facts about Durham – "There are no supervisions, no weekly essays, and no (frequent) all-nighters in the library." Wrong on all three counts, though the supervisions are called tutorials as in Oxford. It didn't have a reading week in my day, but perhaps it does now, I don't know – no idea what the implied problem is anyway.
    3. This article is so absurd (both halves of it) that I really hope no one takes it seriously in any way. The truth is that all three universities are excellent, and anyone should be proud to study at any of them. Durham was founded on the Oxford model and has more in common with Oxford and Cambridge than most other universities – both in the superficial matters (pretty old buildings, gowns, etc) and in academic rigour, teaching style, and research clout. It's also always highly ranked, sometimes as high as third. But it can't (and doesn't pretend to) match Oxford and Cambridge in some respects, including age and endowment.

  • Sweaty Flaps

    well there's only one thing i have to say about this

    Floppy Ball-bag

  • just a thought

    I applied to Cambridge, Imperial, UCL, Harvard and Durham

    Guess which one offered me a place without interview?

    • Durham

      Should have gone to Harvard…

  • My two cents

    It seems quite strange that some people seem so protective of their university that they have to start insulting other peoples', often in an extremely crude and non-analytical manner…

    As for tutorials, contact hours etc. Yes, Durham does unfortunately lag behind, the main reason being the fact that it doesn't have the endowment, or the specific government subsidy for such a system. As a result, less money means less staff etc, and as a result unfortunately less contact hours. That being said, many departments do make up for it, and it seems quite strange that the response to departments like History and English consistently beating one or both of Oxbridge is "well we're still better."

    Unfortunately, at least some of the stereotypes of Durham students are true. It is also true that there is a large subset of students who either didn't want to go to Oxbridge, or were unfortunate enough to simply do badly in their interview at the time. It seems quite unfair to lump all Durham students together as 'stupid,' especially when in many activities that I've seen which emphasise the intellectual (such as Debating), Durham is likely to beat Cambridge, and has consistently outperformed them all year.

    Last, it is also quite telling that if one reads Charlie Taverner's piece, he concedes that academically most of Durham cannot compete, but merely illustrates that there are commonalities which justify the use of 'Doxbridge' as a description of a group of universities alongside the use of 'Oxbridge' to denote the specific academic superiority of those institutions. So perhaps everyone so eager to call Durham students stupid should notice that it wouldn't be too relevant to his points.

    • Grammar police

      *fewer contact hours.

  • well…

    It was nice to see that Durham University RFC crush the Cambridge Blues 44-22 on the weekend!

    • just a thought

      You do realize that after their respective varsity matches, Oxbridge sports teams piss it up?

      • Derek Jackson

        do you realise Durham are 31 games unbeaten #showmethemoneyjerry

  • chaggers

    Reanne you are a first year historian – if you have to do "(frequent) all nighters in the library" I suggest you might be suited to a less academically rigorous institution.

  • One night in Reanne

    Reanne, quite the snob since you started climbing the social ladder. A true rags to riches story; now you're qualified to comment about the rest of the university educations and students in the country. We salute you!

  • Derek Jackson

    Reanne you would blend into insignificance at Durham. You probably do at Cambridge, hence your controversial article seeking some attention. Your looks are mediocre, your intelligence is probably mediocre (using the undoubtable reputation of your institution as a platform to be vocal, readers assuming you are a fair reflection of Cambridge's academic excellence) and from speaking to you at a party in Cam your chat is like a 14 year old girl whose parents have always told her she's the best. But you probably don't remember me. You can't fight those genes Reanne. Cream Floats. LIP

  • I am the 99%

    'Durham is Australia. We send them our rejects, and they do their best to follow our example'

    Does anyone care how racist this post is? Get off your imperialist high horse!

  • GarrowsKai

    The prestigious educational institution of Northumbria University (Formally Newcastle Polytechnic) has a 24hr Library, a boat race and varsity sports tournament with their nearest rivals (Newcastle) and formals (wearing a shirt on a night out counts doesn't it?). The students also regularly pull all nighters, which is due to the incredible work load and not because of a prevailing attitude of 'it'll be fine to just leave it till the last minute', that rumour was started by bitter arch-rivals Newcastle.

    Therefore, owing to the similarities between Northumbria, Oxford and Cambridge I propose Noxbridge, to tie the true greatest university in with its slightly lesser brethren.

  • Doxbridge

    As someone who has been to all three I can honestly say that Durham was by far the best. Beautifully preserved and untouched by modernity and tourists. Oxbridge is so multinational and tourist ridden that it is a shadow of what it would have been in its heyday.

  • why bother

    This debate is completely pointless. Semantic babbling about if we should use the term "Oxbridge" or "Doxbridge"…As it stands "Doxbridge" is not in common use and I can't see that changing in the near future. Academically isn't Bristol better than Durham anyway? Regardless the debate is totally unnecessary.

    "The idea of amalgamating Durham, Cambridge, and Oxford into the ugly sounding “Doxbridge” makes me at first laugh, and then feel sick."

    So we're giving people a forum to express views like this? I feel SICK

  • Mark

    'Oxford and Cambridge have some departments which rank higher than Durham, although the vice versa is also true. But at the end of the day, they are all elite Universities'.
    Really? In world rankings the top universities in the U.K. are:- Cambridge comes in at #1, UCL #4, OXFORD #5, IMPERIAL #6, EDINBURGH #21, KINGS #26 BRISTOL #28, MANCHESTER #32, GLASGOW #54, WARWICK #58, SHEFFIELD #66, NOTTINGHAM #72, SOUTHAMPTON #73, BIRMINGHAM #77, AND ……DURHAM #92!! I would have loved to have gone to Oxbridge. Durham is a dump, miles from anywhere decent! For nightlife we have to go to Newcastle.

  • Mark

    Who’s the Durham Dick who keeps deselecting our ratings?!

  • Mark

    Who’s the Durham Dick who keeps deselecting our ratings?

  • Anon
  • Jenny

    In 2000 (yes over ten years ago now) I chose to apply to Durham and not bother with Oxford or Cambridge because although I had the grades I felt I wouldn’t make friends there – it was the arrogance and assumptions of superiority the other kids had – I chose Durham instead and had an amazing time and career since. I work in education still and am a passionate A level teacher but this debate makes me weep – nothing has changed, have an Oxbridge students heard of humility, modesty, gratitude! Durham is still brilliant but geographically isolated from Oxford and Cambridge which are in close proximity, that’s why they get lumped together! Durham should remain a bastion of difference and generally much nicer people. A state educated Geordie and eternally greatfull for the chance of a uni degree (wherever it came from) :)

    • Lol

      I’m sure we’re all very *grateful* for such insight.

      PS I’m really not sure a 3 hour journey on the X5 is why Oxford and Cambridge are collectively known as Oxbridge.

  • Argh

    Why have people started commenting on this again, nearly two years later?? Now it pops up on Tab’s Most Commented and more and more people will comment without noticing the dates, pushing it even higher. Durham is not as good overall. The end. Now let it rest.

  • Edinburgh

    Would like to say that Edinburgh has been under represented as one of the universities better than Durham, we shit on you in the world rankings (QS). Thanks.

  • Jonathan

    Where are the comments gone?

  • loooooool

    doxbridge is not a thing, tragic wannabes

  • Er…

    They don’t have supervisions…

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  • Sparkeythehamster

    Well this is just cruel…

    I am a Durham student and while I’ve always found it funny when our lecturers get caught up in the Doxbridge thing – I’ve had a good laugh about it with my friend from Oxford too, but there is no need to be this cruel about it.

    For the Subject I am doing I warrant it isn’t as high ranked as Cambridge, but it’s higher ranked than Oxford.

    I did try out for Cambridge but didn’t pass the interview, but I’ve never had a ‘chip on my shoulder’ about it. I’m glad I ended up in Durham, I’ve made some good friends that I wouldn’t have made otherwise and am enjoying my studies – even the ones that have me in the College Library all the way through the night.

    I’ve never got caught up in the idea of Doxbridge, but I found it funny when there were people who really did get caught up in it, but find it sickening… no. This article is the thing that makes me feel sick. And if this is the sort of misplaced sense superiority that comes along with being an Oxbridge student, then I am glad that I was never offered a place.

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