Choral and Organ Scholarships

St Chad’s College Choir represents a wide cross-section of the College, welcoming undergraduates, postgraduates and members of staff alike.

The Choir’s primary function is to sing at services in the College Chapel during term time (Sunday Eucharist or Compline, Thursday Choral Evensong, and Choral Eucharist or Evensong for Festivals and special College days). The choir sings a wide range of music, with settings by Byrd, Palestrina, Howells, through to Daley, and Weir, as well as championing new compositions and arrangements.

In addition, the Choir is privileged to sing in Durham Cathedral, usually once or twice each academic term. The College’s annual Advent Procession in the Cathedral is undoubtedly a highlight in this respect; the annual celebration of St Chad’s Day is another.

The College values its Choir and choral tradition highly and provides it with many opportunities to play a full and central part in the cultural life of the College. This includes concerts and recitals in the College and city.

Up to 12 Choral Scholarships and 2 Organ Scholarships are available each year; some of which will be awarded to existing students. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for a scholarship alongside their UCAS application to Durham University. Scholars are selected by application and candidates will be invited to an audition, normally during Induction Week or by special arrangement.  These scholarships are funded through generous gifts from St Chad’s alumni and friends.


Level of Study: Undergraduate & Postgraduate

Domicile: UK/EU/International

College: Applicants must specify St Chad’s College as their first choice College when asked for their College preferences by Durham University

Mode of Study: Full-time or Part-time

Programmes: All programmes


Value: £300 (choral), £1000 (organ)

Duration: 1 year

Number: Up to 12 Choral Scholarships and 2 Organ Scholarships

Payment: Paid in three equal payments, at the end of each academic term


Successful recipients will receive £300/£1,000.  We also aim to offer some musical workshops during the year, some of which are in collaboration with Music Durham.  Choral scholars are provided with singing lessons as part of their scholarship agreement. Scholarships can be used as either maintenance support or payment towards tuition fees. This is a grant, not a loan, and does not need to be repaid.

Choral and Organ Scholars are required to be core members of the College choir and as such must commit to sing/play at all services, concerts and rehearsals. In special personal or academic circumstances scholars can be given leave by the Director of Music or College Chaplain.

Choral scholarships will not all be awarded simply on the basis of musical excellence or experience – the College is keen to encourage singers with musical potential who are willing to commit to being part of the life of the Choir throughout the year. While many of the current Choral Scholars received vocal tuition before joining the choir, this is not essential and neither is the completion of formal musical qualifications.

The College is happy to receive applications from all interested potential students regardless of their family background, level of study, nationality or schooling. It is possible to hold a Choral or Organ Scholarship alongside other St Chad’s College scholarships/bursaries. However, due to the commitment required, the College reserves the right not to award Choral or Organ Scholarships to those who may hold similar scholarships within other College choirs.

All choral and organ scholars are re-auditioned each year. Applicants must apply and re-audition for a scholarship in subsequent years of their course of study at the University.

Please contact David Rushton, the College Chaplain, if you would like to ask any questions before making your application


Applicants must:

Stage 1: submit an academic application to Durham University via UCAS.

Stage 2: applicants must specify St Chad’s College as their first choice College when asked for their College preferences by Durham University.

Stage 3: (Choral and Organ Scholars) submit a personal statement (please include your UCAS personal ID number) of not more than 1,000 words outlining:

  • how your personal musical experience makes you eligible for this award
  • how the scholarship would enable your development both academically and personally
  • why you want to study at Durham University and St Chad’s College

Organ Scholars only – include a video recording of you playing the organ (MP4, MPEG, WMV or YouTube link) which should include:

  • a short piece of your choice (2-3 minutes)
  • playing 2 or 3 verses of a hymn of your choice
  • a short improvisation on a hymn tune of your choice

Submit by email to the College chaplain, The Revd David Rushton via:

Stage 4: Ask your referee (teacher/singing teacher/organ tutor) to submit a supporting reference to the College chaplain, The Revd David Rushton via:

Scholarship applications for 2023/24 accepted from:  1 October 2023

Organ Scholarship application deadline: 21 April 2024

Organ Scholar Interviews: 25/26 April 2024

Choral Scholar application deadline: 1 September 2024 (Auditions during Induction Week 2024)


  • All eligible applications for choral and organ Scholarships will be considered on the basis of their personal statement, references and academic status by a panel of senior staff at St Chad’s College.
  • St Chad’s College may prioritise applicants from areas currently under represented in the undergraduate population.
  • Candidates who are allocated to St Chad’s College and fullfill the requirements of their offer from the University will be auditioned as early as possible during Induction week.


For further information or advice:


Phone: +44 (0)191 334 3357