Each of the hi-spec apartments will be unique, and include its own kitchen and bathroom. They will be housed in one four-storey block on Green Lane near the River Wear.
Work is due to start on site next week and complete in summer 2013, with a total construction cost of about £5m.
The scheme is aiming for a BREEAM Very Good rating, and will be built using a traditional masonry construction rather than timber or modular pods.
Construction director Andrew Warwick said: “We are delighted to be delivering this high quality living accommodation for students in Durham.
“We have maintained a relationship with Sophiero over many years and this contract shows we are trusted to build student accommodation to a high standard in the most efficient way possible.
“With each flat being unique, no pods used in construction, the river just outside and the city centre only a few minutes’ walk away, these will be fantastic student homes.”
BAM’s previous work in Durham includes New Durham College at the Framwellgate Moor Centre; St Aiden College and Van Mildert College for the University of Durham; and, most recently, Lanchester Road Hospital and Stanley Health Care Centre. It has also built hotels and retail developments in County Durham among a great deal of other work in the northeast.